Category Archives: Jewelry

Green Fashion: Real or Simply Marketing Hype?


The environmental movement has started a major influx of eco-conscious clothing. From organic cotton tees being advertised in commercial retail stores to famous high end designers focusing their new lines on green fashion it’s hard to miss the new eco-trend craze. Whether you’re a fashionista yourself or regular joe it’s obvious green is the new black. Is the green fashion trend legit or is it purely marketing hype? As consumers we are constantly bombarded by marketing pitches that attempt to pinpoint our needs or desires. The more we become aware of our impact on the environment the better choices we make. Businesses know this and use it to keep your attention. Although, it may appear to be simply marketing hype the majority of it is real. Fashion is a large industry and going green will make a significant difference in more than just our wardrobe. There will always be some fraudulent claims and greenwashing in the eco-fashion world like all forms of retail. As long as consumers take a little additional time to research before they invest in a brand advertising to be “green” there are great gains to be made.

Fashion goes beyond designer clothing it is a personal statement about who you are. Individuals on the eco-enlightment path want clothing that represents them. Green fashion meets this need without sacrificing style. The average person can not tell the difference from standard cotton to organic but the manufacturing process does. The practices used to produce our couture outfits and accessory jewelry are seldom environmentally friendly. When purchasing habits change businesses follow. Everyone can make a positive impact on the planet by buying green. Going green in fashion involves considering the environmental costs in every decision and discovering methods to reduce that expense. The ecologically responsible jewelry business greenKarat was one of the first pioneers in finding alternative solutions in the manufacturing process of gold, diamonds, and metals for jewelry. Since their debut several other companies have surfaced using similar eco-conscious practices. Green fashion designers utilize sustainable fabrics, reduce material waste, and lessen their carbon footprint by adding more manual sewing techniques. Soy, hemp, and bamboo silk are a few of the cutting-edge materials environmentally conscious designers use to create stunning pieces. Wearing an outfit that is true to your beliefs as well as your style defines green fashion.

There are countless green clothing stores and designers who provide quality eco wear. Below is a list of seven websites that have stylish environmentally conscious clothes available for purchase.

1.) Eileen Fisher’s organic dresses can be found at http://www.eileenfisher.com

2.) Ana Cohen’s hem attire at http://www.btcelements.com

3.) Sweetgrass’s hand-crocheted and undyed hemp clothing is at http://www.sweetgrassfibers.com

4.) Wildlife Works has graphic T’s made from sustainable fabrics to support their organization that you can purchase at http://www.wildlifeworks.com

5.) Alchemy Goods make bags for men from recycled inner tube material at http://www.alchemygoods.com

6.) Panda Snack creates beautiful bamboo clothing at http://www.pandasnack.com

7.) Sportswear can be purchased at http://www.indigenousdesigns.com

Smart Energy Technology: www.OrganicMechanic.com

Artist Spotlight — Courtney Watson Jewelry Designer, TwIsTeD Jewelry

Courtney Watson, an artist living on the south side of St. Louis, MO, is committed to recycling, repurposing and reusing some of the most unconventional items to create her one of a kind jewelry. She is a lover of all things geek and vintage and displays her passion for an eco-friendly lifestyle through her TwIsTeD Jewelry created from repurposed telephone wire.

Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

I work for a web hosting and computer networking services by day. As soon as I return home from work, I’m huddled around my laptop responding to customer convos and maintaining contact with Etsy groups I participate in such as Team EcoEtsy. I then fill orders placed throughout the day. After dinner is my creativity time. I spend these few precious hours twisting wire and designing my next pieces.

Who or what influences your work and why?

Oooh, that is a toughie! I am influenced more by the color in our world than anything else. I’ll see three cars sitting next to each other in a parking lot and fall in love with the combination of their paint colors. (:

Is it your personal belief that creativity and the ability to create art is innate?

Oh not at all! I think everyone can create, but they are all inspired in different ways. For instance, my fiance’ is not interested in crafts for the most part, but designed our Wedding centerpieces out of old records. If you wish to create, you can. For some it is easier than others.

Explain your art- what exactly is it you do? How do you describe it?

