Sunday, March 21, 2010

You Can’t Eat Organic Cotton….

Many of us understand the importance of, and regularly spend extra money, on organic food. But we often forget, or are unsure of, the importance of choosing organic textiles. For those of us who need a little reminder, here is a quick refresher course on the importance of organic textiles, and in particular, organic cotton.

Threefish Baby Hat

Like organic food crops, organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.

About 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticide goes to cotton crops. Some of these chemicals are considered to be the most toxic chemicals in the world. The health risks of pesticide exposure include birth defects, reproductive disorders and weaker immune systems.

Funchi Baby Bootie

Pesticides, bleaches, and other harsh chemicals can remain in the fibers of cotton even after washing, and are easily absorbed by our skin. Our children are the most sensitive to chemical exposure and their immune systems are not equipped to handle toxin overload. Not only is the conventional cotton "crop" exposed to a multitude of chemicals, but during the process of converting raw cotton into finished textiles, chemicals such as petroleum scours, softeners, brighteners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia and formaldehyde, are added to the product. Choosing organic cotton products can help lessen the effects of these toxins on your child's system.

Organic Quilt Company Blanket Set

Wearing clothes, and choosing products, that are inherently chemical-free is just plain good for you and those you love. And when it comes right down to it, some of us do ‘eat’ organic cotton!

Ecoleeko Teether

Written by: Becky of the Organic Quilt Company

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meet the Team Green Works

Your Name: Maura

Shop Name: Green Works

Etsy Shop Address:

Website: (work in progress)


Please start by telling us a little about yourself, your family, and your art form.

I'm Irish - born and reared in a rural village in the middle of Northern Ireland and moved to the big smoke when I was 19 where I've lived ever since. Growing up was a green experience - though as a child I didn't realize that. Sewing, knitting, crocheting and rug making were all crafts I learned from my mom and gram as a child while baking and cooking just fell under regular household daily chores. Nothing was wasted at home - food from one meal would typically be re-worked into another meal and vegetable produce that couldn't be used like peelings went into a special bucket which was collected every other day by a lady in the town who used the scraps to feed her pigs. Clothing was passed around siblings and cousins (I got the cousins as I had no sisters), clothes were taken up and in or down and out as required and mended till they became indecent - then they would find a new life cut up to be used for some other sewing project or dust rags. I remember there was always a stash of buttons, zips, broken jewelry and fabric scraps in the attic and I was what we called a plunderer - I loved rummaging through stuff as part of my daydreamer lifestyle.

Lots of relatives had animals - mostly chickens, ducks, geese and a few goats and cows. My great aunt made her own butter and taught me how to milk the cows and later let me help with churning (hard work!) and then patting the butter into shape. I never liked sweet milk but loved buttermilk and remember being able to take a glass out of the earthen dish - so cold and delicious! Collecting eggs was always a thrill especially if there were duck eggs, because I loved those, and she would let me take them home. Geese eggs were alright but a bit too big for me to finish off on my own. Another aunt had a huge garden full of vegetables and it was normal to be sent out to pick the spuds (potatoes) and other veggies for dinner. Fruit was more of a luxury product that we got from neighbors for jam making or from briars along the road - blackberries especially grew wild around town. But I'm digressing!

Art wasn't something that I experienced much until I went to secondary (high) school and while I didn't like the subject I do remember getting the chance to screen-print (once) and that that was interesting and fun. Maybe it's too harsh to say I singled out art as an unloved subject - in truth I hated the school and my time there and spent most of my time daydreaming about out of the place - so I didn't learn much of anything. Well except French - I enjoyed those lessons - because they offered a glimpse into a far away place.

So in essence I grew up during a time and in an environment where people lived close to nature and were thrifty - nothing was wasted. In part that was an economical necessity but also there was a strong awareness that in other parts of the world famine, starvation and poverty were rife. We were blessed - and waste was an insult to all those people who had nothing. So we re-used, recycled, re-purposed without really thinking about it - it was just part of everyday living and the ways things were.

Moving those experiences onto organic was a natural step really - the whole idea of living off the land as much as possible and being close too and respectful of nature is in my blood.

Where and how did you start or learn your medium?

Screen-printing I learnt about 3 years ago and it was a pragmatic decision. I had started to buy organic and hemp clothing and wanted to make a living reselling these as part of being involved in promoting a greener more organic way of life. At that time no one in Northern Ireland sold hemp ... and organic cotton garments were a crazy price. Plus everything was very plain and needed some color and design! Thankfully my friend is artistic and can produce designs - so his designs with me screen-printing led to Green Works. We took a pitch at a local market but most of the local consumers weren't ready to pay a bit more for organic so that was limited and there weren't that many craft events around - so when I found Etsy as a venue it seemed perfect. The objective was, and still is, to make organic and sustainable clothing affordable and more mainstream.

Will you share at least one thing that defines or inspires you as an artist?

