I was asked today to write a 200-word definition of eco-artisan. This is what I came up with. Do you agree or can you add something?
If you delve a couple of hundred years into human history to see how people lived, you’ll find that almost everybody was an eco-artisan. It was natural to grow and make the things that you used every day: the implements used on farms and in kitchens, the mats on the floors, the coverings on the beds, the furnishings themselves, the baskets, the flour, the bread, the candles, the clothing on your back. And most of these items were made from materials that were close to hand. On the whole, modern equivalents of these articles are made in factories with synthetic materials derived from plundering and polluting the earth — factories that are usually far away and materials that either didn’t exist before, or have been altered beyond recognition. Today’s eco-artisans mimic the artisans of old. They are the craftspeople who use authentic materials to fashion simple, everyday items that honour the earth. They don’t pollute or waste energy, they re-use and recycle and re-fashion the old into the useful new. They use raw materials close to their natural forms, eschewing chemicals and other synthetics. They care about the health and well-being of people and the environment. Perhaps in time every artisan will again fit this description, but for now only those who make a conscious effort may be called eco-artisans.