The Art Of Craft
When we first started The Waste-Free Home we had a clear vision. We wanted to help those who wanted to reduce waste. We saw a huge amount of interest and were hugely encouraged, not only by the fact we were actually making sales, but also by the comments and questions we started to receive. It became clear that this wasn’t niche. People really wanted a better way of consuming. And so began our journey of discovery into more and more sustainable products.
Before long, we realised it wasn’t just that people were turning away from plastic packaging and toxic ingredients. It was that there was a desire for a less frivolous and throw away world. People wanted products that would last, and that could be repaired rather than discarded. Fast fashion is dead. Long live the thrift shop! There was a desire to change not just the products we buy, but the way in which we own them. There is a term for this: Slow Living. And the more we delved into it, the richer and more rewarding it became.
Slow Living is a lifestyle. It’s a philosophy. It’s a choice we can all make. Whether it’s grow your own, make your own, or build your own. Reuse, recycle, or repurpose. Whether it’s arts and crafts and forgotten skills. Or all of the above. The pursuit of Slow Living has evolved our offering and introduced us to an amazing community of New Zealand artisans that we find hugely energising and rewarding.
Let us introduce you to some of the amazingly talented folk we love working with.
Firstly, there’s my dad.
My parents have always been an inspiration to me. Their love of Slow Living has always been present in my life as it was in theirs. We’ve always had vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and Mum has always loved her chickens. We grew up making preserves and bottling them as currency. (Dad tells a beautiful story about his mum putting huge quantities of pears under his bed as a child to ripen before preserving. And as a kid he used to sit under the passionfruit vine eating them one after the other.)
Dad has always been a maker and a fixer and he’s also a dab hand at wood turning. When he sold his landscaping business and retired in 2020, he suddenly had time to play on his wood lathe again. His work is beautiful and utilises reclaimed native wood that would otherwise go to waste. When he started turning out bowls that were the envy of all my friends, I saw a way of working with my dad in a manner that could propel the business forward and give him purpose in his retirement. I helped him set up Pete&Co (run from his shed, draped in passion fruit vines, under their house). He is now a much-loved supplier. As well as a much-loved Dad. Pete&Co makes an ever-expanding range of beautifully turned wooden items, a range that never stays on the shelf very long. It was this beautifully symbiotic relationship with my dad that started my search for other craftspeople who could enjoy a similar mutually beneficial relationship.
Cast iron pans
Designed by a local friend and cast in New Zealand (the only cast iron pans made here), Iron Clad Pans is an amazing company. Their various sized, cast-iron skillets come with an incredible 3 generation guarantee (a document well worth a read over a cup of your favorite tea). Show these pans a little love after every cook and they will serve you well for 100 years. They cook savory and sweet dishes to perfection and are gorgeous enough to go from oven to table.
Wooden drying, knife, and peg racks. Oh, and Christmas trees
This father and daughter duo are making all sorts of beautiful wooden racks. As they are made to order, they can be made to measure. That goes for their beautiful drying racks, magnetic knife racks, and their peg racks, which come in various woods. It’s these guys who make our top selling sustainable Christmas trees too. They are busy little elves come Christmas.
THE SOLO BLACKSMITH
Hand Forged Carbon Steel
Our most recent partner works from his blacksmiths’ workshop in Mt Albert. Using just his bare hands and precise hammer blows, he forges high-end knives from old car springs. Also out of this workshop are a wonderful range of hand pummeled pans and spoons made from carbon steel. His control of this dying art is remarkable, his pans incredible. For browning meat and vegetables, and going from hob to oven (or even campfire), there are no better. For anyone who would like to help revive the art of blacksmithing, he runs great classes too.
Self-Watering Systems for Stroppy House Plants
These clever, hand bent, brass and cotton wick straws use capillary science to draw water from one vessel to another. Not only are they structurally beautiful, they’re practical too. When your house plant is feeling a little thirsty, the water is drawn to the soil. You’ll never have to worry about over or under watering again. That’s the wick stick, but there are other beautiful handmade products for house plants available at plantbuddies.co.
Felicity is a self-taught potter and mum-of-two based in Greytown. She started out simply making pots for houseplants but has grown her passion into a full-time gig with the support and encouragement of friends and fans worldwide. We love her work and her hand-made soap dishes are in high demand.
These products and producers, and those like them, are our future focus. All of these producers share our philosophy. They promote community, celebrate local, encourage a resurgence of arts and crafts, and are inherently low waste. The items created are made by human hands from natural materials and every piece contains its own unique story. They are honest, sustainable, useful and beautiful.