My artwork always celebrates nature in one way or another, and it is important that I do what I can in my shop to create products for you that are made with the earth and it's inhabitants in mind.
I did not always care about the natural world, at least not enough to make a change in my lifestyle. I have been privileged over the past few years to experience various environments and species that few people have the chance to see or even know exist. It is my firm belief that Earth does not exist for humans, yet we are perhaps the species with the greatest impact and therefor responsibility. As a maker, everything I create has an effect on our planet and ecosystems in some way, but I am doing my best to lessen that and give back when I can.
Each month a donation is made to Virunga National Park, from the sales of this shop. Learn more about the rangers risking their lives to protect the wildlife from poaching, and the land from exploitation here: Virunga.org
Carbon Neutral Shipping!
I'm pleased to say that shipping is now automatically carbon neutral. Once the carbon use of your shipment is estimated, money is given to organizations and companies working on green energy, conservation projects etc.
The packaging of items I fulfill myself like prints, tea towels, stationery, stickers and pins is 100% recycled and/or recyclable/biodegradable.
I also reuse packaging whenever I can, because what is prettier than well-branded packaging? A healthy planet!
Any recycled bubble mailers or re-used bubble wrap you receive your order in can be recycled in drop-off bins for plastic bags at your local grocery or Target!
Larger posters (12x16") are shipped from my print-on-demand partner who is not yet up to my standards for packaging, but they are working on it. The changes they made in 2020 reduced their plastic use in packaging by 38,325 lbs.
Puzzles also ship with a plastic storage bag within the puzzle box.
I have been very focused over the past few years on finding the absolute best packaging in terms of environmental impact. While I am always learning and discovering new options, I finally feel this is something I have nailed down. In 2021, I moved my focus to the environmental impact of the products themselves.
I created a system to analyze the eco-friendliness of my products. Using the information I have about them, I came up with 5 questions. Its not perfect, but its a start.
For a possible score of 100% :
Is it made of recycled materials? 20%
Is it a natural material? 20%
Is it renewable? 20%
Is it durable? 20%
Can it be repurposed/recycled at the end of its life? 20%
How do they rate?
This is one of the products with the least environmental impact that I offer. Not only is it made of a natural and recycled material, it is also recyclable or reusable as wall art.
Recycled Paper Prints
Like the stationery these prints are made of 100% recycled natural fibers. Recycled prints in my shop are usually limited edition prints that remain from the batch I order for my monthly print club subscribers.
Tea Towels & Napkins
Tea towels and napkins are made of 100% plant fibers which means they are renewable. The cloth napkins are made of organic cotton. Many years from now, if your linens are past their prime, they can be repurposed or even recycled with other textiles.
Cotton Paper Prints
These prints are archival grade which means they are meant to last years without fading. They are also made of a renewable resource. If a print in my shop doesn’t say recycled, it is usually made of cotton paper.
I offer 2 kinds of mugs in my shop. Ceramic and Enamel. These were tricky to grade. They are made of mostly natural materials but materials like metal and clay cannot be harvested forever and so are not sustainable. Its important to purchase non-sustainable items mindfully and with purpose! With proper care, mugs can serve their purpose for generations.
Woven tapestry blankets in my shop are made of 100% cotton which means they are renewable. They are produced in small batches of less than 10 per design. I am happy to have switched to this option from the previous polyester fleece blankets, firstly because they don't shed microplastics when washed, secondly because they are so versatile in their use and display and finally, these are very high quality and can last generations if cared for properly.
Some items that I initially considered relatively harmless in terms of their eco-impact, I have found to be sub-par. Items like stickers and pins in my shop, while they rate lower, are already stocked. I will continue to advertise what I have until they are able to be sold out so that nothing goes to waste.
Enamel pins have been a staple in my shop for a few years. They are cute, inexpensive and versatile. After carefully looking at their eco-friendliness according to my grading scale, I am disappointed. Each individual pin also arrives to me in a tiny plastic bag which I cannot recycle and which the manufacturer has to use to protect pins in transit.
I work with a factory in China to produce these. While all my interactions have been pleasant with my contact there and they have been more than willing to share pictures of the working conditions with me, I can’t help but wish I could visit myself to ensure fair treatment of employees and examine their environmental practices. For these reasons, I will likely phase pins out of my shop. I still have pins in stock, so please purchase while you can!
Vinyl stickers are one of my best selling items. If you are going to sell stickers, these are the longest-lasting option out there. The 15% they received comes from the durability section of my grading scale. Stickers may not be around forever in my shop, so make sure you snatch a few up if you’ve been wanting some.
Planning for a better future
While I don’t think we have yet found perfect alternatives for all of plastic’s uses, I am working towards utilizing natural fibers whenever possible. The first step I took towards this was the elimination of fleece blankets (100% polyester) and sweatshirts in 2021. I'm pleased to now be offering woven, 100% cotton tapestry/blankets!
Why natural Fibers?
Many of us don’t think about plastic being a fossil fuel, and a non-renewable resource that requires destroying ecosystems to create. Many fabrics we use today are made of plastic: Acetate, polyester, nylon, lycra, and spandex. These fabrics leech micro-plastics into water systems every time they are washed.
Things to come...
My shop is transitioning to paper products, and small batch specialty items like one-of-a-kind paintings, woven blankets, and other seasonal, natural fiber goods.