One of our residents is a keen upholsterer and last year, after using some beautiful fabrics, many of them already sourced from ends of rolls, she started to wonder what to do with the small offcuts.
By happy coincidence a friend introduced her to the idea of Furoshiki and gave her a copy of ‘How to be a craftivist‘ in the same week she read about the problems that glitter and metallic paper cause for recycling centres, and an idea bubbled up for some craftivism.
Metallic and glittered papers may add a sparkle under the tree but pose a challenge for recycling. Metallic paper has to be picked out of the conveyor belts, adding to the costs of handling the waste. Glittery paper is more likely to be missed by the pickers, and ends up reducing the quality of the output, and with it the options for its use. Ultimately this adds to the cost of recycling or to the costs of the products that are made from recycled paper.
With all this in mind, a small group of volunteers made fabric wrapping to gift in our communities. We made and gave out wraps and fabric pouches made from off-cuts of fabric to 50 households in Hockerton and to the congregation of the Methodist Church in Southwell, our local market town. These gifts were given along with a letter explaining why, and a guide to their use from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (see below). This is the essence of ‘craftivism’, that messages can be enclosed with useful and hopefully beautiful hand-made gifts, to remove the idea of criticism and instead surprise and hopefully bring a smile to faces whilst delivering a meaningful message.
Fabric wraps are not the only way to reduce the challenge to the recycling centres this Christmas. We can also use paper that is both recycled and recyclable; use ribbon that can be used year after year; and of course reuse paper. Surely it’s not just me whose only memory of my father with an iron is when he used to save and iron the wrapping paper on Christmas Day?!