Happy Earth Day! We at Camp Copeland believe that every day should be earth day, so in honor of the holiday today and festivities this weekend, we wanted to share with you a little about our approach to sustainability with a focus on design and materiality. Creating sustainable handmade home goods and decor is a fundamental core value for us.
Wool is a sustainable and versatile material for home goods and decor
One sustainable material we love to work with is wool in our Spruce tableware and home organizing product line. Wool is a natural fiber that is harvested seasonally from sheep and is a renewable resource, meaning it grows back rapidly. Most sheep are sheared once per year in the spring, and their coat takes the full year to grow back. The innate characteristics of this fiber, such as exceptional temperature and sound insulation, its ability to wick moisture, and its strength and stamina for daily use are why this material has been used in countless ways for thousands of years. You may or may not be surprised to learn that the quality of the sheep’s wool is directly tied to not only the species of sheep but also to the living environment and health of that individual sheep. In short, a well-cared-for animal grows a better, stronger coat!
An additional benefit to using 100% wool, as opposed to a blended acrylic product, is that the wool is compostable. While wool happens to be very durable, should it need to be disposed of, it will break down and can help to fortify the soil if allowed to break down appropriately. Wool fibers can provide many benefits when incorporated into a compost mixture including being a source for a slow release of nitrogen, an essential element for most plants. It is important to note that wool, just as with other organic things like kitchen food scraps that end up in an anaerobic environment, such as a landfill, may never get the chance to become soil again.
Every detail matters in the sustainable making process
Something else we consider when choosing the materials we work with is the opportunity to avoid using harsh adhesives and paints or coatings. For instance, in both the wool and the glass materials, the color is incorporated during the initial manufacturing processes, therefore we don’t need to apply any paints or surface treatments to achieve the variety of colors we love. Avoiding certain paints and sealants means that our work is No-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and will not contribute to indoor air pollution.
Some adhesives can contain VOCs as well, which is why we prefer to avoid them and design our wool bowls and wall organizers using hardware connections. That is, we use metal bolts and rivets to fold, hold, and create shapes, instead of gluing said shapes together. And, to tie back into the compostability of the wool, should it ever need to be disposed of, the metal pieces can be easily removed, potentially reused elsewhere, and the wool sent to rest in the compost pile, where it can transition into a new phase as a soil amendment.
Sustainable Home Goods, Decor, and Art Creating With Intention
The materials we choose to work with are precious to us. From our early days of working with glass and wool, we have been dedicated to saving, sorting, and using every bit of it in creative ways. The glass, as mentioned, gets the color components added in the early stages of manufacturing. So, by the time we’re cutting down the material to make, say a fused glass spoon rest, any scrap we create is all that same color. Here’s where good studio organizing and sorting practices come into play. We have durable, stackable bins to store each glass color family of scrap glass. These hold the small bits of glass from things like cutting a circle out of a square, and on the occasion when we break something during the creation process. These magical bins are a treasure trove for when we want to play with new ideas or color combinations. We recently have been recycling this glass into one-of-a-kind cast glass objects such as in “Green Meadow”. These cast glass trays have a satin finish and a chunky substantial presence on tables and shelves and provide a designated landing place for other precious items in your home.
Incorporating objects into your world that are not only created to last a long time but also that you will continue to love and want to keep around a long time also contributes to their overall sustainability. The less you’re buying new objects to replace other objects that you’ve had to throw away, the less you’re contributing to the environmental degradation that overconsumption causes. We hope that the things we’re making and sending out into the world are functional to be a foundational item in your everyday lives, but also timeless in style to evolve with shifting tastes as aesthetic trends change over time.
Always striving to improve our work and decrease our impact on the environment, we are excited to be included in the first cohort of Green Leap. Green Leap is a product development program from Monmade, designed to foster sustainable products for the built environment. We are diving deep into new topics related to material sourcing, circular design, material’s impact on human health, and the green building industry. Currently in development is making improvements to our studio space to improve the health and efficiency of our work environment and production process, and also a new line of sustainable products that we can’t wait to show you. Sorry for the teaser, but we are hoping to be able to show you more over the coming months. Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!