What does sustainability mean to us?
Sustainability is defined by Oxford English Dictionary as:
the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
"the sustainability of economic growth"
Hmmm, that’s not quite what I mean when I say sustainability.
The definition goes on to include this example:
avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
"the pursuit of global environmental sustainability"
This is much closer to what I mean.
Sustainability in our jewelry-making process
In my art jewelry, sustainability is very present.
All of the silver I use has been recycled.
In Precious Metal Clay (the material used in many of my pieces), the silver shows up in a powdered form and is combined with other organic materials to create the clay. In firing, the organic binders burn off, leaving the silver metal behind in beautiful, created forms. The sterling silver rings and wire I use to connect things were also created from recycled silver.
Silver mining has had severe environmental impact since its first use in the 5th century BC. While mining practices have changed over the years (mercury is no longer used, ‘scrap silver’ is), only 17% of the world’s silver is still mined today, and it is often a by-product of the mining of copper and other precious metals. I save every tiny piece of silver leftover in my making process - tiny snippets of silver wire go into a container for future recycling, I even save the PMC ‘dust’ leftover from sanding greenware for use in my slip pot.
Habitat Restoration: our commitment beyond art jewelry
And a special project, saving butterflies.
Lisa Hilquist Art Jewelry is more than your standard jewelry brand. Our pieces are inspired by and made by nature; so we are devoted to serving the Earth in as many ways as possible. One of these ways is by volunteering in habitat restoration projects.
How do we restore habitats to protect all kinds of species from extinction? What is the impact of climate change on those efforts? I don’t have a lot of answers for that yet, but hope to get more information when I volunteer in March with Greenbelt Land Trust here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. It is my desire to share my growing knowledge with you here on all things related to sustainability. We will be planting Kincaid’s Lupine as part of butterfly habitat restoration at multiple sites in the Valley.
Kincaid’s lupine is a threatened species and is the main host plant for the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi). Populations of both species declined due to habitat loss and competition from invasive plant species.
Butterflies make the world a little more colorful. Their vivid wing coloration and fluttering flight path lend a special touch of beauty to nature. However, butterflies do more than just paint a pretty picture. They help flowers pollinate, eat plenty of weedy plants and provide a food source for other animals. Butterflies are a very important part of ecological balance, which to me, is vitally important in sustainability.
Check back soon for a new blog post including more information on this project. In the meantime, If you would like to learn more about the Greenbelt Land Trust, including all of the restoration, reclamation and land steward projects this group is responsible for, click here.