Earth day is celebrated this year on April 22. It has captured the imagination of millions, and has gained support from a network of international charities and multinationals. Its very size could appear somewhat daunting and far removed from small local craft business. However, a brief look at it’s humble beginnings offers inspiration as to how the convictions of individuals, carried over into actions, can have a far reaching impact. In fact the origins of Earth Day would probably strike a chord with the founders of many creative local businesses.
Back in the 1960’s the USA was enjoying the benefits of industrialisation, with large factories producing not only mass goods for the population but pollution as well, with inefficient cars adding to this. Increasingly, companies made goods that would have a limited lifespan and were thrown away rather than repaired. In the home, chemicals replaced the old non-toxic cleaning solutions and, most significantly, within agriculture, mass produced fertilisers replaced the time tested methods of enriching the soil; crop rotation and spreading of animal manure. It was against this backdrop that Rachel Carson’s iconic book, “Silent Spring” was published in 1962. It’s startling message must have jolted many readers into a new awareness of the beautiful world which has been entrusted to us and the fact that its guardianship had been increasingly disregarded over the previous decades. Her book is both a modern fable of a future year when we would wake up to a spring without birdsong, and a well researched scientific thesis. She questioned the use, or misuse, of inadequately tested chemicals and pesticides without knowledge of their potential harm on flora and fauna. She saw governments and powerful corporations as a big part of the problem and called on individuals and groups to question policy. Thus began a grass roots environmental movement. She received a fair amount of vilification for her trouble but arguably, this one woman’s courage and persistence to speak out changed the way a whole generation thought.
Her story is inspiring, especially when we consider that it was the large scale use of chemicals and the corporate self interest of huge companies behind their use, which she was highlighting. As small, home grown craft businesses we are already challenging the practices of companies which may be less ethically and environmentally committed, offering an attractive alternative of locally made products which are both robust and created with care for the environment in which we live. As Earth Day is recognised this year, it is a great opportunity to promote your own practices and policies which are respectful of the beautiful world in which we live and your contributions to both the local community and environment. Ensure your customers know of the care you take in sourcing your raw goods, whatever they might be. Make sure your website is up to date with the positive impact your business has on the surrounding community, from employing local staff to community workshops or the training you offer. The use of cleaning chemicals might be something you would not think is worth a mention, but these are in fact some of the very issues Carson highlighted; the chemicals we use in our homes and businesses will ultimately end up in our rivers and can have a devastating effect on floral and fauna. So, if you use eco friendly cleaning materials, or even old fashioned sodium bicarbonate and distilled white vinegar (a traditionalist’s option) be sure to publicise this. Your example in one small thing may well encourage someone else to do similar. Thus, a cleaning revolution can begin and we might start to see some changes in our rivers.
Earth day could certainly provide creative inspiration, from ceramic jewellery to eco friendly soaps and candles. Maybe you could add a twist to some of your products, and include a tiny packet of wildflower seeds tucked inside a pottery mug or nestled beside a hand made toy. If you produce hand made soap or cleansing products this is of particular relevance to Earth Day as it was the use of chemicals with as yet unknown side effects which sparked the writing of “Silent Spring”. Use this opportunity to not only to sell your gorgeous products, but also to educate your customers as to why it’s worth paying a little extra for products made of gentle, natural ingredients.
Ceramic products seem another good fit for Earth day, with hand thrown earthenware mugs or other tableware wholly embodying the good earth on which we live. They are not only created from the clay of our land, but often are painted to reflect the bountiful variety of ecosystems within our nation. A rounded mug in soft hues of blue and grey can almost capture the wild waves and wind of the sea, and rustic style mauve and brown plates can encapsulate the essence of high moorland swathed in heather.
With a good stock of your exquisite, nature inspired pottery, you’ll be wanting to head out and make the most of the public’s propensity to invest in eco friendly products. You need to ensure you have everything in place for craft fairs or exhibitions, as well as selling online. Do you have your craft potters’ insurance in place? There are numerous reasons why this is important. It will cover you for any breakages or damage to your goods, and also to yourself if you are using potentially dangerous equipment like blades and knives. Good craft potters’ insurance will include public and product liability and insurance covering those completely unforeseen accidents or mishaps to your customers or products. We are a family run business who value our customers and strive to do our utmost to help; we believe in the importance of family, tradition and experience and as such are always keen to learn from generations past. So, with this wealth of stored wisdom and breadth of experience in working with small crafting business, pick up the phone and talk to one of our friendly team. We will ensure you get a craft potters’ insurance package in place which fits your unique needs. You can then concentrate on being the best crafter you can be and enjoy selling your unique, nature inspired and eco friendly products to a world that will benefit from them!