When discussing the subject of handmade once, a friend of mine brought up the Carl Sagan quote:
“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe“
And as much as I hated to admit it, he was totally right. To make something by hand, you would have to create the very core things that made that item up. I have often wondered exactly how far back in the process I could go with my crochet or clothes making to make my items as handmade as possible. A little while ago I looked into buying handmade fabric in order to make clothing. It’s possible, but it’s expensive, and I think it’s not a cost most people would be willing to pay. It’s a similar story with crochet – I looked into making and dying my own wool that I could then use to crochet my items, but the time spent in doing this process would mean my items would have to go to astronomical prices in order to make my time worth the while. It’s certainly an interesting thing to look into, and I am sure there are people out there doing more than others in sourcing handmade core “ingredients” for their items, but for most crafts, it’s just not a viable option. If it was, we would have wood turners growing their own forests, knitters herding their own flock of sheep, jewelers mining for gold, and fashion designers cultivating their own cotton plantations – oh what a world that would be!
Being able to trace a handmade item right back to it’s very beginnings would be a wonderful little journey but for now I guess I will have to try and source my materials as sustainably and ethically as I can, afterall, they would be two of the main reasons I would want to buy handmade in the first place. I have begun looking at ways to find materials that fit these criteria and would like to share a few sites with you. If you, my lovely readers, have any sites you have found selling ethical and sustainable supplies for crafts then please do leave a comment, perhaps we can get a little resource going xxx
These guys make eco friendly fabrics in their factory in the UK, they also sell clothing made from their fabrics: http://www.britishmadeeco.co.uk/
If you would like organic yarn or wool from UK certified organic sheep then these guys do just that! http://www.organicpurewool.co.uk/home.html
Natural wool, mohair and alpaca knitting yarns from British sources: http://www.blackerdesigns.co.uk/
If you’re a card maker then perhaps you would like some recycled supplies from this website, but they also do biodegradable packaging which is great for us all: https://secure.eco-craft.co.uk/
That’s kind of the limit of my research for now, but hopefully it sparks some ideas off! There is always of course the idea of recycling/upcycling, never one to be dismissed – so I’ll be keeping an eye out for jumpers I can unravel and curtains that will make the most wonderful skirts!