My message to Ikea

Just recently Ikea send out their new catalog starting out with a letter saying that consumers are just like humans and that we as humans do not want to be seen as consumers. Because we are … human. We smile, we eat pasta and do human stuff. That is why “Ikea makes stuff for humans. Not consumers.” They tell us that they hope we will come buy something at their store after having browsed trough the catalog. At the same time they hope we do not get the feeling they are trying to sell us something we do not need….

This is my letter to Ikea.

Dear Ikea,

I am wondering if the humans you are referring to in your letter also include the humans that work for your large company ? (That large company you do not claim to be in your letter.)  Do they include the children that grow up to be those consuming humans in a few years?  Do they include the humans living in the countries that suffer from our Western way of consuming?

Because, if only your company would be that good of intention, if your heart would really go out to HUMANS instead of consumers then why are you still mass-producing? And why is it then that you still need to make a catalog every year and make adds for your company, making people feel that they need stuff.. Because in the end that is what an add is for right? Getting those humans to buy stuff at your store. Conscious stuff as you say, carefully made and thought of  whilst designing but still stuff…

O, and yes, of course we all want  things to be affordable for everyone! But you know what?  If we all -in Western society- would buy less, and buy just what we need, we would not need a new catalog every year, because we would buy that one thing we need for life and be satisfied with what we had. We could share, own less and be dept free. We could take care of our close ones instead of working so hard to pay for all those things we choose carefully from your beautiful catalog but really did not need. Stuff we end up getting tired of. And just discard. Stuff we bought to just make us feel more comfortable, stuff to fill up those emotional gaps. When instead we could have just been sad and uncomfortable. Because real people can not smile all the time, heck I even think we should not concentrate on that smiling all the time. We can not always  be happy! And that is completely OK. Let us feel unhappy sometimes. Even without a reason. Take a walk outside,meditate,  accept the fact you’re unhappy. Take a nap, it is just a feeling. Just like happiness is just a feeling.  Not something you can buy.

So, dear Ikea, as a human and conscious consumer I think your letter to us is misleading. And what I hope for  is that you could re-consider the things you say and get them more in line with how you manage your business. Or better yet, put your money where your mouth is and re-consider the way you are producing, how you are leading your business. Start making real sustainable furniture that would last us a life time (or longer) in a sustainable factory where everybody could apply and making a provide would not be your main goal but a side effect. Start explaining that consumption is ok but over over consumption is not. That we do not need a new couch or pillow, throw or lamp…..  Because we could all do with a little less… Do  you catch my drift Ikea or am I not the human consumer you where referring to?

Thank you for reading

Sophia

 

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social media and minimalism (staying true to your self)

As most of us I like to matter, I want my portion of acknowledgement and some patting on the shoulder everyday . It is only human and nothing to be ashamed of. My virtual life is based on Instagram and a little on Facebook as well. I am not afraid to share and  I am aware of the fact that when one shares  one can get feedback either positive or negative. All is good.

But is it really?  What if we share and little by little we notice that the sharing is conditioned? That even when we think we are sharing that true and authentic self, we only share what we are sure of will be liked? We (over) style it a little, shape, crop, and heck, even make  a little more dramatic then it really is because that just makes the picture.  And even that I think is normal, we all know media is censured in one way or another. Or does social media have to come with a warranty that claims you might be exposed to fake and surreal picture perfect lives? Because maybe, just maybe we like the escape out of our manic and busy lives and put up these little perfect squares to let ourselves belief all is good. All is perfect. It must be. Right?  But what if it isn’t?

In  November 2015  I took a  break from my Instagram account because I could just not fake it anymore. I felt overwhelmed by the increase of followers and sometimes even the lack of that. Also, I felt pressured of the expectations of that new post;  Will there be enough likes, will I loose followers? Will it get me a hundred new followers?  It was never enough and never good enough. Instagram was taking control over my life.

The account was based on my doll making with a twist of life style. After all, as my husband told me, they do not just want to buy a doll, they want to buy a piece of you. A piece of your life. I used my daughter and all the activities we did together to get that lifestyle image picture perfect. Leaving no space for spontaneity. I did not just wanted to do stuff with her, I wanted to do those things AND get that picture perfect. It was at the time I lost my baby I realized  I needed space in order to feel what was really happening inside of me. I needed to put away that phone and live. And that is what I did. Pretty radical.  I deleted the account.

