Thursday, February 22, 2007
I recently heard about "The Compact" an environmental movement that started in San Francisco . In order to combat rampant consumerism Compacters vow that for one year they will not buy anything new.
The Compacter's blog is full of interesting issues about consumerism, from the ethics of having pets to questions of shipping secondhand goods across the country versus buying local. I think these are really hard questions and often wonder how does craft and in particular making pots fit into the ethos of consumerism?
Consumers are my bread and butter- if it wasn't for people wanting beautiful, handmade things I wouldn't be able to pursue my profession and put my rather specialized skills to use. I think all craft guerillas should espouse a craft guerilla version of compacting- buying household goods and presents handmade locally rather than dropping in to Ikea or a department store. If everyone replaced their broken coffee cups with locally produced ware and bought their wedding gifts from local jewellers , local economies would benefit . You would save money on petrol, and add to your local skills and "creative capital".
What can we call the movement to buy local, handmade products and shun foreign imported ones? Rather than "Compacting " I see this movement as an expansion, a connection with real people, not factories, a way to appreciate the time it takes to create the things we use everyday. Thoughtful consumerism.
I love handmade things and mostly try to support those I know and who live locally, but supporting interstate and international handmakers is also important. I think the main thing is to buy infrequently and for posterity. Handmade items are the heirlooms of the future.
Absolutley beautiful handprinted fabric by Australian artist Julie Patterson for her company "Cloth". Based in Sydney.