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The Ecopsychology of Handwork

© K. Indigo Rønlov, Naropa University, Spring 2014




This paper examines the ecopsychological significance of handwork, especially when created from reclaimed, repurposed, and recycled materials. The literature review focuses on consumerism, plastic, Egypt, and handwork. With the excess of consumer and manufacturing waste in the environment and the diminishing occupation of handcrafts, a service organization called the Zahra Foundation was created to mitigate and find solutions for this challenge. On the ground experience in Egypt provided an opportunity to teach women and youth to work with their hands using reclaimed and recycled materials found freely in the environment. The ecopsychological implications of this endeavor are explored throughout the paper.


Keywords: artisan, consumption, craft, crafter, craftsman, craftsperson, creativity, Ecopsychology, Egypt, environment, handcraft, handwork, handicraft, plarn, plastic, recycled crafts, reclaimed, reused


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“ We must always remember that crafts have developed in response to lifestyle needs. They must continue to evolve as the environment demands. It is one thing for crafts traditions to become irrelevant; it is quite another thing for them to vanish because of neglect or lack of stimulus.” On the wall of a Fair Trade store in Cairo.

©2018 Sacred Witness /  K. Indigo Rønlov, MA