Tuesday, July 19, 2011

i want that art: uncorked

i was drooling over pictures from a friends recent trip to portugal and came upon a picture of a cork bracelet that she had gotten there. i fell in love. i have always been a huge cork fan. i love its imperfections and its texture.
after looking at those pictures, i put two and two together and was pleasantly reminded that cork doesn't just come from a factory. this is information that had already known, i guess i just had to see the pictures of cork forests to wrap my head around the idea.
well i headed straight to etsy to do some research and i found one of the coolest stores! uncorked is the brainchild of the very talented Cat Ivins. her store features handmade jewelry made from all sustainable and repurposed materials, and each of her unique pieces are packaged so beautifully. these are some of the lovlies i can't stop staring at:

cat was kind enough to do a little interview for us, enjoy:

t.v. why cork?
c.i. what i love about cork, besides the fact that it is tree bark so its a wood that does not harm the tree when harvested properly (it grows back), is the fact that it is so imperfect. i love the concept of wabi-sabi and finding the perfection in imperfection.

t.v. what about cork inspires you as a jewelry designer?
c.i. handmade will never be perfect and that is what gives handmade it's poetry - it will never be pressed out of plastic and sit on a shelf in a target store, all pretty and perfect and cheap. cork is always flawed, but always beautiful - i haven't found a perfect piece yet - it totally inspires me.

t.v. can you explain the importance of sustainability in your life, not just in your business but in your everyday life.
c.i. sustainability is a big part of my business. i really strive to use industrial materials that serve another purpose and recycled and earth friendly materials. i could get almost all my materials for less money or faster or use new pieces instead of used pieces that need to be refurbished, if i didn't outsource the way i do. lately i have been thinking though about just how unsustainable this type of personal making and selling can be... all of the time required of us to create a niche in such a huge marketplace as the internet is not ver sustainable... in the beginning i just did one thing - i made something. and then i did another thing - i marketed it. and then i did another thing - i shipped it....even when you are not doing the selling/shipping step - all the other steps are taking way too much time and it becomes unsustainable. the truth though is that the unsustainable part is what forces us to prioritize and to change things and to grow - to get things back into balance - to make our lives more sustainable - all good things.

t.v. how do you balance your creativity, productivity, and motherhood?
c.i. i'm not sure i do. i think that amazing things are created with passion and it is very hard to be passionate with one eye on the clock and that guilt-inducing pie chart that says we need to balance out time into equal chunks. i think when we are making - our crafts, art, dinner - we want to be totally in that space doing that thing, and when we are with our kids we need to be 100% with them. i'm not sure we can spend too much time being creative or too much time being moms, but we can absolutely spend too much time on production - production overload leads to burnout and burnout kills productivity and creativity and makes for grumpy parents. some days when i am brazing for example or cleaning car parts (for my polarity shop) i get totally in the zone and it is like a meditation. i love the idea of a balanced life and know the pitfalls of burnout, but it is a process and easy to slip up. i think when our businesses are slow, instead of doing more and more to make things happen, we should take that time to slow ourselves down - enjoy the tide being out, trusting that it will be back in.

thanks so much to cat for spending some time with us and letting me pick her brain a bit. stop by her shops and also check out her great blog on sustainability called olive bites.

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