February 9, 2011

Meet & Greet : DARNEDideas

After years of only partially giving into her artistic voice, Stephanie gave into it fully and started to create again. Sketch, paint, sew, crochet, knit. Stephanie is a jill of many trades, master of...working on it! She loves learning new things and using all sorts of materials.

Woven Rag Rug Pale Yellow Pink Black Flora
I asked Stephanie a few questions and here is what she had to share with us:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell
Three years ago I graduated college and was unable to find quality work—fair pay, safe conditions, simulating activities, healthy relationships, and so on. All the work I was able to find was intolerably exploitative, degrading, humiliating, and prohibitive of my own creativity and intellect. I started to think critically about the world, reconsidering my place, my impact, my needs and how I satisfied them. It started simple, with food and basic needs, then became an ongoing reconsideration of all my economic dealings. I found that in order to be happy, I don’t need very much. I’ve replaced my mindless consumption with a minimalist lifestyle of using everything and wasting nothing. Crafting is my answer to the rude salute I’ve received from my home society’s work economy. It is also my therapy, allowing me to create function and beauty while confronting and answering the ugliness of the world’s truths.

Working in multi-media, from fiber to paper, I sell products made from “waste stream” materials and/or local and sustainably produced materials. My products reflect a synergy between techniques that interest me and whatever materials I happen to find.

Knit Hat Bright Red with Black Mother of Pearl 
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed materials?
I find myself surrounded by material abundance and gross overproduction that come at a cost we, humanity, cannot sustainably pay: destruction of the planet and its living systems that enable human survival. Most available materials are reliant upon a system that consumes limited, non-replaceable resources as though we created them ourselves, by hand, from scratch. Raw natural resources are used one time, then become problematic “waste”. The effect of so managing natural resources is in the long term suicidal. Regarding crafting, conflict ensued between my newly-adopted values and the contrary values I’d adhered to for a lifetime. I started to rethink the origin of my supplies. I saw potential in things conventionally considered “garbage”, from a well-loved bed sheet to a stained t-shirt to beer packaging. I slowly developed a new discipline of buying as little as possible; I would buy only what I needed and even that, as much as possible, would come from the “waste stream”. There is so much that can be made from these materials when you look at them in a different way. Tilting your head sometimes helps.

Upcycled Men's Tie Purse Green MultiColor Print
What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
Community is an important part of healthy economic relationships. Having my etsy shop is giving me the opportunity to work closely with shoppers and crafters in a personal and meaningful way.

GROW FOOD Screened Tote
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
I am inspired to create because I feel that it sharpens my skills, nurtures my creativity, and develops my capacity and flexibility for problem-solving, enabling me to live my life so as to leave the world an improved place. There is so much beauty in the world, often in forms very simple. It’s hard sometimes to see the radiant sky beyond the strip-malls. But, I think taking time to breath, relax and eat a good meal with people you love, inspiration follows.

You can check me out:

Thanks Stephanie for sharing!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog


  1. This is an inspiring story! There is something so pure about generating minimal waste and using waste to create beautiful, usable art.

  2. I agree with Gena- truly inspiring- And thought provoking as well, your insights and philosophies are so mindful of the spiritual and practical sense of upcycling. I admire your lifestyle choice and hope that sharing your story helps others to make the choice to minimalize their impact on our Earth as well.

    I love your wonderfully original upcycled tote bag, too! The necktie strap and enclosure is so cool!