January is nearly over, thank goodness. Usually it is a period of time that involves begrudgingly getting back into the swing of things, sales shopping, and leaping over large puddles. However, sometimes during this time of year when we have so much on our plate already, after sharing so much food, gifts and love over Christmas, it is easy to forget about others. At Illustrate, we are aware of this, and are becoming more community conscious as well as environmentally conscious than ever. We know how difficult this time of year can be for people to feel positive and mentally healthy, so we have decided to help out a little, and give back to the community in Cardiff.
As an Artist Collective that promotes local to international artwork, we thought it would be great if we could encourage the creativity on our doorstep, too, so we have donated our Recycled Art Sketchbooks to the charity ‘Grassroots’ to be used in their drawing classes. Grassroots is an established Cardiff based support and advice centre which has been around for over 25 years. It is an overwhelmingly popular charity, as they currently receive 40-50 people from the city, daily, through their doors. Understanding the importance of a safe, friendly environment, they uphold a space where people can come to explore their identities, receive emotional support, and have a creative outlet. The sketchbooks that we have donated will be used for their drawing classes, in the hope that they will engage the people who go to Grassroots in worthwhile activity and make them a more resilient member of society.
We are lucky at Illustrate that we are always surrounded by amazing pieces of art. However, we have noticed that having a creative outlet is an often overlooked method of increasing positive mental health elsewhere in society. It is important that we should look after ourselves, as when we are being creative, we are allowing the more logical, methodical, and calculative sides of our brains to have a rest, and recover from the stresses of our daily lives. Although, this could take the form of something we are not aware of is creative. Sometimes, we might take it for granted if we have the means to have a quick doodle here and there, if we are musical, or perhaps even get creative with cooking at home. It is essential that the people who come into Grassroots have these means of exploring their creative sides to overcome any issues that they have, and more importantly, take a break from life.
Moreover, creativity allows us to come to terms with our identities or emotions which we may not understand that we have inside of us. These are problems which large amounts of the people who come into Grassroots want to deal with. On their own website, they say that they ‘know from experience and continuing legacy of the project, that in a safe and understanding creative environment young people can heal, build self-esteem and elevate themselves to better circumstances.’
At Illustrate, it has always been our initiative to not only promote the essentiality of creativity and artists work, but also promote an environmentally aware, nature conscious and sustainable ethos. The sketchbooks we donated to Grassroots are 100% recycled, as we love to encourage creativity in a way which leaves the smallest impact on our planet. No new trees need to be cut down to make our sketchbooks, and the paper is non-bleached, and so, after they are used, can either be kept as great pieces of art that have had no damage to the environment, or can be turned into something else that looks great from their being recycled. The sketchbooks can be found here on our online shop, and come in sizes A5 and A4.
The rest of our products in store and online are also sustainably made. Our tote bags, notebooks and cards are all made from environmentally sustainable materials and methods of manufacturing. Our apparel is also earth positive, literally, as our clothing is supplied through Continental, who became the first company in the world to calculate the carbon footprint of their clothing, to become ‘climate neutral’.
Through helping the smaller communities on our doorsteps with creativity, as well as the larger communities and environments with sustainability, we are closer to achieving our goal of changing the consumable items we use, and fashion’s impact on the environment, to become a stronger, sustainable world that is no longer fragile.