On the later part of the last century, in 1986 to be precise, Carlo Petrini protested the opening of a McDonald restaurant in Rome. This event is thought to be the beginning of what is now called Slow movement.
I first became aware of the concept of slow design reading an interview interview with Erlu Svövu Sigurðardóttur,owner of Yarm, but her design demands of her using icelandic yarn made from scratch. I felt that her description resonated with my pebble art so I decided to educate myself on the subject.
Kathryn Vercillo wrote about how handcraft is a part of the slow art movement How craft fits in the Slow Living Movement . Kathryn approch to the subject is through the healing aspect of making things slowly as well as knowing the origin of the material, and in some cases go even further and grow the material yourself and make it a self sustainable craft.
This approach fascinated me so I got to look into how I could use this method in my artwork.
One of the things that I might improve with my pebble art are the frames, but I have yet to find a realistic method that will not break the budget. Making my own is not an option right now as I do not have the right equipment or facilities to be able to do that right now. But no worries, as soon as I figure a way to make my own frames or find someone to do it in a sustainable and in budget I will make it happen.
On a more positive note, the material itself has no environmental footprint as I live on the beach and use my own two feet and hands to collect the material.
Beachcombing is a slow process and in that respect it fits in the slow movement as well as having the health benefit Kathryn wrote and I have written about in another blog Living in the now when beachcombing.
The cleaning of the material consists mostly of boil and soap. Once in a while I have used stronger cleaning products to disinfect organic material (of bones and shells).
As for my workspace I use recycled jars or old plastic boxes to sort and store the material instead of buyin new ones.
I use paper for packaging for shipments, sometimes I have used bubble wrap to protect the fragile glass but I am working on a better solution, both for my budget and environment.
Making things better for the environment and reduce the carbon print is costs rise, which is a bit ironic in light of the public discussions and desire to change. Our website sindrandi.is was a part of this slow journey to self sustainability. It requires no office space or me having to drive to work everyday and if possible I collect the orders so I can drive them to the post office on the same day.
Interestingly enough according to the strictest meaning of Veganism, pebble art is not vegan. I am and will not agree that my artwork is cruel to animals as I never use shells or other organic material that has "inhabitants" or is alive when I find it. The cleaning process is mostly just to clean bacteria and old organic material left from the previous "owners".
After taking part in Handcraft and Design exhibition it was clear to me that to truly follow the slow craft path I had to learn to tell people that my art is a slow process, but I was pleasantly surprised how well people excepted the fact that they would not get their art straight away. There is hope that we will learn to slow down, breathe and smell the roses, because as you all know, we only have one life!