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 a maker, I feel an enormous responsibility when bringing new objects into the world, both in terms of their material impact and of the power they have to communicate. My studio practice reflects the way I try to live my life, in an unselfish dialogue between intention and design.

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. Even when foraging for materials, I have learnt to only procure what I need or what truly speaks to me. If I have to buy something, I always ask myself how / where / by whom that material has been made and what will happen to this material if the objects I make were to be thrown away. How much could, for example, be taken apart and recycled as separate parts? If needing to make 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. ... But above all REDUCE.

My general approach is always to use as little material and as few tools as possible when producing new work. I use mostly 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, never with any hierarchy of preciousness or authenticity other than than the amount of resources and labour embedded in them.

Precious metals

As taken from our planet, I consider all metals to be precious and therefore source very little new metal in the first place. When these are considered needed, I am committed to using only guaranteed 100% recycled silver and gold.

 

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.

Chemicals

There are virtually no chemicals in my workshop other than hand soap and a small bottle of liver of sulphur for the occasional time I need to oxidise metal. This not only minimises health and safety risks while in use but, above all, it eliminates any risks associated with disposal. I use exclusively 100% non-toxic citric acid when needing to pickle metal, and I use a non-dichromate compound for those occasional times when I need to use my polishing barrel.

 

PACKAGING AND OUTSOURCING

Packaging

I always use repurposed, recycled or recyclable boxes. 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

My website was originally built by World Tree, not only a local contractor but also committed to open source software and web applications. After World Tree ceased to exist, maintenance and new development has been passed to another Norwich-based local contractor, Studio BlipAlso, it was important for me to avoid cheaper and impersonal mass-hosting options, housed in environmentally frightful servers, in favour of Ecological Hosting who, for years, had been implementing the most ethically and environmentally sound server technology available. With Ecological Hosting servers moving to the United States, I made the decision to migrate to the equally social and environmentally sound British hosting company Green Hosting.

 

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... :-)