Crafters Going Green: Revamping Your Vocabulary

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Whether you believe in Climate Change or not, most people will agree that we could all benefit from decreasing waste and our individual carbon footprint. After all, starting when we were young, we all learned and repeated the popular mantra, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It seems, however, that modern artists and crafters are taking up this initiative to "Go Green" in their unique and Environmentally-Friendly work.

Interesting in purchasing some of their handy work? Better yet, interested in making some "Green" pieces of your own? Here are some new vocabulary words that have been added to the mantra since we were kids, and a refresher on the old ones:

Reduce: Cut down on the products you are already using, which are harmful to the environment. For example, I love to use the Alcohol Inks made by Adirondack. However, you have to apply the inks onto little bits of felt. Rather than throwing away the felt after every use, I hold onto them, and any time I use the same ink combination, I use the same piece of felt, thus reducing the amount of felt I throw away. 

Reuse: Don't just throw things away - find other ways to use them. For example, I am reusing an old type-setting drawer to hold beads and small inclusions for resin beads, rather than going out and purchasing a plastic organizer. The important thing to remember is, if you're reusing, the object is retaining the same exact appearance - it's function, however, may have changed. Many people feel this option is even better than recycling, since there is no additional process (which generally involves releasing chemicals etc into the environment) to make the products into some usable.

Recycle: Anything that can be broken down/melted down into something else. Plastics, generally, fall into this category. For a jewelry maker, bits of metal wire etc can be melted down, old plaster can be powdered and reconstituted etc.

Upcycle: This is a new term, and one which I am just getting the hang of using. It can be applied to any of the previous three "Green" actions, but only when they are used to create something artistic. So, if you are reusing a soda ring for a pair of earrings, you are not just reusing, but you have created an upcycled creative piece. For example, a while back I had ordered some beads, which were actually quite large and rather ugly looking seeds. There was no way I was going to work with them, but rather than throwing them away, I am going to cover them with paper and reuse them.The jewelery that I make from those new and improved beads will be upcycled. It's a very popular and catchy phrase.


Blog Posts of Interest:
http://artistic-elements.blogspot.com/2009/08/recycled-jewelry-idea-introduction.html


Additional Information:
https://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/tetani/upcycleart/htmls/about.html
http://jewelrymaking.about.com/library/weekly/aa010202.htm
http://etsytrashion.blogspot.com/2009/03/reused-news_02.html

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