The Mindful Materialist
Australian Ethical Homewares
As much as I love ethical clothes and sustainable fashion, it’s time I shone some light on the other things we use on a daily basis: homewares. Australia is full of awesome designers making sustainable homewares and handmade gifts. You just have to take a look at the Big Design Market, Finders Keepers Marketplace and Biome to see the myriad options available.
These are some of my favourite homewares makers and designers, perfect for Christmas gifts or giving your home an eco-refresh*.
Angus and Celeste
Based in Melbourne, these botanical vases, hanging planters, plant pots and tableware collections by Angus and Celeste are stunning. I’ve got some pieces in my own home and I’ve given some as gifts. They’ve stood the test of time and look stunning on their own or with flowers in them. As for sustainability, Angus and Celeste offset their carbon by donating to Fifteen Trees— a Victorian carbon offset company.
Each Koa piece is designed by founder Kaitlin in her Mornington Peninsula workshop and handmade in an ethical ceramic stoneware production facility in Bali. The block colour, matte finishes (see below) on each vase/pot/teapot/mug can be coordinated or mixed for your very own Koa collection. All candles are handmade by Kaitlin using non-toxic natural soy wax. In Kaitlin's own words, ‘the products you bring into your life should be more than just an object. I love the way that handmade products start with a story but don’t end there. When you purchase a Koa product they start a whole new story with you’. If that's not mindful materialism then I don't know what is.
Image credit: Mindful Materialist
For my birthday this year I was gifted new bedding from the Adelaide-based Good Studios label. Known for their gorgeous linen and hemp organic clothing, the brand has also developed a handmade linen collection in a beautiful range of colours. They’re not the cheapest in the world, but the hemp fibres are highly sustainable and durable. They require less washing than regular cotton sheets, and the fibres are ideal for both hot and cold weather. Mix or match the colours for a very calm, relaxing bed that will last.
With a background as a health worker and after completing a Masters in International Public Health, co-founder Vinita started Bhumi to make a difference to the cotton farming industry. Bhumi is a certified fairtrade company, they’re 100% family-owned, all products are organic and non-toxic, and are made ethically in fairtrade factories. The products are also super soft and oh so comfy for the perfect night’s sleep.
Image credits: Mindful Materialist
Corner Block Studio
Ever received a card or seen some cool album art and wanted to mount it on your wall? Well say hello to the Brisbane-based Corner Block Studio. They make unique frames which can be adjusted to fit your record, card, book, or any other image you want to display. Each frame is made in Brisbane from recycled Australian hardwood or sustainably sourced Queensland Hoop Pine.
Waverley Mills Recycled
Started in 1874, Waverley Mills know a thing or two about wool. Their range of recycled wool blankets have been around for decades — long before recycling became fashionable — and are the perfect item to take on your road trips and picnics, or to just have on the couch at home. The range includes cushions, scarves, a picnic blanket, and pet blankets for that furry friend of yours. There’s loads of colours and patterns to choose from too. While these blankets aren’t cheap, you will use them countless times and they will last for ages, think of them as an investment and future heirloom.
Image credit: Corner Block Studio
Ohh Happy Home
The name says it all. This homewares brand is here to brighten up your home with their range of washable rugs, cushions, throws, door mats, bath mats and baskets. Their products are family friendly so you can put them in the washing machine for easy cleaning. Oh Happy Home are an official partner of GoodWeave International — an organisation actively working to end illegal child labour in the carpet manufacturing industry through education opportunities.
Dried flowers are definitely a craze at the moment, and rightfully so. Everbloome arrangements can last for up to seven years in your home and you don’t need to do a thing! Just set and forget, no water needed. On the Everbloome site, you can select your own flowers for a DIY arrangement, or you can get one of their own creations. These florals are also perfect for all the folks with hayfever out there because no pollen equals no allergens. They have special arrangements for weddings and Christmas too.
Image credit: Everbloome
*I’d like to note that the most sustainable objects you can have are the ones you already own. It’s far better to hold onto what you have and make those things last than to buy new. It’s also great to shop second hand at places like Salvos and Facebook Marketplace for furniture, kitchen items and décor.