While researching for my Craft Con presentation on the environmental impact of crafting last month, it felt like I had fallen down a rabbit hole. Merely scratching the surface of commercial supplies, revealed widespread outsourcing and men in suits at the top (whom I would wage haven’t the slightest interest in anything we make) becoming enormously wealthy.
I took an anonymous survey of crafters from across the country, and found that 92% of us use commercial supplies to some extent. My two part article for The Storque (to be cross-published here) will reveal further statistics.
There will also be an extensive list of resources that I have found to be informative about the business practices of retailers, product safety concerns, and environmental catastrophes both in the U.S. and the Far East, where many of our raw materials are combined with highly toxic chemicals.
I see crafters putting so much dedication towards being green, but numbers don’t lie. In 2001 craft supplies were a $10 billion a year industry. This number has tripled to $30 billion since. Part of our job on CAGW is to showcase green supplies, and they certainly exist, but not to the extent you might imagine. Readers ask us where to find eco-friendly alternatives for specific items, and often our searches come up empty. I promised to be an “eco-friendly craft ninja” when I began writing here. I also promise that you can find that completely adorable fat ninja postcard set, and tons of other cool art over at interrupt’s Etsy shop.
So, we are drafting a petition to ask that retailers provide transparency in manufacturing, invest in the development of innovative tools, and eco-friendly non-toxic products. And one more thing, we can spot greenwashing a mile away…don’t even go there. Are you afraid we haven’t enough chips on the table? Don’t call a bluff until you’ve read Part 2 of my upcoming article.
We need YOUR suggestions to begin this process. Every maker possesses unique insight from their hobbies, and there are as many kinds of crafts as there are colors of the rainbow. Personally, I’m tired of being handed beige. Here is what we’re looking for:
Are there items that you commonly use for projects, but have a hard time finding? Where are you seeing excessive packaging? What items have such scary warning labels that you are asking yourself, “Is this project worth giving myself brain damage over?”
What would be stocked in the craft store of your dreams?
Please leave suggestions in comments or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
To be continued…