Sunday, March 10, 2013


My mum came for an impromptu visit to Brooklyn this weekend. We were riding the subway home after a day of relaxed city wandering, when mum said out of the blue, 'You like making things, don't you?'

Well, yes, I suppose I do.

I realized a couple weeks ago that I cook when I'm sad. and that I also cook when I'm happy. If I'm feeling anything, the best remedy is to make something. It's what I do.

This morning, I was reading this article by Graham Hill, about Living with Less, A Lot Less, it started me thinking on a conundrum a lot of natural makers have; our environmental impact. We are the people inventing shit, and then putting it out into the world. It brings us pleasure and joy to create something new. It satiates an itch. But then what happens to all that stuff?

I used to work for a very big US manufacturer and I would literally have nightmares about all the stuff we produced. The million units that would get dropped last minute because of some mistake. Knowing full well were it would end up eventually made me feel very sad and guilty.

The dilemma for those of us who love making things, who want it to be their job, is how to do it without adding one more thing to the environmental pile of stuff.  I'm trying to make better things. Things that are made to last. It might be one more thing for the pile, but hopefully it will take a lot longer to get there, and you'll be able to compost it at the end.


  1. I work in manufacturing as well and have the exact same dilemna. My dream would be to work for a more responsible business someday, rather than us all just making stuff for money. What do you think of Patagonia's take? I love Patagonia, I own a lot of it and believe in it, but in the end they still have the same dilemma of making money and being responsible. Are we both (me the consumer, they the producer) contributing to the stuff? Yes. But are they truly doing it in at least a more responsible way? I'm going to the talk tonight, guess I'll see what I think.

    And then there is the price. The majority of American's have not demonstrated in the last decades that they are willing to pay for the true cost of goods, either by the higher price tag or looking at the supply chain from which it came and deciding not to buy the product. This is changing a bit, but still a very small number of the population.

    May we all start to work towards positive change.

  2. I love this post so much! My husband and I have this conversation all. the. time. We talk about it so much that we joke that it is the reason we never get invited back to dinner parties ;)

    My husband is a product designer and designs backpacks for an outdoor company. He often travels overseas and sees just how much waste is really created to make certain products. Many days he feels like he just creates more trash.

    In addition to Voyage Magazine, I am starting a women's outdoor apparel/travel line, and am constantly thinking of the problem of "stuff."

    What a beautiful paradox we all live in.

    I really love your story and your mission, Isobel. I'm totally eating it all up.

  3. I stumbled upon your blog by chance and happen to see this post. I have similar thoughts reflecting in my paintings. It is all about THINGS that we create and work for.

    Have a look if this interests you.

    Would like to be in touch and share thoughts like these