This is the first of what will be an occasional series on Climate Creative about artists who are using their talents to make the world a better place.
Rachel Beck is an artist at heart and an industrial designer by trade who is drawn to the beautiful things in life. At shopnewd.com, visitors can purchase a number of her products including planters, vases and tote bags, made of such things as recycled wine corks and abandoned textiles. The business was born in California is based in Broomfield, Colorado.
Her lifelong mission is merging design and sustainability and sharing knowledge.
“I’m constantly learning, but thoroughly enjoy geeking out on innovative eco-materials and processes,” she said. “From former paths in furniture to tech, my goal is to intertwine environmentally friendly practices and products wherever I’m involved. My recent interests have been around biomimicry and ESG and I hope to deepen my education in these areas to expand my circle of sustainability connectivity in other industries.”
She was born in South America and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“You can always find me trekking a hiking trail, splashing in some large ‘puddle’ anywhere, or prepping as close to a zero-waste meal as possible,” she said.
She was kind enough to answer some questions about art and climate change.
When did you begin doing climate art?
I began doing environmental/climate art around seven years ago. My passion for sustainability really started to come through when I was working in corporate design. At that time, there really wasn’t anyone merging design and sustainability in a modern way.
What’s been the response to your climate art?
The response has been positive. There has been a lot of appreciation for my efforts in trying to divert materials from going to the landfill. People love the infographics as well!
Are you concerned about climate change?
I’m absolutely concerned about climate change. And the part that I focus on most is the output and impact we have as humans that is damaging to our home, our planet. People seem to relate to this more and then the idea of climate change is more tangible to them.
What made you go from concern to action?
While working in corporate, the bottom line was always took priority. For me, seeing the ridiculous number of products that were required each season, year after year was wearing on me. It just didn’t align with my values.
What do you think art’s place is in the climate action movement?
All of us have our own way of communicating and understanding the outside world to each other and to ourselves. Art in this sense is a language of many languages that help communicate and portray the urgency of climate action. The more art there is, the more we’re communicating.
What media do you use for your art and how was that changed over time?
I currently use cork (from opened wine bottles) and abandoned textiles (either designer deadstock or unwanted by the community). Over time, I will include more recycled glass, reclaimed wood and hopefully some recycled metals.
Do you consider yourself a climate artist?
For the most part, yes. Even though my products don’t directly advertise climate action, it is the action of choosing a sustainably made product over a conventional one. Which becomes a conversation piece.
Are you involved with any environmental/climate organizations?
In an effort to help our planet to breathe easier, we are a partner of One Tree Planted.
Interested in Rachel’s work? Check out Rachel’s Climate Creator profile.
Stay tuned for more ARTIST FOCUS pieces. Next, we’ll talk with Mira Musank of Fafafoom Studio.