Featured Member: OffTheHooks

Shop: www.offthehooks.etsy.com
Blog: www.craftyash.blogspot.com

How did you get started in your chosen craft?
Funny enough, I became interested in fiber at the end of my fine arts degree! I think it all started when I participated in a site-specific installation on an abandoned farmhouse called “womanhouse”. The investigation of women’s and family history really triggered something and I wanted to start working with a more traditional medium. After that I tried to teach myself to crochet, and eventually met up with some co-workers for regular stitch ‘n bitches. I just kept crocheting, and eventually tried spinning, and was “hooked”!!!

How do you make your craft or Etsy store eco-friendly?

I love to use local products, especially fleece & wool for spinning, the dyes that I use are non-toxic. I also unravel & clean sweaters for their yarn & use vintage yarns for re-use in some of my creations. I try and use recycled packaging and use as little packing material I can to save costs and the environment. The soaps I use to wash my wool are all eco-friendly and biodegradable too.

Why did you join the EcoEtsy Team?
I wanted to be a part of a growing movement on Etsy & the handmade community, and learn about becoming more eco-conscious. It has been a great opportunity to see what creative ideas folks are coming up with!

What are you currently working on?

I’m really enjoying making the eco trivet-potholders with recycled fabric yarn. I’ve also been making some handspun baby hats lately that are pretty adorable. I’ve also discovered needle felting and will be using this technique in some upcoming projects.

What steps have you taken to lead a green life style?
We grow an ever-expanding garden in the summertime; line-dry our laundry (love the fresh, clean smell!); we “back-alley shop” and “glean”. It has been amazing to see what people throw away. Some notable finds include: perfectly good bicycles (in need of minor repairs), outdoor chairs, art supplies, flower pots, garden tools, etc. I also choose to be vegetarian to reduce my footprint on the earth. We make earth by composting and use only eco-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products.

What is the most eco-friendly purchase you have made?
I think what’s more important are the purchases that we don’t make. Our culture is so obsessed with “stuff” that sometimes it is a more powerful statement *not* to buy something! But, I admit I do too like to buy “stuff”; so I think it’s best to buy local and handmade when possible. Currently, I am excited to receive the stamp I just ordered that has my shop info on it; I’m hoping to stamp bits of recycled paper and cardboard to use as tags for my products.

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