Featured Ethikl Designer

Meet Nick Feint from Stone Arrow

Nick Feint makes a variety of Jewellery from Silver, Copper, Paua, Jade and lately from glass from recycled bottles. His range of eco glass earrings are rapidly becoming his best selling designs.

 

Stone Arrow Upcycled Glass Earings

I have very strong beliefs in being Socially and Environmentally sustainable. I live on an Intentional Community in New Zealand surrounded by nature and an Environmental ethos is part of my personal as well as my business life. My defining moment came when I realized the more the business grows the more chance it has to contribute back to society. StoneArrow donates a portion of its profits to charity and takes more and more of its materials directly from the waste stream.

recycled bottle

My commitment to the Environment is growing stronger and stronger year by year. Launching the Eco Earring range 2 years ago and the success of that means I can develop my ideas using recycled materials more and more and let go of more traditional designs using a lot of unsustainable silver. It is such a buzz for me combining my social and environmental beliefs with my business and art, one of those fantastic win-win situations

I am totally inspired with pushing the boundaries of what is possible using the medium of reused bottle glass. I believe we are more inventive than anyone else in the world in this medium and I love experimenting and working out new ways of doing things. Living in nature in such a beautiful place helps of course and the basis of most of my inspiration comes from my surroundings. You can never have too many spirals is my motto but I also enjoy Flowers, Trees and Animals.

I was born in Melbourne and all my family is from Australia but I moved to New Zealand when I was 5. I can even claim a genuine convict in my ancestry, which I understand, is pretty trendy at the moment!

Nick Fient

At the moment I enjoy making various flowers out of glass bottles.  It is quite a process as it involves cutting out a disc, shaping the petals, slumping the shape in a kiln then adding Sterling Silver Petals.

When I am not working, play fighting with my boys takes up most of my time! I am also involved in a charity that runs Rites of Passage events with teenage boys called Tracks and I am a singer/songwriter.

My advice to young designers is always be on the lookout for new and more efficient ways to do things, if you need to spend money on a tool to make things easier then spend it!

My friends would describe me as: handsome, generous, perfect and never grumpy.

Visit Stone Arrow Jewellery

~GIVEAWAY~

Stone Arrow are giving you the chance to win a one of their gorgeous pairs of earings! Just head over to our Facebook page and choose the pair that you would like to be yours from the Stone Arrow Jewellery Ethikl Store

HOW TO ENTER

Head over to the Ethikl Facebook page and tell us which pair you would love to win:
The Bombay, Blossom, Hydrangea, Wave…

While you are there – be sure to hit the ‘SHARE’ button on the for double the chance to win…. GOOD LUCK!

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Greenwashing: Do You Know What You’re Buying?

Have you noticed over the last few years how virtually every large corporation is trying to make consumers believe their products are “Earth friendly”? These days it is cool to have your product labelled as eco-friendly, sustainable or green. The question is when is it bad to re-market your products to highlight its sustainable features?

As depicted in the artwork on Natural News, I recently saw paper plates positioned as “eco-friendly biodegradable tableware.” I remember when we used to just call them “paper plates” and we avoided buying them because we wanted to save the trees. But today, paper plates are positioned as green living products. Fascinating how things shift so quickly, isn’t it?

Is it greenwashing if a company decides to market itself differently to get a leg up on its competition? My point of objection would be if the processes involved in making that paper include chemical pollutants, plastic sealants or energy guzzling manufacturing. Otherwise, I’m not sure if I would fault any company who is at least open to understanding why their product is more earth-friendly over other non-sustainable products.

But let’s face it: Consumers like to buy products that they think are “green” in some way, even if the green-ness of those products is highly exaggerated or even entirely fictitious. Why? Because it removes their guilt for driving big cars, eating meat products and spraying pesticides on their grass. Somehow, buying a little corn ethanol and a few packages of paper plates puts it all back into balance for these people – people who live remarkably unsustainable lifestyles that would require five Earths to support if everyone lived that way.

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Why Shop Ethically?

ethical shoppingWe live in a time of human rights abuse, animal cruelty, genetically modified foods and massive impact of industry upon the environment. These can often seem beyond our control and quite removed from our everyday life as we struggle with mortgages, families and school. However, the fact is, that every time we buy something, our spending dollar supports a company and its activities, whether we are aware of it or not – whether we like it or not!

Ethical consumerism is a massive social movement based around the idea that people should be mindful of the impact their purchases have on the environment and the health and well being of the people involved in making those products.