At first I was scared but it also felt liberating and refreshing not having to keep up with something I profoundly did not want to keep up with. I started seeing things from a different perspective again and we had activities without the interference of a camera and it was lovely. I came back to myself and became stronger (of course this had not only to do with the telephone but with many changes at that moment) and with the bloom of spring I felt it was time for me to get socially active again. Because I do love to make pictures, I love to collect and organize. I am a visual artist after all. So here I am Instagramming away again. Snapping pictures and arranging picture perfects once again. The only one big difference is that  I now know that Instagram is NOT me. It is not my life, I am not Instagram.  It is just something that I do and yes maybe still a little too much but hey, one step at a time.

For me minimalism isn’t (only) in how much you possess or not, it more has to do with being really conscious about how your possessions and your actions make you feel, how they serve you. So I try to ask myself every time I post something: “does this make me happy?  Is this what I want to post?”.  “Does this serve me or does it make me feel unhappy?” And although I  do not always have the answer, I am being mindful about it. Every step of my (virtual) way.

Thank you for reading,

Sophia

You can find me on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/studioescargot/?hl=en

And on facebook

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007014377982

Also please take a look at this interview with Cameron Diaz

 

 

On minimal packing (and emotional bagage)

We went on a little trip this week. Prior to the trip I have been reading a lot on minimalism and a minimalist lifestyle online. I have always found myself to be a minimalist in a way. Not because I have little stuff but because I know I can get rid of everything I own easily. Anyhow, I came across an  interview with minimalist  Courtney Carver and one of the things she said on traveling is to pack for half the time your going. As I was about to pack our bags I realized that, even though I pack minimal, I always take items with me I do not wear or use. And so I thought to give the minimal packing (for half of the time) a go. This is what I took with me:

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-2 dresses

-2 leggings

-3 tops

-a cardigan

-underwear for four days

-1 jacket

-washingcloth (2) towel (1)

-1 pair of sandals

-toothbrush, brush, shampoo bar, soap bar, toothpaste and skin cream.

 

As I packed I assumed it would be nice summery weather… and when we arrived it was windy, but still sunny. On day two it started to rain though and it kept on raining until we left after 4 days. At first I felt so uncomfortable not having any socks or boots or even a raincoat to keep me protected from that darn rain. I wanted to go out to wander about the neighborhood but all the “what if’s” started to tumble trough my head. “I need to get me a pair of boots and some socks.” i said to my husband. I had already taken a pair of his socks and was walking around with socks in my sandals everywhere. As the words had left my mouth I questioned myself “do I really NEED the boots? What if we just wait and see what happens.” Worst thing that can happen is that I get wet feet when I go out but I can dry them and dry the socks on the heat. So I accepted the fact that I had do cope with the things I had taken with me not because there was no money to get me a new pair of boots but just because it is not always necessary to act on your discomfort. It is ok to be dis comfortable, nothing really happens to you, you just feel awkward for a moment but that will pass too. It felt good not to have bought another item to carry around with me even though it would have been an article of -almost- every day use where I live (the boots). Besides of that I already have a pair at home and did not need another pair.

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I had also decided to take just one book and some crochet gear with me. The crochet gear was for my stone crochet project. The book was one of many books I have inherited from my mother. I have kept them all for a long time and started on many of them many, many times but never got past chapter one or two I never got rid of them before because I always thought “one day when i am old, I will read them”. As I stood in front of the bookshelves I thought: “But if I do not want to read them know, why would I want to read them when I am old?  Also IF I would want to read them when I am old I could get them at the library.” So I decided to take one of the books and if I would not read it or read it but not be interested enough after a view pages I would leave the book behind for another to enjoy. And so I did. I left the book behind because after realizing i had read that first page for the seventh time in my life it was enough. For far too long I have been holding on to my mothers stuff just because I was afraid that maybe one day I would miss them, I would really really miss her. Which I did and do but, stuff does not make her come back. Stuff does not make her stay closer to me. She is with me. Always. In my heart, in my voice, in the things I do, in the things I don’t.

Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there. – Rumi

Thank you for reading,

Sophia

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My stone crochet project

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