Parsons Illustration alum Jill Bliss was recently interviewed for Ecopreneurist. Here’s a snippet of what she had to say
Crafts have always been historically rooted in all that is trendy in the hot, ‘green market’ today: local, sustainable and frugal. And, crafts are are gaining more sex appeal in part thanks to sites like Etsy.com, which has been described by the New York Times as a “cross between Amazon, eBay and your grandmother’s closet”. Can you say more about the recent spotlight on crafts?
When I started in 2001, the burgeoning interest in crafts was a direct response to the ’soullessness’ of technology, a reaction against consumerism and a return to learning to doing things for yourself. It was a new form of punk-rock, with roots tied to the indie-music scene. I started my business out of necessity – I’d just returned home to San Francisco in time to witness the dot-com crash and couldn’t find a job working for someone else. So I created my own job. I began making things from whatever I had at hand in my studio, created a retail website and peddled my wares to local shops, at indie-music shows, and organized a few local craft sales events with other like-minded people.
This new crafts movement has grown tremendously since then with the advent of Etsy and large corporate sponsorship! It satisfies a need we all have to not only create things with our own hands, but to also have a dialog with, and get to know, others who make the things we buy and use. we’ve matured as consumers. We now want to know the story behind the product we buy and use. It’s no longer satisfying to buy just another throw-away item made in inhumane conditions by an unknown person in a faraway land.
From your Etsy profile, you say that you hope to encourage a more thoughtful art and design industry that focuses on reusable or sustainable materials and less consumption. Can you give us some examples of your creations that do this?
With everything I make, I use repurposed or recycled materials as much as possible and try to make only enough to satisfy demand. It’s important to me to only produce enough of a product that I can actually sell, or that I can make something else from if it doesn’t. Printing or making too many of something, even if it’s made from recycled materials, is just as wasteful as using new materials.
[lovely images above from Jill’s illustration portfolio]