Fair play. From a selfish perspective I worked in the social care arena for years and have little to show materially (like a pension) for that - but I did burn out. That sounds a bad and maybe needs clarified - I have always lived simply and never felt the need for the latest gizmo's/latest fashions etc but when working is all about giving your heart and energy and you're left struggling to keep up with the most basic of bills something isn't right. So I reached a point of self-determination that inspired me to work for myself and re-nurture my spirit. From a global perspective I see the earth also being abused and reaching the end of it's tether.

What defines and inspires me is the belief that we can all make a difference that in the end can benefit us as individuals as well as collectively. One of my favorite quotes and source of inspiration is:

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” - Cree Saying

The Planet Green design is a play on words - we wanted a design that would overtly promote the green message - while at the same time incorporating a more subtle reminder of the adverse impact of the other green (money) on our planet.

What is the best piece of advice you can give aspiring artists?

Try to find a community of like-minded people for support. Teams on Etsy can be one way if you live somewhere isolated. Go to as many craft fairs/events as you can - they are a great way to meet other crafts people and get feedback from customers. Feedback is very important as I think many (or most?) people who create have more than their fair share of self doubt - which is natural when you think about it - as creating is really about exposing an inner vision in an exterior product.

Do you have any short or long-term goals you would like to share with our readers?

Short term I really want the nuorganics site to get up and running and be successful. It has been in the pipeline for too many years. Short term too I want to master marketing! I need to shed my reticence and put myself out there - all tips welcome!

What first attracted you to using organic materials?

Hemp was actually my first love and as more certified hemp becomes available that is where I see the nuorganics site focusing on. It is such a marvelous and versatile fiber and any plant that can rejuvenate the earth has got to be promoted.

How do you think that buying and manufacturing organic handmade products benefits society?

There are many benefits - the positive health aspects that wearing, eating, using products which aren't laden with chemicals, pesticides etc brings, the fair trade policies and fairer distribution of wealth that genuine organic supporters believe in and adhere too, the global care of our most precious resource - the earth itself, the self determination at the heart of homemade products, the connectedness between producer and consumer ... and if I can dream the ultimate downfall of the large corporate machine as people re-learn how to value themselves and each other :)

Where or how did you come to start selling on Etsy?

I can't remember where but I read a blog article that mentioned Etsy - so I checked it out - liked what I saw and joined.

How did you come to find a home on the Etsy Organic Team?

For me it started way back in April 08 when I first met organicdog another seller on Etsy (who has since left) on the forums. She had tried to drum up interest previously in an organic team but had no joy progressing the idea. We ended up chatting about it over email and it took off from there. The Etsy Organic Team was then founded in July of 2008 and the rest is history.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet the Team Flower Child Creations

Your Name

Dhanya Falkenstein

Shop Name

Flower Child Creations

Shop Address

Please start by telling us a little about yourself, your family, and your art form.

Hello, my name is Dhanya, pronounced dawn-ya, and I am an artist. There is not a medium I haven't tried, well maybe not welding, yet! I run a small shop on Etsy called Flower Child Creations. We offer organic, airbrushed, earth friendly, one of a kind and few of a kind, wearable artwork, for babies to kids, adults, and some of my paintings are listed as well.

Painting shirts and one-pieces for our little girl’s arrival two years ago is what initially inspired the Flower Child line. At the time I was a full time massage therapist and Asian body-worker only painting part time preparing for our daughter’s birth. Although my parents, who are also artists, and I have been airbrushing children’s and adult clothing for over 30 years between us and have sold at craft shows and boutiques all over the world Etsy is my online selling debut.

I grew up in a small community of artisans in southern Oregon who expressed themselves through a variety of cottage industries. There were basket makers, a button maker, weavers, drum makers, a blacksmith, seamstresses, farmers, potters, glass blowers, bakers, the list goes on and on. So I feel right at home in Etsy's hand made community.

I live in AZ with my little girl (she’s 19 months) and her father and love every second of it! Together we run a small, family owned hotel in Sedona as our regular “day job” and juggle our toddler between artistic pursuits and the hotel’s daily tasks. We feel very fortunate to spend so much quality time together as a family. It seems rather rare in this day and age.

When we are not on duty we spend as much time as we can walking in canyons, riding bikes, swimming, listening to music, drawing, painting, exploring fields of grass with our little girl, pointing out birds in the sky, stacking blocks, singing kids songs, reading children’s books (one of my dreams is too illustrate children’s books one day), rummaging through thrift stores, preparing yummy organic food, and so on.

Where and how did you start or learn your medium?

The first time I touched an airbrush I was about five years old. Both of my parents are talented multi-media artists and I was always around airbrushes as a child. I dabbled with the machine as a youth but I didn’t get serious until after high school. I was more interested in dance, music (I was a pirate/community radio DJ for almost 10 years as well as doing shows and parties), photography, and traditional brush painting techniques in my younger years.

