I am a visual, textile, and makeup artist. I want to connect my community through my sustainable art practice.
owner & artist at Scarlett Dahlia
Photo: Prairie Pulse Photography
I don't like waste. I think of the processes the Earth used to create the raw materials; I think of the labour people had to do to form the item; I think about what the useful lifespan of the item could be, will be, and was.
As a sustainable designer, sourcing materials can be difficult. I consider how the product came to be - what it is made of and how it was made. Options must be weighed because in our modern world natural isn't always better and synthetic isn't always scary - especially if it is something nearing the end of its life that you can repurpose and divert from a landfill. We all have to educate ourselves and make decisions that align with our own morals. My morals are simple: choose materials that will have as little negative impact on the earth as possible, buy local and support companies who operate and trade fairly and ethically, and then use 100% of that material.
Tangible ways that I achieve a near-zero (but very very close!) waste business:
- Creating a variety of products that enable me to use 100% of raw materials
- Sourcing unwanted/scrap fabric and items from trusted estates (clean/smoke-free households where I have a personal relationship with the owners). The fabric for makeup wipes are the one exception that I purchase new from a family-owned local shop, then pre-wash for hygienic reasons.
- Donation of scraps/materials I don't have a use for to someone who does.
- Re-use of items including packaging & shipping materials where possible; recycling when things have reached their true end of life - including metal recycling for spent rotary blades, broken needles, etc.
- Sustainable packaging/labelling of items for sale (plastic security tags eliminated in summer of 2020 and replaced with compostable cotton weaving scrap yarn)
Amanda Brown, owner of Scarlett Dahlia, has been creating art, clothing and accessories ever since she was old enough to wield a brush and needle. She launched Scarlett Dahlia in 2013 with the vision to incorporate makeup artistry and sustainably created goods into a trusted local brand. This blending of skills is often called upon by the local theatre community where she has done makeup and wardrobe for many productions. She is a member of the Guild of Canadian Weavers, and volunteers her time as Inventory Controller for the Library of Things YXE.