Even as we continue to turn our forests into furniture, exploit the earth for minerals and treat the oceans as a trashcan, people are finally starting to wake up and sound the alarm about the ill-effects of our unsustainable (and unsightly) levels of over-consumption. It certainly helps that natural alternatives to fossil fuels are finally emerging as viable alternatives. Exhibit A: check out this podcast by NPR's Planet Money (Ep. 616) about how solar power suddenly became cheap enough for "regular" folk to actually begin adopting it. (Spoiler: it's an interesting perfect storm consisting of a glut of solar tiles from China which prices drop precipitously, no-money-down terms for homeowners to have solar installed, and billions of dollars in underwriting from big Wall Street firms.)
And a thoughtful exhibition at Stockholm’s Artipelag is celebrating this welcome bit of good news with a timely look at the way design, art, photography, food and fashion are being impacted by a new burst of creative energy. The hallmarks include recycled remnants, natural ingredients, oxidized alloys, vegetal dyes and colors, innovative thinking...and a refreshingly hopeful attitude.
Like the amazing shoes (above) by Jólan van der Wiel made with resin embedded with iron filings. The filings get their spiky look after strong magnets are pulled across the surface. "What you see on these shoes is that the front has really small spikes and the back has very long ones," explains the designer. "However, the material itself is very soft, almost cuddly. So it looks dangerous but they feel great and are great to walk in!"
(image by Thomas Straub)
This approach to design, making something so futuristic using creativity and craftsmanship is a signature of the Folkspun fashion tribe, which is exploring how to make our future eco, sustainable and charmingly handmade. (For more of my posts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.) "Making up for a century of ecological abuse, consumption, greed and violence...is a young century which has brought about a moment of reflection and radical change," note the curators of EARTH MATTERS. "For the first time, a post-fossil society is emerging, using natural ingredients, offering alternatives and giving us hope for the future.” (image)
(Cabinet by Piet Hein Eek at EARTH MATTERS; image by Jean-Baptiste Beranger)
EARTH MATTERS is on display at Artipelag through May 3, 2015.
- Lesley Scott