• Drew

Declutter and Live Well With Fewer Better Things

Updated: Feb 18

Camp Copeland Studio is a small batch handmade business producing home goods and decor with a focus on mindful living. My co-owner/partner Alyssa and I make every object with our own two hands in our shop, which is located in Braddock Pennsylvania (just outside of Pittsburgh). We don’t have any employees, interns, or volunteers. We’re just two artists with a passion for elevating interior design objects and decor from the mass-produced cheaply made alternatives that are likely to end up in the landfill sooner rather than later. Helping others live a more conscious life with fewer, better things that are sustainable and made to last is our mission. We are inspired by the Swedish lifestyle concept of “lagom”, which translates best to “just enough”. Lagom is the ideology that everything should be experienced in balance and that one should be content with one's place in life. It focuses on moderation and not overdoing or lacking in something. Lagom is a complete ideology, in that it pertains to everything from spending time with family, to live work balance, to food, and especially to interior design. Lagom is fundamental to the Swedish interior design style. Objects in the home should be cherished, functional, and curated. They should inspire emotion and not just be purchased for the sake of purchasing and then left to collect dust. They should help you live life in balance.


A Cluttered House Is The Enemy Of Mindful Living


I think we can all agree that Americans are stressed right now, right? From the ongoing pandemic to politics, the world is a lot and there doesn’t seem to be any real end in sight. Add to the outside stress, the amount of clutter in our homes and it’s amazing we aren’t all balled up in the corner pulling out our hair. Did you know that 50% of Americans are stressed by the number of objects that they own? It’s a sad but true fact. We over-purchase to the point of creating an environment that negatively affects our health. Clutter-induced stress has been linked to poor sleep, lack of productivity, lower self-esteem, and lower overall quality of life. One in five Americans attempts to remedy this stress by renting a storage space. The problem is, that the storage space quickly fills up and we go back to filling our home with objects which causes our stress levels to spike again. It’s a vicious cycle! But what if there was a way to relieve stress with just a simple tweak to our lifestyle? We think it’s not only possible but easy by adopting more mindful awareness about consumption and living lagom with fewer better things.


Fewer Better Things


As I mentioned above, our mission is to help others live well with fewer, better things that are of higher quality than the mass-produced alternatives. By buying more consciously, and in a moderate manner, you will buy less over time. By being mindful and living in balance with fewer things, you are practicing lagom. This idea of sustainable design has been growing in the clothing industry, but we’re focusing specifically on sustainable interior design. Buy fewer better things that you love, save money and reduce the landfill. Our objects are handmade pieces of art to be cherished, but also functional and durable for everyday use around the home. We call this movement away from the throw-away culture alternatives “art for everyday living”. We seek out to intersect intention, craftsmanship, and utilitarianism for a new way of creating home goods, design and decor. We believe that everyone should own less by owning better quality objects that last longer. Something that you cherish more than an object purchased at a large box store. Mass-produced items are made cheaply with inferior materials. They are intended to be purchased and thrown away in a year or two. Then you go back to the same store and buy another one. This model creates a lot of waste and feeds the ideology of overconsumption which directly leads to a cluttered house and stressful life. On the contrary, having a piece of art handmade by an artist that functions as a durable spoon rest, candle holder, or centerpiece elevates the item from box store buy to modern heirloom. The fact alone that you can meet us, email us, phone us, or yes… even Zoom us if you’d like to know more about our process or artwork raises the object from item to art. There is a creative face behind our work, and we care deeply about craftsmanship and quality as much as we care about helping you live more mindfully.


Art For Everyday Living


Not to be redundant, but at this point, I should emphasize that our objects ARE designed and handcrafted to be used in your home. Just because we call them art, does not mean that they should be locked away in a glass cabinet to only be looked at. That would defeat the purpose of living lagom with fewer better things. We design objects that fill a need first and foremost, then focus on how we can create them to meet our high aesthetic and quality standards. The functionality of our objects and meaningful design make them a mindful choice. This is the key point for the concept of art for everyday living, the for everyday living part. We are artists creating handcrafted objects from kiln-formed glass and wool, but our artwork is functional and durable home goods and decor.


More Than An Average Spoon Rest


A perfect example of art for everyday living is our kiln-formed spoon rest. It is designed to fill a need in your home, be functional, affordable, and durable, but also artisan handcrafted in a way as to make it an object of fused glass art. It’s large enough to fit many different sized utensils comfortably. Glass is also nonporous and naturally stain resistant to a degree. We’ve had the first spoon rest I ever made in our kitchen for almost 5 years now and it still looks new after daily usage. It’s white with black patterning. Through marinara to turmeric, the white still looks bright as the day it was made and the pattern just as black. It’s meant to last much longer than a throw-away culture box store spoon rest. It’s created through a process that I have developed which is similar to glass casting. I’ll briefly explain the process, although we’re planning a longer separate post regarding this as well for the future.


Artisan Handmade With Care


The glass for each spoon rest is hand-cut into circles from larger sheets of colored glass. We make two separate and distinct product lines of spoon rest, one featuring a geometric pattern, which is our “invigorate” line, and one that is a solid color minimalist variety, which is our “nourish” line. The “invigorate” pattern is created by screen printing ground-up glass powder onto the glass circles and fusing it in an electric kiln. This process occurs at around 1500 degrees and makes the pattern permanent and nonfading. After the pattern is fused, I hand build molds to melt the glass into the shape of the spoon rest and fire everything again. The forming process occurs at around 1525 degrees. The glass spoon rests are completed after the forming process. The nourish line goes through another process after forming. They are sandblasted and fired one more time to give each a “fire polish” satiny finish which is soft to the touch. this process occurs at around 1200 degrees. The overall creation for one of our fused glass spoon rests takes between 2-3 days and I am directly involved in each step. They are mindfully and carefully designed objects to be enjoyed for years to come.


Start Living Lagom


Living a mindful life and practicing lagom is a wonderful way to experience happiness and contentment in moderation. I hope that this article has inspired you to start living life with fewer better things, which are higher quality and made to last. Taking steps to declutter your home will reduce stress levels and allow you to be happier. There is joy in living with less, but cherished and curated objects. We will continue to share our passion for mindful home goods and decor on our blog and social media. If you’d like to stay up to date please sign up for our newsletter, sign up to become a member at the top of this page or follow us on Instagram. And if you think someone you know would benefit from this article please share it! As I mentioned earlier we love to meet people and talk about what we do and why. If you have any questions feel free to comment on this post, send us an email at hi@campcopeland.com, or use the chatbox on this website. We’d love to hear from you!


Thanks for reading,


Drew + Alyssa

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