I create jewelry, accessories, etc. out of found/recycled/pre-loved materials. The shop focuses on jewelry made from recycled telephone wire.

Where did your first inspiration come from?

I have no idea!

What are your long term career goals?

I love my day job, and can’t see leaving it. My dream would be to open an eco-friendly crafts shop on Main Street in my hometown.

When did you first become interested in fashion?

Childhood. My mother was so creative when she was the one buying my clothes. She loved to mix patterns and color, and I think I inherited that from her.

When did you first discover your talent and artistic ability?

I don’t think that I did. I finally listened to my mother, who always said that I had a creative heart.

Were you influenced by the Green Movement?

Not at first, but I am now. I started making jewelry and art from recycled telephone wire in elementary school. But, I have now made a decision to use only eco-friendly materials in projects when available.

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

At our home, we think three times before throwing something away: #1 “Can it be used in a project?”, #2 “Can it be recycled?”, #3 “Can it be composted. We hang-dry most of our laundry and drive smaller cars with good gas mileage (VW Beetle and Honda Fit).

Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?

A few on my “love list” would be Jackson Pollack, Basquiat, and Andy Warhol.

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

Survival! Be it animals, plants, or humans, we need to put forth an effort to survive by taking care of our planet.

Where do your ideas come from? Can you tell me about your creative process?

I carry my little digital camera and a few notebooks wherever I go. When I get an idea for a color combination or a piece, I jot it down into one of those notebooks. If I see something that inspires me, I take a photo. All of this gets tacked onto my “inspiration wall” which covers an entire wall in my office.

What is your favorite project or work you’ve completed thus far?

My TwIsTeD ReCycle necklace. This piece took a little over two weeks to complete. It is the first in a line of higher-end pieces for the shop.

What challenges have you had in your work?

Finding the time to work would be the biggest challenge. While working my day job, planning my September wedding, and blogging, it is extremely important to manage my time well.

Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

Without the internet, I would not have a shop! I think it obviously brings art to people who would have never before experienced it.

What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

To follow my heart wherever it takes me. I thrive on feedback from others, but I create for myself.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

I am working on a new line of earrings made of recycled telephone wire and the higher-end line of necklaces for the shop. A few items have already been listed.

What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?

Do what you love and you’ll love doing it!

What “Green” Product would you recommend to our readers?

I LOVE these tote bags made from old t-shirts

What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?

Turn off the lights during the day and open your drapes. While there is sunlight, use it!

How would your friends describe you?

Loud, goofy, and a little crazy!

Courtney Watson
Courtney has an online storefront and blog.

Smart Energy Technology: www.OrganicMechanic.com

Artist Spotlight — Christy Bruna, Jewelry Designer for ECOFlamingo

Christy Bruna is a jewelry designer based in Southern Maine who is committed to living and working towards a green lifestyle through her artistic contributions. According to Christy, everything can be recycled or repurposed into functional and beautiful designs. Her main artistic focus is on jewelry design but, as she shared with us, Christy is dedicated to spreading the eco-friendly word in all aspects of life.

Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

Right now, I am in between jobs. I’d love to be able to do my craft full time, but I only dream some day that will happen, so I am looking for a full time job that will allow me to still be able to have the time and energy to craft my green items. Now, I get up at the crack of dawn and have to look for that job. The economy is difficult, so I have to keep pushing myself because this is my number one priority. I always hop on Etsy.com and browse and always look at both of my Etsy stores, Eco Flamingo and Green Artistry. I will be combining both stores soon, but I just don’t know which name to use or go with a different name. I’m doing some fall shows, so I am preparing for those as they are right around the corner.

Who or what influences your work and why?

My family and friends influence my work. They seem to have pushed me to be more creative with all their support. Also, the friends I have made on the Etsy forums, they are great supporters! Constructive criticism is the best to learn from, improve and perfect.

Is it your personal belief that creativity and the ability to create art is innate?

I believe it was instilled in me from my parents at a very young age to express my creative ability and a lot has to do with heredity. I think that everyone has a crafty spark in them is some way or another.

Explain your art- what exactly is it you do? How do you describe it?

