We are deep into the spring craft fair season and daily I learn about festivals that have an eco-conscious section. The 33rd annual Union Street Festival in San Francisco will have a whole section dedicated to crafts created with recycled and sustainable materials and eco-friendly exhibits.
The Eugene, Oregon Saturday market features recycled wares, but that’s no surprise in the “Greenest City”.
There’s the Crafty Feast Indi Fair in Columbia, SC featuring alternative and experimental crafts made from re-purposed materials including handbags made form recycled inner tubes, scrap monsters made from recycledsocks and sweaters, and lapel pins made from recycled ties and vintage buttons.
At Handmade Mart in Silversprings Md., you’ll see recycled hard bound books turned into one of a kind purses, paperbacks repurposed into wallets, and skirts made from re-purposed t-shirts.
At the Annual Haddonfield, NJ Crafts and Fine Art Festival July 11 & 12, you’ll find bracelets made from recycled soda can pull tabs, clocks and lamps made from recycled cookware, jewelry made from recycled silver, antique buttons and bottle caps and quilts from recycled clothing.
According to the artists and crafts people I’ve spoken with, buyers are getting more eco-savvy and starting to appreciate green crafts more.
So, what does this mean for you as an artist? It means if you already have at least part of your line that is made from recycled material or is recyclable, kudos to you. If you aren’t already doing something earth-friendly with your craft, it’s time to get on the green wagon. If you are using toxic substances in the processing of your craft, it’s time to visit alternative materials, both for the environment, your own health and your image.
I’m not suggesting “greenwashing” or going green strictly for marketing purposes. However, it does seem that finally consumers, or at least buyers of handmade crafts, care. They finally get it.
It means that part of your story on your hangtags and promotional material should contain language about how your crafts re-use materials and the benefits to the consumer and the environment. Target your press releases to publications and websites with a more progressive readership and learn to talk about how what you do benefits the universe.
Get into the conversation with conscious consumers and start hanging out with people who care about the footprint they leave on our earth. Put the word out that you will help people dispose of their unwanted items-but be specific. If you do strictly metal art, you don’t want neighbors dropping off used clothing as if you were the Goodwill depot. If you get the word out that you make purses out of old sweaters, you may never have to peruse the thrift shops again.
While everyone is whining about the state of the economy, I find it hopeful that we as a nation are growing more committed to saving our planet.
How has your art changed and what has been your experience with greening your craft? I’d love to hear your green stories and so would our readers.