It's never too late to shop ethically.
We’ve all been there; that panicky, guilt-fuelled trip to the local Warehouse at 3pm on Christmas Eve, desperately searching for the perfect presents that will make up for the fact you’ve given your holiday shopping zero thought until this moment. Familiar? I thought so. While it’s common, it’s also building into a widespread and problematic culture of consumerism and materialism that becomes especially prevalent and insatiable during the holiday season. I’ll agree, shopping at box stores like Kmart and The Warehouse is convenient, but it is also hugely detrimental on both an environmental and economic scale. You may be getting a bargain, but unfortunately someone else is paying the price for your cheap gifts.
I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t always realistic to shop ethically and locally all the time, but it’s worth considering. For this month’s blog post, I’ve chosen to profile a few local creatives who craft beautiful things that are worth sharing with your loved ones this holiday season.
First up is Jess Allen.
Jess is the creative mind behind Oëpan Collection. After attending an open day at the Waikato Society of Potters, Jess quickly realised that she was a natural. A hula hooper in her spare time, she was a naturally drawn to the circular motion of the wheel and the earthy clay. Jess loves working with natural materials, and creating pottery that is simultaneously functional and elegant. The pottery in her collection is beautifully rustic and timeless, and embraces elements of the land around her. Prior to finding clay as a medium, she was doing leatherwork and other textile crafts. You can find out what she’s working on by checking out her collection on Instagram or Facebook - both @oepancollection. You can also find her work at the markets in Pirongia on the 17th of December, or at the Creator’s Artist Markets.
Lizmari Cunliffe is another prolific Hamilton creative.
Liz's passion for design and fine arts intersects in her creation of elegant and intricate wall hangings, which are all handwoven using a technique called ‘off loom’ weaving. Many of the pieces Liz makes are commissioned, and incorporate colours and styles chosen by her clients.
Liz, who recently rebranded from ‘Lizmari Co’ to ‘In Her Hands’, was inspired by her mother, who she describes as “a woman who could make beautiful things out of nothing”. Now a first-time mother to 10 month old Thea, Liz is embracing an intentional return to simplicity as she juggles motherhood and small business in her year of maternity leave. Reflecting on her mother’s influence, she emphasises the importance of contentment in every stage of life, and the value of prioritizing quality over quantity in all things. You can find out more and get in touch with Liz and her work by checking out her collection on Instagram @inherhands.
Lastly, I wouldn’t be doing the Hamilton creatives justice if I didn’t mention Aaron Clarke.
The incredibly talented musician behind ‘SINAI’, in April last year, Aaron made the brave decision to focus on music full time - writing, producing and recording one song a week for an entire year. His focus was on creating songs that are high quality, and the result was monumental. His soulful harmonies and beautiful acoustic melodies are the perfect soundtrack to any season, and are well-loved by many people.
Aaron partnered with many talented Hamilton creatives - musicians, singers, songwriters, photographers, and videographers. A patron funded project, each song is priced at $1 - a massive bargain when you consider the incredible heart and soul that went into this project.
To listen to Aaron’s music, head over to Soundcloud, where you will find all of his released music. To purchase Aaron’s songs, you can find him on Patreon. You can also find Aaron on Facebook and Instagram.
I would encourage you to check out all three of these creatives, and the many more that I haven’t been able to write about.
Although it may require more forethought, shopping local is a wonderful way to build community, reduce your environmental impact, and encourage local prosperity. Where we shop, eat, and play makes our community a home, and I hope that this holiday season you will consider supporting the businesses and people which build into the vibrant character of our beautiful city.