I took an airbrush portrait painting class in college that really sparked my interest in the craft. Airbrush can be extremely challenging at times and very technical. The mechanics are one of the things that take the most time to figure out and are the biggest turn off for a novice. Lots of patience and practice make for a successful airbrush artist. You have to love doing it and be prepared to mess up or break something important on occasion.

Will you share at least one thing that defines or inspires you as an artist?


Does where you live and create influence your creative process?

Yes, it’s almost over whelming at times. I have to really focus to get thing accomplished. There is inspiration everywhere I look around Sedona. Talk about eye candy it’s hard to drive here sometimes there are so many beautiful views.

What is the best piece of advice you can give aspiring artists?

Be yourself. Trust yourself. Listen to yourself. Follow your gut. How ever you want to say it. Life is way too important and way too short to be taken seriously. Art is a life long path and life is art. Take your time, slow down, enjoy the process even if it is challenging at times, being creative is it’s own reward.

Do you have any short or long-term goals you would like to share with our readers?

I am currently working on new adult line (under a different name) that I will preview on Etsy prior to launching our website. Having a toddler makes for time frames to be a bit looser than in the past but with luck it will be done with in the year (fingers crossed).

Our family’s long-term goal is to build an Earthship here in Northern Arizona. An Earthship is a sustainable home that uses rain caught water, is built from 90% recycled or reused materials, and is completely self sufficient, self contained structure. It uses mainly passive solar energy to heat and cool itself and is perfect for the desert. The largest community of them is outside of Taos, NM. Who knows we may turn it into a Bed and Breakfast.

Where or how did you come to start selling on Etsy?

I opened my shop in September 09’ after a long summer craft show season. Everyone I've met is so helpful and ready to share his or her experiences it's great! Etsy is a truly wonderful community of artists and I am thrilled to be part of it. I am inspired every time I browse through categories, read about other artists, do random searches, there is always something new to discover.

What first attracted you to using organic materials?

I have always used organic materials in the way of food, bath and beauty products, and fabrics. The hand-made, do it your self, ‘organic’, ‘green’ lifestyle is how my parents raised me.

We started using organic fabrics in our clothing line as soon as we started finding affordable sources. They were scarce a few years ago or super expensive. The organic line of shirts we use today costs the almost the same as conventional cotton clothing. We are committed to using only socially and environmentally minded materials in the making of our line. We also do our best to run a zero waste studio by reusing and recycling anything we can there by lowering our over all environmental impact.

How do you think that buying and manufacturing organic handmade products benefits society?

Buying and selling organic makes the world a cleaner, healthier, happier place to live. We cast a vote every time we spend our money on goods we put into and onto our bodies.

When we choose organic and sustainable products to eat and wear we are sending a message on a vibrational level to everyone we come in contact with. It's like a silent bill board saying "I care", I care about myself, I care about the planet, I care about you, I care about the person who made the clothes I'm wearing and so on. We essentially surround ourselves with a thoughtful presence that makes an impact on society at large whether they or we are conscious of it or not.

I see the green movement becoming more widely accepted and understood every day and it puts a smile on my face. We are moving toward a brighter more beautiful tomorrow for all the kids. They deserve to inherit a beautiful, clean, peaceful planet.

How did you some to find a home on the Etsy Organic Team?

EOT was the first team I explored, I poked around the team members’ shops, read their philosophies, and I felt like there were like-minded people involved. I applied and I am so happy I did!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Come see our new home!

The EtsyOrganicTeam is back and open for business. We're accepting applications.

You can find all of the info at

Come join us and help share the organic mission!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Building up!

if you've been following the development of the website, you know that it's going through a growing phase, linking sections, building new sections, and tweaking everything until it's juuuust right. Oh, and fixing typos!

A cursory check of the site might not lead you to all of the nooks and crannies that are now part of So how 'bout we take a short tour? :)

First, we have the Etsy Shop. Here, we currently have a couple of listings from founding members. Each member will be able to have a couple of listings in the Etsy Shop that will redirect to their Etsy shop directly. Another great way to get people into your shop!

Next we have a Meet the Team section. Each category will have their own, customizable page where they can put up a photo gallery, their category requirements, special team promotions, etc. There will also be a team directory where people can look for organic sellers in particular categories and find all of the information they need to know. This section will also have 'spotlights' on team members and team categories. These interviews and write-ups will be featured on the blog, as well.

Our For Members section is dedicated to EOT members' needs. We have a section where members will be able to check out and pay their membership dues -- the money directly being deposited into the team treasury. There are also forums where team members can chat, discuss promotions, work out category issues, and generally be a team.

One of the issues with the past forum set up was members not wanting to visit another website each day. Now, members will be able to subscribe and respond through email. Stickies will keep important information to the top, and the divisions will make pertinent information easier to find. Or so we hope!

There is also a new, organic reference and resource section. This is handy for non-members, as well, so feel free to share your favorite organic link!

Make sure to check around the website and see all of these nifty features yourself!