Archive for October 2012

Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!

Pumpkin carved with use or ornament logo

Nope, not Photoshop. A seriously misspent evening and some lino cutters. Astonishingly there were no injuries! Happy Halloween crafty folk x

Glimpsing the bigger picture

When I launched, I said that the Arts and Crafts movement inspired me because they’d been bold enough to think that hand making good designs could change society in small ways.

Maybe because I included something about society in setting up Use or Ornament, maybe because people are starting to talk about it anyway… I’ve found myself having conversations with people about the bigger picture: the impact of our choices in spending the money we have.

This conversation is far older than Use or Ornament: tescopoly, clone towns, ‘not on the high street’ and indeed Etsy itself, all trying to gather people who want a different way of using their money.

But the most revealing thing, and I’ve done it myself, is working out how much of your money goes to giant corporations and how much to independent businesses by scanning through your bank account statement.

I was shocked.  I had real reservations about the practices that these corporations engaged in, whether it was abuses of foreign workers, environmental damage, tax avoidance… we all hear the stories. Yet at the end of each month, I’d given them all my money. I’m trying to change that.

Most of us need to budget but where your budget goes is up to you. I’m excessively proud of a friend of mine who’s gone independent for Christmas – we all buy presents and you get to decide who gets that money.

Our current system is set up to make it easy to give the big corporations our money. So for anyone who looks at what they really spend each month and aims to shift it just slightly, that is more money moving round our local economies.

When people buy from me, some say it was a conscious decision to spend differently. It’s not just my business, all around us are people with skills and a good idea, ready to know you better.

Behind every new business are great neighbours!

All my neighbours have been wonderful while I start up this business. They’ve offered support, great ideas and new custom along the way.

At the Saltaire Festival recently, it was even my neighbours who looked after the stand so I could nip to the loo! I know not everyone is so lucky so I want them to know that I appreciate it.

Yesterday our neighbours’ child Daniel made a great model for my new Halloween design, and thanks to his dad for the gorgeous photos! Have a look at the fun he had with it…