For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Kim from London based Primary Life, who makes handcrafted homewares using jesmonite, in a delicious mix of bold colours and muted tones. Jesmonite is a relatively new material, invented in 1984 by Peter Hawkins, it is becoming more popular as a more eco friendly alternative to resin. It is a material I have also been experimenting with, as a possible way to use up my tiny scraps of bouncy castle, but this is very much a work in progress! (All tips gratefully received)
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
Hi I'm Kim, creatrix of Primary Life homeware! I was introduced to the product material, Jesmonite, by a friend in 2020 as a creative outlet during the first lockdown. All my items are hand cast, sanded, and sealed with care by myself at home in London through a process that is low waste.
The products are a mix of muted and bold, quirky and refined pieces that allow me to experiment with colours and textures outside of my day job as an architect. I love working with clients to make custom coloured pieces that are available via Etsy or directly through Instagram.’
Jesmonite, is a lightweight water-based alternative to concrete or resin. It is eco-friendly, free from solvents and VOCs, and also fire resistant. To be as environmentally caring as possible, all Primary Life packaging is recycled or re-used from deliveries, and leftover product mixes are used to make magnets, terrazzo chips, or experimental pieces.
What are you most proud of?
Starting and running a small business during the pandemic and having my products in so many people's homes!
What are your plans for the future?
I'm planning to design more products and come up with ideas that are unique to my shop, such as the soap dishes and centrepiece sets.
Can you recommend any other makers or businesses that work in an ethical or sustainable way?
There are so many that I follow on Instagram: Craft Funk Co, Anie Studio, Circla, The Soapy Co, Ethically Baked... to name a few. And my current stockists: Flamingo Soap Co, The Happy Goose Co, and Tub Treats.
What is the most challenging thing about the work that you do?
Balancing the making, photographing, marketing, and admin etc of running a small business on top of a full time job!
Take me on an imaginary tour of your workspace.
I wish I had a dedicated workspace! Luckily there is a spare room that I work out of for my day job, and this small business is run from that desk too (forces me to keep everything tidy and packed away!).
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop or live more ethically?
Do what you can when you can, every little step does make a difference and is worth it.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don't stress so much! There are so many worries I had at school or university that just don't matter now and haven't affected y future.
What would be the top thing that you would change about the way we treat the planet if you could?
More kindness towards each other, living beings, and the environment would go such a long way towards a better planet!
Where can we find you on the internet?