Connecting Art, Design & Sustainability
Hi, my name is Rianne Aarts - I'm the owner and artist here at Teddy and Wool. Thank you for being here and for taking the time to read my blog about the topic of sustainability & art. In my eyes, a sustainable lifestyle means caring for our fellow human beings, animals and the environment. I try to be mindful about the food I eat, the clothes I wear and the world I live in, but connecting this lifestyle to art & design does require a bit of creativity and flexibility.
I've always felt a sort of intrinsic need to create things of beauty, but until about 2.5 years ago I wasn't always aware about the impact art can have on the environment. When I first started out about 7 years ago I wasn't paying that much attention to things like carbon neutral shipping, recycled cotton, reusing strings.. I mostly just wanted my fiber art to look beautiful. Nowadays I work in such a way that it minimizes any harm to the world around me. I truly care about the environment, and so I try to make conscious efforts to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible. This is why sustainable art is something close to my heart as a professional artist. I strive to to create a harmonious balance between design & expression and respecting the planet, without compromising the aesthetics of the art piece.
How, you might ask? Continue reading below and you'll find out more about how I try to implement certain sustainable and ethical values in my business and my artwork.
Up-cycle, Recycle & Using Natural Materials
Last year, I crafted this really cool, 100% vegan macrame wall hanging, which I titled KIM (see above). Made with high-quality vegan and plant fibers such as bamboo, hemp, and flax, it was really well received by my clients and followers on social media and I've created quite a few since.
Now, as I want to experiment more often with recycled materials and organic fibers, I’ve started a new piece using hundreds of leftover bits of string and wool (which I will share in my newsletter and on my Instagram soon). Here's a little sneak preview:
Sustainable Art & The Values I Create By
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb
When it comes to sustainability, I try to follow a set of core principles and values. This helps guide me when designing something new without compromising on quality or the overall aesthetics of textile art. Here’s just a handful of the principles we follow at Teddy and Wool that enable a higher sustainable impact;
- We prioritize sustainable & natural materials that do not damage the Earth or its inhabitants.
- We try to reduce waste by reusing, recycling, and upcycling materials as much as possible.
- We ship carbon neutral and minimize emissions from packaging to delivery.
- We aim for continuous improvement (because there is no such thing as a perfect way to be 100% sustainable).
Natural Textile Art & Eco-Friendly Packaging
So how does that work in practice? Well I try to always (re)use solely natural, organic, and sustainable materials for my textile art and macrame wall hangings. That’s why I use 97% recycled cotton, eco-friendly and plant-based dyes, FSC-certified wood, and Fair Trade sheep wool. The wool is sourced from European Merino Sheep, which is raised within an animal-friendly family business that adheres to the principles of organic production. And when it comes to packaging, it just makes sense to opt for the most eco-friendly options available.
The packaging that we use is at least made from 85% recycled cardboard. The other 15% is sourced from ecologically managed forests across Scandinavia, and for every tree felled, another two are planted. I also personally make sure to customize each of the boxes we use to fit the textile art perfectly, so there is little waste. As a small sustainable art business, I can and should pay attention to these small but important details.
Each order we ship is sent using carbon-neutral shipping that supports projects that offset the emissions of the shipment’s transport, like reforestation. I'm no expert when it comes to sustainability and I'm by no means perfect, but raising even a tiny bit of awareness I know can make such a big difference!
And to end with this thought-provoking quote…
‘When you put the whole picture together. Recycling is the right thing to do.’
- Pam Shoemaker
Thank you for reading & I'm looking forward to one day hopefully create your special and sustainable textile art piece.
Teddy and Wool