the throwaway society

There’s been quite the discussion floating around several blogs I read, all sparked by one comment in which a woman laid into a “green” design blog for featuring a rather expensive Eames armchair.
Treehugger summed it up pretty well by summarizing Oscar Wilde’s lament that people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

Both articles and the comments are pretty interesting in the range of reactions.
I responded to the ReNest article with this:

I am a maker. Not of furniture or probably anything else you’d ever feature on this blog, but a maker nonetheless. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that someone could buy “the same” item as something I’m selling at Walmart for half the price.

Sustainability has so many facets and affording those who make the items in question a wage which doesn’t leave them starving is one of those facets. Add in the cost of sustainable materials and this is often why things “green” cost so much more.
From the end-user standpoint, that Eames armchair aside, I’m so tired of household items that can’t be repaired once they’ve broken. I had quite a fight with a toaster before finally coming to the realization that I could not get the parts to fix it because no one made them.
That’s the real crime: Living in a world where things are designed to break, be trashed and replaced. That’s the thing that should make that woman sick to her stomach.

It’s a crazy line to walk; pricing items so you can keep making more and eat while you’re at it, and pricing them so people don’t roll their eyes and walk away. I hope people care that the things I make can be repaired, altered or made into something else when their current life is nearing the end. I hope that me and all my other maker friends are having an impact on our throwaway society. It is one of my biggest dreams, to help change this…


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