Sustainability is at the heart of Artisanry Co. as a Community Benefit Society. We strive to create a platform for small and independent UK-only artisans, crafters and artists to thrive in a world that sadly pivots on consumerism and mass-production. An attitude of sustainability and environmental responsibility is essential in making this work.
Did you know that sustainability includes far more than simply recycling when possible? This blog is part one of a four-part series that explores the various angles of sustainability and how you, as a maker, can incorporate these practices into your work.
Our first focus shines the light on the first port of call when it comes to sustainability – environmental responsibility by highlighting ecological balance and efficient use of natural resources.
There are many ways to improve your eco-awareness in your creative studio and here are a few suggestions.
Add recycling bins
One small step can make a big difference. Adding different bins into your studio can make recycling your materials an easy and effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. Try to have a recycling bin for paper, one for plastic containers and another for packaging materials that can’t be reused.
Go digital and limit your paper use
A lot of paper is wasted by running your business on a paper basis. With the development of technology, there’s no reason to use countless sheets of paper to manage your billing, orders and contracts. There are several apps that can help you streamline your business in a digital way. If you do need to use stationery, then we’d encourage you to buy items made from recycled materials.
Reduce your use of toxic materials
Many artists use harmful materials in the production of their work. Others use strong chemicals to clean up their workspace while working on a project. Choosing to buy non-toxic materials is an easy way to be kinder to the environment. If you’re uncertain about what’s in your ingredients, then you can contact your supplier for details or ask within the Artisanry Co. community for advice and support. and ask if anything is toxic.
If there’s no way of working around using harmful ingredients, then take the time and care to dispose of them properly. For example, avoid washing brushes directly in the sink where the pigment and toxins flow down the drain. Rather wash them in a separate container.
Set up a home studio
The pandemic has changed the creative landscape, leading several makers to set up a space to work at home. There’s a silver lining to this situation as it removes the need for transport and the damage to the environment that driving in traffic can cause.
Another option is to set up a studio space to share with other creative makers (when it is safe to do so). This will reduce overheads and costs.
Reuse wherever possible
How often do you look at your cutaways and think ‘What a waste!’? As a maker, you’re sure to have some materials left behind in the process of creating your masterpiece. Perhaps you order regular supplies and end up throwing away the packaging. Think again- can you reuse the waste? Maybe you can collaborate with another artist or maker and invent a whole new line of work from waste!
A small shift in mindset can reveal useful ways to reuse these materials. This alleviates the negative effect on the environment and can help lighten the load on your budget.
Be mindful of electricity
As a creative business owner, the quality and detailed appearance of your work is important – and so is a well-lit space!
The electricity bill can quickly rise when you’re working with a lot of lighting, tools to forge your work, running the heater, etc. While each of these costs is necessary, be mindful of using electricity unnecessarily.
Consider your packaging
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on packaging that is thrown away within minutes of being opened. With an increasing number of buyers moving online, packaging costs have evolved to include boxes and protective materials like bubble wrap.
Reuse packaging as much as possible and choose more environmentally-friendly materials. Even better, package your work in materials that can be reused by the buyer (and write a note encouraging them to do so).
Join a like-minded community
Another great way to improve your sustainability practices is to join a group of like-minded makers to share ideas and inspiration. The Artisanry Co. community is full of environmentally-conscious makers that prioritise sustainability.
We also host regular discussions and workshops discussing ways to improve sustainability in the art and craft industry. Stay tuned for other areas of sustainability that we’ll be discussing in weeks to come, including cultural vitality, social equity and economic health.