A Green Crafting Manifesto

Author's photograph of a sign in the Indianapolis Children's MuseumDo you have a manifesto? I mean, do you have a clear, guiding philosophy through which you can mediate between your sometimes competing identities as an environmentally conscious person and as a person who thinks crafting up cool stuff is awesome?

I’ll tell you–a manifesto helps, because sometimes environmentalism and crafting don’t play well together without forethought. For instance, do you prefer wool felt, which comes from animals, or acrylic felt, which is synthetic? How big is that fabric/yarn/bead stash, all consisting of items you bought brand-new and are now just sitting on? Do you think it’s okay to craft with vinyl or not? It’s important to think through the environmental/ethical issues behind how you like to craft, so that whatever you do, you are working in harmony with your beliefs.Here’s my manifesto:

  1. I create as an alternative to a mass-produced, consumer culture. Whenever possible, I do not buy–I make.
  2. I create through a mindset of reducing wastefulness and honoring our culture’s material goods. Whenever possible, I use recycled materials and others’ discarded objects in my projects.
  3. I create while remaining mindful of our current environmental needs. Whenever possible, I use materials that are non-toxic and have been ethically produced.
  4. I create while being respectful of the time my partner and I spend earning our money. Whenever possible, I do not buy expensive crafting supplies.
  5. I create in collaboration with my daughters, to teach them my values and share with them the joy and indepence in making. Whenever possible, I include my children in all my work.

I enjoy trying new projects and I get way too many Joann’s coupons, so my manifesto helps me work from my belief system without having to rethink my entire worldview every time I’m standing in front of a ceiling-high display of Fimo clay marked at 40%-off.

Do you find that your work reflects a particular craft ethic? What’s your manifesto?

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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