Being an ethical shopper is empowering, operating on the principle that spending money is like voting. So, if you buy cage eggs, you’re voting for animal cruelty. If you buy certain brands of clothing, you’re voting for sweatshop labour. And if you buy a gas guzzling car, you’re a fan of global warming.

The benefits to society of ethical shopping are potentially far reaching because it encourages innovative products while discouraging others that ignore the social and environmental consequences of their actions. It empowers consumers, giving you a say in how the products you buy are made, and how the company that makes them conducts business.

Money makes the world go round, and deciding how we spend our money might just help save it…

Ethical consumerism is just as much about supporting the good companies and products as it is withdrawing our support from the bad ones. Here are a few types of ethical buying:

Positive Buying - means favouring particular ethical products, such as energy saving lightbulbs.

Negative Purchasing – means voiding products that you disapprove of, such as cage eggs

Boycotts – means targeting a business as a whole and avoiding all the products made by one company.

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There must be more to life than having everything!

I remember when I was young hearing older people bemoan modern life; the music, clothing styles, hair styles, relationships etc etc. I grew up thinking every generation must have trouble understanding and accepting the inevitable changes new generations bring, and determined to be more receptive to new ideas as I aged.

I have changed my mind. I am pretty certain, in my own mind, that modern life is on a downhill slide! It seems every day we hear about a new study that concludes that people are not happy and are under dangerous amounts of stress. How can this be when twenty years ago we were all led to believe that our lives would become stress free with increased leisure time due to the advances in technology? I have had many conversations with people in their eighties and nineties who lived through a World War and a Great Depression and yet still think that life made more sense when they were younger.

I think the prime cause of this malaise is our complete devotion to the economy, money and consumerism as the only worthwhile values in life. We are no longer valued as human beings but as cogs in the economy. Your worth is decided by how well you contribute to this machine both as a worker and a consumer. Being a good parent has no economic value. Somebody who wants to cut back their working hours to enjoy time with their family is looked at as a failure. Elderly people are forced into Old Age Homes as they play no viable role (this of course denies the fact that retired people form the backbone of our volunteer corps). If you are unlucky enough to lose your job you will find out very quickly how fast your  value drops.

Because companies are only after profit and not quality or satisfying their customers we spend our lives buying gadgets that at best are mediocre and at worst don’t perform their intended function at all. We can no longer safely buy food from our supermarkets without worrying about how much poison we are ingesting either through the preservatives or the additives. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements telling us to buy, buy, buy! You cannot even go to a public toilet now without reading an advertisement on the back of the door. Even our schools, a place that was a haven in this manic world are now subject to corporate sponsorship.

consumerism

There have recently been media reports that retailers are worried that people are not spending in the amounts needed to keep our economy healthy and nobody seems to understand why. It makes me wonder if these people have any idea of the cost of living for normal families any more. The price of electricity, petrol, groceries, water and rates have all skyrocketed. The people at the top of the corporate ladder are accumulating more and more wealth, leaving very little for the plebs. How can an economic model based on money spiraling towards the top can survive?

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A Brighter Future

Natural worldWhy is it that in the modern world the only route to personal happiness and prosperity is through economic growth? Economic growth never, by itself, brings greater well being to all, or even most of the world’s people. Surely education, freedom from oppression, community, health and environmental sustainability are the key factors.

We are living in a world where financial markets dominate society and corporate globalization is hell bent on destroying our way of life. Remember when globalisation was pushed as being the only way ahead? I cannot think of one positive result from this. We now buy goods that you realize, may or may not fulfill their purpose when you get them home and these goods often end up adding to the enormous mountain of rubbish already clogging the world. While we are disposing of the latest useless products we have purchased it is worth keeping in mind that they were probably produced by people working extremely long hours in poor conditions for very low wages. We have watched as more and more Australian companies have closed their doors or moved off shore to utilise cheap labour, tax evasion and corrupt governments. We are genuflecting at a new altar, one in which the only rule is to consume at an insatiable rate with no regard for the consequences.

Climate change is no longer a nebulous idea that could impact us sometime in the future but a horrendous reality that we will have to face in our lifetime. And yet corporations everywhere are continually producing more and more ‘stuff’ and recklessly exploiting the few natural resources we have left. The world’s money is continually spiraling to those few at the top so that there is less available for the world’s masses to consume this ever increasing mountain of commodities.

Is a better world possible where governments are no longer accountable to and paid by corporations? Where the rules can be changed to close the wealth divide and stop the harmful impacts of tax evasion? Where environmentally responsible and economically viable solutions are possible? Where the interests and rights of people actually matter?

We hope so!

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