Creative Holidays to You!
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Action and Interaction in Illustrations
A Friend in Winter
News for December!
Creative Holidays to You!Healthy Green Artists
by Janet Chui
Thanks to the wonderful magic of globalization, Christmas is a holiday almost everyone on the planet knows about, even if they may not celebrate it, or have another traditional holiday of their own now completely overshadowed by Christmas.
Well, Healthy Green Artists is going to talk about Christmas too. Or at least about this holiday period, this happy time of giving and sharing. It is a time of much abundance - of candy, good food, presents, gift vouchers, and lots of cards, ribbon, and wrapping paper.
Woohooo! I'm excited!
But mind you, environmentalists aren't supposed to like all the holiday cliches, like overconsumption, excessive packaging and wrapping, and the household waste which by some estimates doubles over the festive period. Our friends in the United Kingdom have done some scary calculations about the tons of foil (4,200), acres of wrapping paper (20,500), and the tons of plastic packaging (125,000) that get thrown away in the UK over Christmas. (Unfortunately, figures from the US were harder to find.) Yours Truly was once shocked over the amount of torn paper that filled an American family room in the aftermath of wrapping paper destruction that is called Christmas morning.
You're going to read plenty of tips on how to have a greener Christmas this month, so I won't bore you with the usual advice about sending e-cards or greeting cards with recycled paper content. Or about avoiding foil for wrapping material (which can't be recycled) and recycling your wrapping paper that's actually made out of paper. Or not purchasing your wrapping paper at all, and using old Christmas cards, magazines, and calendars to construct origami boxes for your gift-giving.
OK, so I am giving some tips, but only because some very creative tips could bear some highlighting for artists and crafty people - like us! We as artists can take green holidays to the next level, because We're CreativeŽ and this is a holiday of abundance.
Most of the green Christmas suggestions are in the area of gift-wrapping if only because so much extra waste is generated during this period, only to go to landfills. Fabric artists can eschew the gift wrapping altogether and make gift bags, which are nice gifts in their own right, too!
Tea towels, embroidered napkins, and table runners can also be employed for gift wrapping while being part of the gift.
If you're addicted to thrift shopping, thift stores and flea markets are a great place to pick up for cheap various sizes of decorative fabric including ribbon, toile and organza, which should set your gift-wrapping creative juices flowing. (When wrapping with just fabric instead of paper, it is a little more challenging, but fun. Just use safety pins in lieu of scotch tape and have plenty of ribbon on hand!) Shopping at thift stores, independent stores and flea markets (instead of big box stores and department stores) also helps keep your money in your local community instead of going to a corporation in another tax-light state (or even country).
Artists are also in the great position of being able to make our gifts for our loved ones. Two-dimensional artists do not have to be limited to making paintings only, because we can paint on 3-dimensional objects - second hand items too. Bookmakers can make journals using found or reused objects. Jewelry makers can make new jewelry from antique beads. (Why am I emphasizing the use of old objects? Because the environmental price of the manufacture of these items has already been paid, one is frequently rescuing them from the landfills, and not encouraging more environmental pollution from current manufacturers making more of the same.)
Digital artists - spread your digital art goodness wide! Desktop and screensaver kits make excellent gifts!
Canners, soap makers, and candle makers - uh, I'm sure you're already doing what I was going to suggest you do.
Even with the green gift-making and gift-wrapping, it may be inevitable you'll wind up with a lot of waste paper after Christmas anyway. Not to fret, I think you'll find things to do with the wrapping paper. (I save them, and they become cushioning for shipping art the next year.) The greeting cards? Paper for making boxes or gift tags.
Actually, if I were a scrapbook person, Christmas would be my favorite holiday for salvaging art and craft materials. Oh wait, I'm not, and I still do that anyway!
Happy holidays to all of you, have fun, keep healthy, and I'll see you again in 2007!
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