Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spend good this Christmas

The silly season. It certainly is. Love it or hate it, here in Australia we will spend $22 billion on Christmas this year. That is an insane amount of money! It actually makes me feel a little ill thinking about the reality of all of that money. What it could be better spent on, who could benefit from it, who could be fed, clothed and housed with it.... $22 billion is a lot of money. And money is powerful.

Rather than get all depressed about commercialism, hide away and refuse to participate though, I have a better idea. Use your money wisely this Christmas. I don't mean search around for bargains, I don't mean buy cheap knockoffs, I don't even mean spend less! I mean recognise that your money is powerful and use it as reflection of your values.

For me, this means that I will be buying handmade, locally produced and ethical gifts. It means that I won't be buying mass produced products, I won't be buying products made from unsustainable and non-recyclable materials and I will be supporting local designer makers. I am going to put my money where my values are.

For you, it might mean buying from the Oxfam shop to support workers in third world countries. It might mean, if you choose to eat meat, that you splurge on a free-range, sustainably-produced, rare breed ham or turkey instead of  the factory farmed supermarket variety. It might mean that you support our local community and economy by only buying Australian made products. It might mean hand-making your cards or even some of your gifts!

Spending money on your loved ones at Christmas isn't a bad thing. Commericalism isn't even an innately bad thing. Money isn't bad either. It is simply a tool, one that you can use to support and sustain the type of world you want to live in and you want your children to grow up in.

Here's some tips and links....

1) Shop for unique handmade locally produced gifts at The Finders Keepers market in Sydney this weekend. Not only will you be using your money to support emerging designer-makers, you will find some really beautiful things that your family and friends will love. And I'll be there!! ;)

2) Shop online at Blue Caravan or Made It for the same reasons! Buy from designers in your local area to save on the postage km's and carbon.

3) Have a vegetarian Christmas! It will encourage you to get creative with your family's feast and you might come up with an amazing new tradition! Though, if you really can't do Christmas without the ham, shop for sustainably produced meat at Urban Food Market.   

4) Check all of your sweets and other packaged goods for palm oil before you buy! If you don't know why you shouldn't be using palm oil, read this.

Feel free to share this with your friends and family. Stay safe and happy this holiday season.

TE x

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Finders Keepers - Spring/Summer 2011 Sydney

I am super pleased to announce that I will be having a stall at the next amazing The Finders Keepers market here in Sydney. If, in the unlikely event that, you haven't heard of The Finders Keepers, check out more information on their website http://www.thefinderskeepers.com/

The event will be held at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh, on Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd of December.

I am extremely busy making all new work for the event so as a result, will not be re-listing anything on my Etsy store until after the market. I will be showcasing pieces that are brand new as well as some familiar work. I will also be there to talk to you about my work personally and take commission orders as well.

TE x

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World Vegan Day

Today is World Vegan Day. It begins World Vegan Month, where people of all ethical persuasions, cultural backgrounds and food preferences are encouraged to adopt a vegan diet for one month. The aim is to experience how easy it actually is to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and feel the benefits first hand.
I have been a vegetarian for a number of years. I have during this time, had periods where I also cut out the small amount of dairy and free range eggs that I ordinarily eat.  I intend to do this again for World Vegan Month.
Now, I have been asked a lot about my ethics regarding the animal materials I use in my jewellery. I have been called a hypocrite for using bone and horn products while arguing against the use of animals for food. These issues have also been in the media a lot lately too. The BBC program ‘Kill It, Cut It, Use It” which is currently showing on ABC (Wednesdays 9:30pm) follows the process from farmyard to object for many of our household products. Last week the episode featured tennis racket strings, horn buttons and fine bone china.  
I thought that World Vegan Day would be a good time to clear a few things up about why I am comfortable using bone and horn to make jewellery and why I believe that doesn’t make me a bad vegetarian/sometimes-vegan.  Here are a few points.  
1)      Animals are not killed for their bones or horns. They are generally killed for their meat. The buffalo products I mostly use are from well-cared-for farming animals in South East Asia that die naturally and whose bones and horn are salvaged from the animals after they die. I would gladly give up making jewellery if I thought for a second that I was actually contributing to an economic demand through my work. I have already removed the economic demand that I have responsibility for by not buying meat for myself or my family.
2)      Even though I would also give up making jewellery from bone and horn if the world gave up eating meat, I wouldn’t need to. Everything still dies and those materials would still be around. I am also realistic enough to accept that the rest of the world is not going to give up eating meat any time soon.  
3)      These organic products would otherwise go into landfill. Instead I am creating something beautiful from a waste product.
4)      The alternative to using natural products to produce my designs would be petro-chemical based plastics. I believe the new production of these materials is more harmful to the world than recycling an existing organic material. I am actually sacrificing profit by not mass-producing my designs in resin or plastic, as a matter of principle.    
5)      Yes, I would be more than comfortable using human bones if it were legal.
6)      Products that have been produced from animal material decades ago (eg. Vintage bone buttons, ivory piano keys etc) should be treasured and not discarded. I believe refusing to wear or use vintage pieces does a further disservice to the animal.
7)      I’ll also note that I do not advocate the use of or buy fur products.
I know these issues spark up a lot of debate, probably because eating is such a personal daily ritual and so steeped in cultural and historical implications. I am not trying to offend anyone or start an argument (so be nice please!), but I would love to hear your point of view. Feel free to contact me on twitter @eelsjewellery, facebook or comment below.