Sustainability never ends. It pervades into multiple areas of Philadelphia life. These five individuals show the innovative ways in which sustainability is growing throughout the city.
Angie Vitale, Artist
Angie Vitale is a Philadelphia artist who incorporates natural materials and earth-inspired techniques into a portion of her artwork.
While studying abroad in Mali in 2011, Vitale learned a Malian mudcloth painting technique that utilizes fermented mud as paint and hibiscus leaves as a fixative to create traditional designs (as seen in the top image). She also has created sculptures made from cypress knee and cottonwood bark.
“Sometimes I draw from within using strong emotions,” said Vitale. “I do think it’s a way to learn about my surroundings, making things look realistic and looking at the materials and properties.”
Tyler Weaver, Healthcare Sustainability Specialist
Tyler Weaver is a healthcare sustainability specialist who educates people and businesses on how to partake in and utilize sustainable practices with an emphasis on waste reduction and composting. Living in Philadelphia since 2005, Weaver believes that a lot can be learned from looking at one’s trash and from this, how to make impactful changes for a more sustainable future.
“When you utilize the Earth’s oldest process, you know it’s going to work,” said Weaver, in regards to composting. “It’s something that everyone can partake in themselves. I try to make it fun and interesting.”
Meredith Greimel, Artist/Founder of Beaucycled
Meredith Greimel, an artist who utilizes upcycled materials with an emphasis on handmade goods, created Beaucycled in 2012 as a way to transition her love of these hobbies into a lifestyle. As a part of her business, she makes hand-knit scarves, succulent arrangements and floral hair accessories, as well as woven purses made from reused bicycle tire tubing.
“There’s nothing like doing a show in Philadelphia because of the energy, customers, enthusiasm and the fact that Philadelphia is an eco-conscious and sustainable city,” said Greimel.
ZsuZsi Apati, Owner/Founder of All Women Painting
In 2009, ZsuZsi Apati founded All Women Painting, a Philadelphia painting company that not only helps add color into clients’ homes, but also uses all eco-friendly materials. Apati is aware of the importance of maintaining a low carbon footprint and mainly bikes or walks to and from clients’ homes after the initial delivery of painting materials.
“It’s my hobby, too,” said Apati. “It completes my personality. That’s why I love it.”
Andrew Dahlgren, Industrial Designer
Andrew Dahlgren is an industrial designer with a focus on creating local industries that would help manufacturing processes become more sustainable. After working in a factory after college, Dahlgren was personally affected by his observations and now works to create a space between mass-produced goods and custom goods, with the latter still remaining highly functional. With a passion for knitting and textiles, some of what Dahlgren has made includes trivets from carpet scraps as well as knit hats, and recognizes the benefits of local industries.
“You can be a little more dynamic and build relationships with people and create a space where designers can be more creative,”said Dahlgren.
– Text and images by Caitlin Cowan and Joanne Caruso.