Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anti-profligacy

A long time ago, I realized that out-of-control consumerism is probably a road to ruin and in my own way I have always railed against it. To me, the idea of endlessly unlimited growth on a finite planet just doesn't add up - at some stage there must be a clash and a crash. I feel that we are near that point.
We have always made do, done it ourselves, resisted buying "stuff" just for the sake of having the newest "stuff" and tried to grow much of what we consume in the way of food. Our home is comfortably furnished with a rather eclectic mix of hand-me-down, home-made and cast off furniture and I don't own many gadgets. I don't see any need to change any of that just for the sake of changing it.
It's a good feeling to produce a meal when you know it came fresh out of the garden minutes before it was cooked. Here's what we had last night: spinach souffle; oven baked pink fir potatoes; corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes. Our summer garden is almost at the end of production, but vegetables to carry us through winter are either stored or quietly growing away in the garden.


As far as possible, I try to carry this anti-profligacy message through in my work as well. I don't throw much away (anyone who has seen the inside of my studio will attest to that!). I can always find a good use for something that others might pass over as useless junk. For instance,  a while back, I devised a way to make an excellent sculpting material from sawdust and glue and made quite a few dolls using it - I even won a recycled-materials design award with these dolls.



And just this week I have been knitting up a storm using scraps of leftover wool - even the tiniest bits can be used. The mouse is of my own design....it was fun and quick to make!


I'll climb down from my soap-box now, but will conclude by saying that you don't need to be spending bucketloads of cash on fairly useless stuff in order to be happy - you can live very well on considerably less that what you think you need and if more of us did it, the planet would be the better for it.


11 comments:

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

I whole heartedly agree! We live in a throw away society now, and it's socially acceptable to discard usable, practically brand new items for the newest fad in clothing, home decor, vehicles, appliances, etc. The waste is appalling. This kind of shopping doesn't help the economy either, because most of us live beyond our means and are in deep financial trouble.

I remember when I was younger, I longed for new 'anything' and always wanted to change my surroundings. I was also very unhappy in my life then. I discovered when I got older and became very happy and content, that suddenly I could care less what my house looked like, and lost interest in catalogs and window shopping.

I think a lot of our discontent with what we "have" is a reflection of something deeper. What we need to change isn't the furniture, or the wallpaper.

Rhissanna said...

That's a very brave blog post and I quite agree (although I've not had a lot of luck growing anything but herbs and pappers). I think it takes time for some of us to learn to be content, and that buying stuff just gives us more stuff.

BlacknickSculpture said...

Wow! Those sawdust & glue dolls are amazing! We have a small garden but unfortunately my wife can't coax me into eating much in the way of veggies. I'm a carnosaur ; )

maddyrose said...

My thoughts exactly. I have always lived as lean as possible and see no reason to make any changes as I'm very content as I am now. I'm getting to old to work a large garden but grow as much as I can and I stay away from overly processed foods when I shop. Life shouldn't be about possessions. I'm not impressed by what people own but by how they live and treat others.
I love the saw dust & glue doll and your little yarn projects are adorable.

JanMarieDollsandPrims said...

just a short and sweet amen to that...

Jan Conwell said...

Couldn't agree more. I watch my kids buy, and while I do my dead-level best NOT to preach and remind them that's not how they were raised, it's so hard. Right now I'm working to teach my grandsons how to grow food, how to make things with what's around the house, and maybe just as important, how to take care of what they already DO have.

Susan McMahon said...

Glad so many of you are thinking the same way! I'm sure it's right........

Dianne said...

I also agree wholeheartedly. I posted about your blog entry here: http://diannekronika.blogspot.com/2012/04/sustainability.html

Mary Ann said...

I agree absolutely. I grew up in a home where my mother's motto was "make do and mend". I don't see the need to keep buying stuff that you don't need. After all you can't take it with you:)I don't even own a cell phone much to the horror of many people but I figure if you need to talk to me call me when I'm at home.

Susie said...

I couldn't agree with you more Susie. I was always raised to believe that if you you really wanted something the wait needed to save for it focused the motivation. Contentment is what is needed for everyone. XX

Aaron DSouza said...

Hey! Love the sawdust sculptures. Could you tell me what glue you used and the time it takes to set and if possible how you modled or sculpted it?

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