I call my art, recycled media. I think that it is a more specific description than mixed media. I do a lot of different things, but have switched to recycling what I can and make art out of it. My motto is, recycle, refresh, reinvent. I just take what is out there that’s meant for one purpose, recycle it and refresh it by reinventing something new.

Where did your first inspiration come from?

Very first, I think that was when I was very little and I don’t remember, but for what I am currently doing? I remembered my brother making those gum wrapper chains in the 70’s and I thought more into it. I had a bunch of beer and wine labels sitting around that I was going to decoupage a tray with, so I decided to make a bracelet instead and then I kept making more. It was neat to see the colors of the labels in the bracelets and see the design it made either from many different labels or all the same label.

What are your long term career goals?

To be able to turn my talent into a full time job and be happy knowing that I am doing my part in helping the environment. I’m happy knowing that I am helping the environment now, so I am halfway there!

When did you first become interested in jewelry design?

It just came to me when I made the paper bracelets. As with paper, I wanted to try another recycled material and next came vinyl. All the records I receive are scratched in some way, so they are made into my bracelet/cuffs.

How did you make a connection between jewelry design and recycled paper?

It all had to do with those bubble gum wrapper chains that I thought that they’d make great bracelets and then lead to paper beads. I also incorporate recycled paper and put the paper on my vinyl bracelets/cuffs.

What type of paper makes for good jewelry? Where do you acquire it?

Paper that is thick and glossy, where the ink does not rub off on your fingers. I acquire it from family and friends and sometimes E-Bay. Recycled magazines, wrapping paper and overstocked liquor labels are my favorites.

How do people respond to your record album accessories?

They think it’s really cool and I always get a “How’d you do that?’ They are very popular with the younger generation who grew up with CD’s. It’s history on their wrist. I added a little kick for other generations and added nostalgia to my bracelets. The younger generation does not necessarily know the game Gnip Gnop, right? Lots of people think I paint my bracelet/cuffs when in fact, it’s all recycled paper.

When did you first discover your talent and artistic ability?

When my parents showed me things they kept when I was in Kindergarten or prior and showed me, that I don’t remember doing. I was even wowed by what I saw. I always loved doodling any chance I got and was in all kinds of art classes.

Were you influenced by the Green Movement?

Most definitely! I still am and it’s still all very new to me.

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

My new ‘green’ thought process! Now when I need to buy something, I stop and think more than I used to. Is what I need green for the environment? Can I alter something I already have to get what I need? I do a lot more research on the internet. We live in the woods and 15 minutes from the nearest store area. So, is it better to drive to get what we need and waste gas, now that the gas prices are extreme or is it better to purchase over the internet and pay the cost of delivery? We can change our bulbs, shut off lights when not in a room, etc…but the best is to incorporate a ‘green’ mindset.

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

Health and discipline. I don’t have kids, but I’d like my nephews to have it instilled in them to recycle and conserve, knowing the right thing to do. Discipline them by showing ways to make the environment healthier and let them know that they have a part in helping with conserving and preserving our earth for their future. I designed the below logo that will be going on items like t-shirts and hats for this coming 4th of July. I also sell magnets with just the flag portion on it, so contact me via any one of my Etsy stores if you are interested.

Where do your ideas come from? Can you tell me about your creative process?

I am always thinking in some artistic way throughout the day. I think that my family and friends influence my creative thinking the most.

What is your favorite project or work you’ve completed thus far?

I don’t have a favorite, but many favorites because they are very much similar in concept. I like the symbolism that this vinyl bracelet/cuff has.


What challenges have you had in your work?

My mind is always wandering to make something new that I have to discipline myself to stick with what I have going on at the moment and perfect that. For me, it’s very tedious working with paper and takes a lot of patience. On the flip side, I have to work very quickly when working with vinyl. I need the right mindset for what I need to accomplish.

Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

Definitely positive! Internet word of mouth promoting and marketing is the best you can ask for and it’s green. I get inspired from other crafty people as well. I’ll go on Etsy and look at all kinds of stuff and it will definitely put me in the mood to create something.

What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

That people appreciate the purpose of my art and pass it on to family and friends. To know that I put my best effort into each and everything that I create.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

Right now it’s that full time job, that’s priority. Having just one Etsy store.

Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?

Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, James Ensor and my Brother!

What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?

Stick with something you enjoy doing over and over, perfect it and don’t give up! Also, constructive criticism is your best advice!

What “Green” Product would you recommend to our readers?

A bamboo bike… it’s perfecting something that’s already green and taking it to the next level. They are so cool!

What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?

Put on a new ‘green’ thinking cap! Think ‘green’ before you buy or throw away.

How would your friends describe you?

Very artistic/creative, easy-going, a friend for life.

Smart Energy Technology: www.OrganicMechanic.com

Artist Spotlight — Harmony Torres Jewelry Designer and Metalsmith

Harmony Torres lives and works in Bellwood, PA creating gold jewelry with a distinctly fluid feel. Her one of a kind, watercast rings are frequently created from other pieces which were damaged or scrap and by melting down to recast she is saving a literal precious resource from being dug out of the Earth. Harmony has incorporated green into both her lifestyle and work.


Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

My days may not seem exciting to most people…but a normal day would start at 7 am…I go to the office and get to assist in pulling teeth…I love it…then I come home and go straight to my studio where I get to melt metal…

Who or what influences your work and why?

My influences are nature mostly…nature is all around us…and it is so beautiful and many things are unique…I like having that in my pieces

Is it your personal belief that creativity and the ability to create art is innate?

I believe that most artists do have the innate ability to create….I started drawing and painting when I was very young… there are those that can and those that cannot create certain arts…but I think everyone is born with the ability to do something…

Explain your art- what exactly is it you do? How do you describe it?

Well…I suppose I could be called a silversmith…or a metalsmith…I call it melting metal…that is mostly what I do…and what I love…but I also have to design…and have an eye for color…to finish my pieces and keep them fluid in the design…

When did you first become interested in metalsmithing?

I went to college for animation…and I had to take a crafts course to graduate…luckily I took it early…and it was jewelry fabricating…and I changed my major…I fell in love with metal…and just loved all the things one can do with it…

Where did your first inspiration come from?

My first inspiration came from the 1920′s and 30′s…I collect vintage hats…and the first body of work I did in metal was hats…I may put them in my shop someday…there is something so magical about hats made out of copper and silver…that metal can take on so many personas….

Where do your ideas come from? Can you tell me about your creative process?

My creative process is hard for me to explain…I am not really sure where my ideas come from…they are just diddy’s that came from my head…:)

When did you first discover your talent and artistic ability?

Well when I was 5 I started drawing pictures of all my mom’s friends…but as cartoons…and from there I kept drawing….I always loved nature…so started drawing that…and as I went through high school and college…it stemmed into my jewelry making

Were you influenced by the Green Movement?

I have always tried to live my life to help the environment…I started being a vegetarian when I was 14…I was always trying to make people recycle…and use less water and energy…so I wouldn’t say I was influenced…just glad that others are…

What have you done to incorporate an eco-friendly approach to your jewelry pieces?

In some of my pieces I have reused metal and some pearls and other parts in my necklaces…when I worked at a jewelry store…customers would bring their jewelry to have something else made…they would give me the old rings…so I melt those down to make something else…I always ask people to give me their unwanted jewelry…so I can make new things…instead of buying metal and getting packaging that is not needed…I have used pearls from old necklaces that have broken…I also try to be environmentally friendly in the studio…I use solar energy to work my buffer and foredom…

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

I never use plastic bags…I always use my cloth ones…even though some cashiers give me problems…I only drink water…and have a water filter and reuse the same bottle…I have a diva cup…so I have cut my contribution to many pads and tampons being in landfills…I use the solar energy for my computer and some of my jewelry tools…I use bamboo…and try to buy vegetables locally…though this area is hard in that area…I always buy cage free…and soy milk…I reuse my packaging to ship my items…there may be more…but I can’t think of them right now

Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?

There are two jewelry artists that I adore…I guess I am biased because they were my professors…Cappy Counard…and Sue Amendolara…they make amazing pieces…and have some work in the permanent collection in Pittsburgh museums…which I do strive for…

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

All of it…if we do not have our land…we don’t have anything…we cannot exist without our earth…so take care of it

What is your favorite project or work you’ve completed thus far?

