Today’s post is from Brenda Schweder (, who creates the most interesting wearable sculpture. Here’s her “rant.” Please enjoy, and please visit her shop to learn more.

Naturally Sustainable: One Artist’s Very Ambivalent Rant

My husband [a well-dressed*, corporate trousers-and-white-starched-shirt-with-straps-and-a-cool-tie guy when I met him in the 80’s] likes to say he was wearing camouflage “before it was cool.”

I accused him of this bait-and-switch move when he showed up to our first date over thirty years ago … wearing camo pants. Like real ones, purchased at the army surplus store. Accessorized with boat shoes [*yeah, he’s an honest-to-goodness fashionisto, but only at work!].

But I digress!

I, in turn, say my found object jewelry was sustainable long before the trend became mainstream.

It’s true. I’ve always been captivated by the rich visual history that the patina of normal wear-and-tear reveals. Scratched and scuffed surfaces, torn and tattered edges, broken-off bits and bobs—it all makes my heart pitter-patter! And really, the more the elements contained in them are degraded, the further my heart beats out of my chest.

Funny now that the eco-practice is trending, though, that the term actually has an adverse reaction for me. I mean, marketing my own art as such should be a no-brainer, right?

I should jump right on the already moving train.

Shouldn’t I?

After-all, just as Jim saw how plucking-off these low-hanging-fruits-of-advantage was something he could use to make himself an instantly more-credible suitor, why does it feel cringe for me to tout sustainability as a marketing boon to my own art?

Anyone who hasn’t sworn off the inter-webs knows the idea that sustaining the environment has hit the jewelry and fashion scenes [two industry spaces very adjacent to art] BIG TIME, so why does it feel [even] sleazy to me now?

Is it …?:

+ … my mysterious can’t-label-me artist side? I’m so evasive!

+ … that artists are plainly just not natural marketers? A cliché we cling to for dear life IMHO.

+ … that that the movement has now been formalized as a trend? And since this artist is trend adverse—it’s turn-up-her-nose time?

+ … or, that sustainability as it were seems like a political stance? For which this hard-core A-for-Apolitical Artist will run even faster and further away?

+ … OR, does it just seem like a formalized entanglement of boxes to-be-ticked at tedium ad-nauseam? Like if I jump-on [or in], the SustainaPolice will fine me for impersonating anything less than their top levels of hyper-altruism?

I ‘dunno! Perhaps it’s simply a mélange of all the above stewing and bubbling in a complex soup I just never want to serve-up, much less have served-up to me. If sustainability is a charcuterie board, I’ll pick the Cheez Whiz from the fridge.

Am I a cop-out, picky-eater maker to just wanna’ make art?

Because, although I’ll throw the “S” word into an eBlog or Insta-post here and there, I have to admit it’s really NOT a core tenet of my why [Good God!, there’s another marketing buzz word creeping in], the reason I make what I make, how, and when, and why I make it.

How about you? Where do you stand? Can’t we just all get along?

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