Ethical

 

"Somewhere in my early childhood I took some responsibility for adding to the material world...”

(Tim McCreight, The Syntax of Objects, Ch 3)

As makers, we have an enormous responsibility when bringing new objects into the world, especially ones whose purpose is to be acquired or passed on not out of necessity but for delectation.

I seek, in everything I do, to remain mindful of how my presence and my behaviour affect the world I live in. I never stop questioning my actions, especially those I've grown to take for granted. I strive to educate people about the power of awareness and of choice and of the fundamental difference between informed use and wilfully-ignorant abuse.

Making is a fundamental part of my existence, and my studio practice reflects the way I try to live my life, in an unselfish dialogue between intention and design.

 

MATERIALS AND DESIGNS

Where is it coming from? Where is it going?

I choose and use materials according to how essential they are for the story they need to tell. When sourcing new materials, I have learnt to only buy what I need. When I buy something, I always ask myself what will happen if the objects I make were to be thrown away. How much of them could, for example, be taken apart and recycled as separate parts?

I do not buy new plastics and, when making a purchase, I always abide by the principle that a cheap and disposable object is normally the product of cheap and disposable labour and often a disregard for human and material resources, as well as for origin and end-use.

The principle of avoiding as much wastage as possible informs my design decisions, very often dictating simplicity or irregularity in form and size. Furthermore, in the same way that I never waste clothing and food, every scrap of my materials is precious to me and is reused for experiments, other projects, workshops and so on. At the true end of their life, all materials that can be are recycled.

 

Re-use. Re-cycle. Re-purpose.

I use a lot of found and repurposed objects in my work. If organic in origin, I like to think that Earth is giving me something to which I can grant an interim life before it is returned to Her. If man-made, these objects are not only rescued from a potential landfill non-death, but their story and provenance are saved from being discarded and forgotten.

I also never buy new stones or pearls. These, when needed, are either salvaged or re-purposed from existing used or vintage pieces.

Precious metals

I am committed to using Ecosilver and Ecogold or precious metal clays, all guaranteed 100% recycled. Failing that, I would always choose certified Fairtrade / Fairmined.

 

WORKSHOP

Tools

Every tool I acquire, whether new or second-hand, is jealously kept with the care granted to precious heirlooms. They are in themselves objects that have been brought into the world and, as owners and users, we are responsible for them and owe them respect.

Pickle bath

I use exclusively Picklean granules, composed of 100% non-toxic citric acid. This not only minimises health and safety risks while in use but, above all, it eliminates any risks associated with disposal.

Polishing barrel

I use a non-dichromate barrelling compound. My understanding is that this is non-toxic. I am still navigating through data sheets for a more informed opinion.

 

PACKAGING AND OUTSOURCING

Packaging

I always use repurposed, recycled or recyclable boxes, and insist that, at least for my objects, galleries do the same. I'd rather have something that is perhaps a little less glossy but that is responsibly sourced and responsibly disposable and, at the very least, reusable. I also try as much as possible to reuse materials such as jiffy bags, bubble wrap and clean tissue paper for packaging and orders.

Software and Web hosting

I have gone to great lengths to make sure that my website was built by local contractor World Tree, committed to open source software and web applications, and to avoid cheaper and impersonal mass-hosting options in favour of Ecological Hosting who, for years, have been implementing the most ethically and environmentally sound server technology available.

 

UTILITIES

Our home and my studio are powered by Good Energy, the only UK company committed to using 100% renewable energy sources. Our phone line and broadband has also been with The Phone Coop for many years. Both companies are at the top of Ethical Consumer's supplier lists.

     

 

SOCIAL VALUE

It is very important to me that my work should be imbued with social value. I strive to be a useful member of society and I always actively seek opportunities to volunteer my ideas and skills in order to assist with the development and wellbeing of people within my immediate and wider communities. Whether taking the form of mentoring, advising or organising activities, this is a crucial aspect which complements the making in my practice by providing even more space for personal growth.

 

AND FINALLY...

Messy pup

I'm definitely a messy pup with my hands. Although I love to work in a very tidy environment, I need to know that if I need to dry or wipe my hands, I can do so freely. I have found the perfect work smock to be my partner Ian's decommissioned business shirts! Although I do have to cut the double cuffs as I seem to have rather short arms... :-)