My favorite piece is one that I have just sold actually…it was a 14k gold watercast ring…and it had a black pearl in it…

What challenges have you had in your work?

Well…since most of my pieces are one of a kind…when customers want something similar…it is hard to put a timeframe on it…because I can never tell if I will get the same design…so there are pros and cons to the nature of my designs


Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

It is positive I believe….I think it helps get artwork out there in the world…it helps educate people…I wouldn’t have been able to sell as many of my pieces if it weren’t for the internet…


What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

I would love to have at least one piece in the permanent collection of a museum…to show that a young girl…from a small town…and a poor background…is able to become something


What are your long term career goals?

I just would love to work all day on my jewelry…I do not want to be rich and famous…but I would like to be able to make a living off my work…to be able to make at least one custom ring a week…that would be wonderful…


What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

I am actually working on a whole line of sterling silver and pearl water cast rings…I am doing some shows this fall…


What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?

Don’t listen to what anyone says…unless it is positive. If you have a love for what you do…and you know you can be great…then go ahead with it…if you do what you love…you will be happy


What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?

Well for women…the diva cup is amazing…and will save tons from going to landfills…..in general…solar panels are great…and save money


How would your friends describe you?

They would probably say I am different…but in a good way…I don’t care what others say…I am confident and creative….and I am always there for them…


Do you have a website or online presence where people can view your work?

I have a shop on Etsy…. harmonymetals

Smart Energy Technology: www.OrganicMechanic.com

Ecologically Responsible Jewelry

The average consumer is unaware of the environmental damages the jewelry industry has on the environment. An estimated 30 tons of waste rock can be generated in producing one gold ring. Millions of rings and other forms of jewelry consisting of diamonds or gold are distributed throughout the world. America is one of the biggest consumers of gold and diamond jewelry. With today’s growing social and environmental consciousness some companies in the jewelry industry is making an effort in their practices to change. Only eight mainstream jewelry companies in the U.S. have joined the “No Dirty Gold” campaign. The major jewelry company known as Tiffany & Co. receives most of their gold from a cyanide-free mine. Despite the minimal amount of established jewelry companies participating in ecologically responsible practices there are new jewelry companies forming which are completely Eco-friendly.

One of the most prominent of jewelry companies making a difference in the environment is greenKarat.com. This company dedicates itself in the pursuit of ending the destructive gold and diamond mining practices current in today’s market. Most of the industrial methods used to extract jewelry’s metals or gems from the Earth damage the land and endanger ecosystems. Due to the cultural importance of jewelry it is virtually impossible to stop mining practices. Companies such as greenKarat make a huge impact in leading the jewelry industry in the right direction. They provide ecologically and socially responsible jewelry to environmentally conscious consumers. GreenKarat believes they are the beginning to a permanent solution to the environmental damages the jewelry industry is causing. Over 2,400 tons of gold is mined a year. This massive amount of gold being mined yearly is unnecessary. We have enough gold in the form of old and unused jewelry already to fill the demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years. The company greenKarat allows consumers to buy recycled gold. Their goal is to change consumer waste habits to help solve the gold problem diminishing the incentive for mining. The company greenKarat uses eco-labeling to inform consumers about green certification and participates in ecological gold programs.

It is estimated that roughly 20% of the world’s diamond production results from alluvial mining. Diamond mining produces a heavy environmental price. The greenKarat company uses synthetic lab grown diamonds created which are hard to differentiate between natural diamonds. The company greenKarat gives the environmentally conscious a method to have ecologically responsible jewelry. Although, many people may scoff at the idea of a recycled wedding or anniversary ring there is great sentimental value that a recycled ring can possess. A special chain that you wore for years which is now broken, a diamond in an old earring, and an unused class ring which also holds precious memories of your past can be recycled by greenKarat into a beautiful wedding ring for the person you cherish the most. They also have a myKarat program which can be used as a fundraising tool to turn old jewelry into cash for your favorite non-profit organization. Any 501c (3) charity is eligible to participate as a beneficiary. There are no requirements to participate as a donor.

Smart Energy Technology: www.OrganicMechanic.com