Sm{art}: Craft-ivists on Etsy

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No, not that kind of craftivism (although my fingers are crossed for that vulva necklace this Hanukkah). This week I’m all about Etsy’s growing community of world-saving vendors; whether they’re sustainable in their work practices, donate money from each sale to charitable organizations, or print their politics right on their products, these crafty ladies make activism an art.



Particularly near and dear to my heart are artists who take the environment into consideration while they’re workin’—art is a messy business, and I (printmaker, papermaker, collage-ist) cringe at how quickly studio dumpsters seem to fill. Here are some recent favorites:

greenearthgoodies probably has the studio of my dreams—boxes and boxes of strange, beautiful not-waste that she whisks into stationery, accessories, candles, stickers, and more. She’ll make you wish you kept everything and threw away nothing—which is the point! Also note: Jennifer, the owner of the shop, is running FOUR shops on Etsy, all linked through the greenearthgoodies page.

If you’re looking for a productive way to use your aluminum addiction, take a page from funkyrecycling’s book. She makes necklaces, earrings and ornaments from all sorts of soda detritus. You’ll never be more proud to wear something with a Coke logo on it.

OK, I’m breaking my own rule here, because this shop has branched out from Etsy, but The Weekend Store features beautiful pieces made from old typewriters, watches, maps, even transit tokens (?!!). When you look at this website, you are basically looking at my holiday wishlist. And it’s ALL UPCYCLED!!

Counterculture Crafters

Rainbow Alternative

Here is a group of artists that support authority-pushing works of all sorts. I just watched Times Square last night in preparation for Ladyween, so many of my favorites right now are going to be punk-themed…

Like so. Dissident Designs is all handmade, sometimes upcycled, and unceasingly badass. Find jewelry, patches, custom-made clothing, and even a scrap leather, recycled paper journal. Oh, Dissident Designs. If Nicky Marotta were real, she would be wearing everything you touched.

This next shop should just speak for itself. Every word in its title and summary is my favorite word. Rainbow Alternative: Original LGBT tshirts & pridewear.

Crafting for a Cause

Angelic Folk

It’s obviously redonka-hard to make a living as a crafter/artist, particularly when what you’re selling wares for $7.00 or less. That’s what makes these Etsy-ers (Etsites?) even MORE admirable than usual: they donate part (OR ALL!) of their proceeds to charitable organizations.

Angelic Folk is run by a British woman whose son is autistic, and 20% of her annual proceeds go to the National Autistic Society, which raises awareness and fights for the rights of autistic people in the UK. Not to mention her handmade clothing and accessories for children are ADORABLE!

Bumble over at fromewetoyou is a fiber artist making delicous woolen goodies straight from the sheep themselves. She gives 10% of sales profit to Heifer International for the donation of (you guessed it!) sheep to farming families abroad.

Etsy is always a great place to start when present-buying times roll around, even if it does get us made fun of occasionally. And who knows, Vag magazine? Re-usable menstrual pads sold on Etsy COULD BE THE FUTURE!

by Katie Presley
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Katie Presley is a writer and editor currently based on the East Coast (help, how did this happen??). She's been with Bitch in one form or another since 2010, when she started as a New Media Intern, and most recently served as Bitch's first and only Music Editor, from 2016-2017. Past resume lines include Assistant Producer for All Songs Considered at NPR Music, panelist on Pop Culture Happy Hour, and bylines at NPR and Ms. Katie is also a doula and herbalist, and writes a blog on herbal medicine, "The Herbal Apprentice." She also co-founded the first full-spectrum doula organization in Texas, The Bridge Collective. She is also a late-comer to being a Dog Person, but currently lives with four cats. 

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