The best eco-friendly gifts
Chosen by Alison Sye
The festive season is here again, and lovely Folksy folk have asked me for some eco-friendly gift ideas. It proved much more difficult than I expected, as there is such an abundance of ethical gifts on Folksy. So, I decided to narrow the field and go hard-core eco. My final selection is a group of skilled craftspeople who don’t add ‘stuff’ to the world, but make wonderful things from materials that are already here.
First up are these beautiful engraved snowflake decorations, made from reclaimed prescription glass lenses by Elizabeth Emmens-Wilson. Each one is different, like real snowflakes, except Elizabeth’s don’t melt, so you can treasure them forever. How cool is that? They come with hand-drawn gift-tags, ribbons and handmade envelopes. They look even better in real life too!
How about this adorable make-up (or whatever) bag, made from a kimono sash by Jane Rose at Handmade In Hammersmith? The waterproof lining used to be her old trusty-but-conked-out craft-fair gazebo. Genius. She also sells good-looking bags made from sailing flags.
My third choice is this cute little reclaimed wooden house with its used-to-be-a-ruler door, made by Helen at Thimbleville. Or take a look at her clothes-peg fairies, dressed in vintage fabric.
And for us stitchers, this pretty pin cushion would do nicely. It’s made from vintage embroidered linen and eco felt, produced from recycled plastic bottles, by Susan at Lynwoodcrafts Recycled.
I’m coveting one of Kate Bowles’ notebooks, which she makes from recycled leather and scavenged papers using traditional bookbinding methods and then seals with a vintage laundry button. I love that Kate leaves the spine exposed, as a nod to the women of the binderies in the 1800s.
David Reynolds is an extremely skilled Folksy maker, with a cabinet making degree and a lifetime of craftsmanship under his toolbelt. He produces bespoke items using reclaimed, fallen and locally sourced materials. I chose this Christmas Candle set, but I also love his old-style oak door latch.
Next up are these delicate sea pottery ear studs, made by Laura Johnson. Laura uses recycled silver, sea glass and pottery, she finds on the beaches of the Scottish borders, to make her jewellery.
Machine washable rugs from old duvet covers, anyone? This one used to be a Tinkerbell duvet, and was made by Sharon Marshall from Boho Beanies. Handsome and hard-wearing.
And finally, these slipper socks look so cosy. Elizabeth Marsden at Down To Earth Recycling makes them from leftover bits of yarn. These are for children (unless you have small feet), but they come in adult sizes, too. Perfect dress attire for hot-toddy drinking.
About Alison Sye
Alison Sye makes original eco-friendly art from “conked-out stuff”. In her work you’ll find politics, stitching and ruthless attention to detail.