Crafters We Love il_570xN.233793697

Published on July 15th, 2011 | by Karen Lee

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Green Crafter: Rustic Carvings

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Salvaged wood is excellent for crafting instead of virgin wood. Recycling wood is definitely the way to go if you are thinking of making toys for your kids. And did you know you can make all sorts of things like houses or compost bins with pallets? And for Christine from Rustic Carvings, recycling salvage wood, without a doubt, is the only method she uses in her crafts because she loves to hug trees, literally.

1. How long have you been crafting?

I’ve been crafting since I was a little girl, I remember projects even in girls scouts [sic], where we were making things all the time. Green Crafting, though, I’ve only just started. I think in the past 10-15 years I’ve been re-using and re-cycling what I could, around the house, but I didn’t start making it into art until about a year ago. The more I craft in a green spirit, the more I find different uses for every day objects.

2. What is your favorite material to craft with?

My favorite material to craft with is reclaimed wood. I LOVE trees. I hug them. I even talk to the ones in my yard. That may make me crazy, but they grow bigger and fuller than my neighbor counterparts, so there must be something to it. It hurts my heart to see wood going to the trash dump, when I knew it was once part of a living being. So, I take it and make it into something quirky, beautiful, or inspiring.

I make lots of things from reclaimed wood – tables, signs, crosses, coasters, art, memory boxes… I’m always trying to come up with new things, so there’s no telling where it will go.

3. Working with woodworking tools must be hard and dangerous, isn’t it? How do you protect yourself from injury?

Anytime you work with heavy machinery, especially when most of them include a blade of some sort, it’s a potentially dangerous situation. Any good and experienced carpenter or woodworker will tell you, it’s not whether or not something will happen, but when something will happen.

Wearing gloves helps protect all your little digits and also your skin, ear muffs or plugs protect your hearing, eye wear, well, because we all like the use of our eyeballs. You can even upgrade eye protection to a full plastic face shield, to help ensure that your face will be protected from any flying matter. Even a simple bandanna around your nose and mouth help keep you from breathing in all the sawdust.

Most importantly, you need to stay engaged with what you’re working with, try to anticipate what you can, and minimize any distractions. All the safety gear in the world won’t save you if you don’t keep your sight fixed on what you’re doing at that moment.

4. Did you ever get hurt while working?

Yes, I already have my “story” of injury but when the wood fractured on me, the damage was minimized by the fact that I was wearing eye protection. To borrow, partly, from Martha Stewart… Eye sight. It’s a good thing.

5. What is your favorite item that you ever made?

I actually have two favorite items. One is my “Obsessed with Traveling” sign… It’s a carved wooden sign, made out of reclaimed lumber. But, instead of finishing with just beeswax, etc., it has a up-cycled map overlay, and I hand-cut out all the letters.

The other favorite of mine are my wooden tile coasters – they are like scrabble pieces. Really big ones. They’ll be discontinued when I run out of the reclaimed pine I’m using to make them. The letters are carved into the wood, and then I hand paint the letters black. I also offer an over-sized tray to match.

6. Other than using salvaged wood for Rustic Carvings, how else do you green your life?

I’m a purger, minimalist of sorts. I don’t like clutter. When we have garage sales, I walk around the house, and start taking things off the walls. My husband has to remind me that it’s okay for us to keep some stuff. So, keeping things around to continually up-cycle is a challenge for me. There are things I toss into the recycle bin, every single week, I just wish I had the imagination to re-use. Because, if I don’t have a purpose for it, out it goes to the re-cycle bin.

7. What is one crafting technique you would like to learn?

I’d love to learn how to sew. I don’t know if that counts as a true “crafting technique.” My mom is going to bring over her sewing machine, we’re going to go buy a pattern, and make something. I can’t wait. I adore multi-media items, so I can see a myriad of ways to add sewing and fabric to my carved items – with the intention that it, too, will be “rescued” fabric.

Thanks Christine! Keep hugging and talking to those trees! They are lucky to have you looking over them.

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About the Author

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.



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