The mind and the hand are frenemies
My earliest memory of making something was some time before I was three years old. My parents divorced when I was three and I moved from that house, so I was definitely three or younger. I remember sitting on the kitchen counter, somewhere between concentration and curiosity, wrapping a ball of tissue with transparent tape.
I believe in the power of green upholstery, non-petroleum materials that are non-toxic and sustainable, but the use of synthetics are sometimes unavoidable. Sourcing the materials I currently offer, especially the natural rubber latex and coconut coir, took much research and time to find. I am happy to report that the only synthetics I use are sewing thread and invisible zippers; the strength of synthetic nylon is currently irrefutable. The last, and only wild card between natural and synthetic, is the decision of which outer fabric to choose.
Next to lowering the thermostat and switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, recycling is one of the easiest ways we can practice environmental savvy. Everywhere you go, the mall, the library, street corners, amusement parks, recycling bins are a common fixture. I remember as a child, my mom separated and washed all our used plastics, drove us to a recycling center, and we would dispense each piece according to their recycling code.
Something has been growing in me these last few months. It’s the urge to be in nature, especially old growth forests and moving water. This is an unexpected and new feeling considering I’ve never been the super outdoorsy type. Although I grew up in Santa Cruz County, a town known for it’s old redwood forests and outdoor sports, I preferred relaxing at the mall.
Back in college, I wanted metal dishes cuz I just thought that would be so cool. That was right before the everyday convenience of Amazon Prime, and an internet brimming with product data and consumer reviews was still evolving. I was quite the the thrift store junkie, but never found any metal dishes I could make a complete set of. Retail stores were also unhelpful since the mainstream consumer's idea of metal dishes are generally enameled for camping. The non-microwavability of real metal dishes was also a bummer, and normal ceramic and porcelain dishes didn't offer any styles close to what I imagined.
Most of the time after a long day of activities, we like to plop ourselves onto our couch. A couch is generally softer and more comfortable to relax in, than say, an office or kitchen chair. What part about the plopping dictates the most comfortable seat? I vote for the active spring of a seat, the bounce back, and shock absorption that all plopping needs to exist.
Living a healthy life includes keeping my home clean. It is just as important as using non-petroleum materials in my furniture, and they are all parts of my everyday environment. Toxic cleaners and dust contribute to allergies, hormone imbalances, and we can reduce exposure to fuming with a few small changes. Here’s a few habits I have cultivated in my weekly home cleaning duties.
I always thought furniture restoration as the ideal way to avoid the chemicals and the low quality of mass manufactured furniture. Traditional upholstery and restoration are generally reserved for antiques and better quality furniture by rebuilding all elements from the frame up. With green upholstery in the mix, the goal is to remove all toxins and recreate a piece using completely biodegradable and non-petroleum based materials.
Before any major purchase like a couch, most of us do a little research online. All major retailers with a brick and mortar store offer most of their products online. In each couch’s product description, we can easily check the price, the exact dimensions, available colors, and the type of materials used.
In the case of furniture quality, the construction of the frame is just as important as the materials used. All these details together reveal whether that cool couch is safe for you and sustainable for the planet.
A perspective placing the environment as a top priority in purchasing new furniture, always considers referring to the earth for the best solutions. We help ourselves by helping the planet, that one planet that supports all of mankind’s existence, by using only natural materials. It perpetuates the proactive cycle of sustainability in how we grow the materials from the earth, and ultimately returning the expended material to biodegrade back into the earth. Ideally, ‘we leave only footprints’.