The new year started, and like so many eager beavers I jumped on the holiday bandwagon, creating a list of resolutions to accomplish for the year. Oh, it’s the typical, be more productive, practice gratitude, sort out some area of life that doesn’t flow smoothly. And while I’m a devout advocate of self-improvement and self-care, this time around it felt less gratifying – and to be honest I’m lacking my normal amount of enthusiasm that bursts around the turn of the season.
While I can’t pinpoint the exact cause of this ennui, there are, perhaps, a few contributing factors. It hasn’t snowed in Helsinki. The last true snowfall was in October. Temperatures in the latter two months were so warm, that it just rained and rained – with sweet mist greeting each cheek as an ominous reminder that the world is changing, my restlessness hardly abated by the bleak landscape that greeted me in January. Trees with stems like veins lined with branches like cold, raking claws swaying in the distance beckoning to anyone who will listen to their calls.
Then there are the fires. A whole region on fire, twice the size of Belgium or six times the size of my home country. So much loss of life, nature, habitat – it weighs on you. In many cultures fire is said to have purifying qualities, that it’s necessary for cleansing and regrowth. Ancient Persians believed fire was the essence of life and existence, while Zoroastrians considered it a symbol of truth. Even the Greeks had burned a sacred flame for goddess Hestia, protector of hearth and home. But in moments such as these, it’s impossible to see what good can stem from witnessing so much pain and destruction, when we are its agent.
I don’t know what the best course of action is. Habits are difficult to change and, in many instances, we focus on the challenges directly affecting us. The only thought that comes to mind is to do the next right thing. Even if it’s a small step, the hope is eventually it will form a bigger picture. I’ve always tried to share interesting things with you. Anything I believe in, anything well-made, anything where you can see and feel the love that went into creating the experience. Whether it’s sturdy wood bowls, labored with love from Brett, or hand-woven totes from artisans in Madagascar.
For this year as it unfolds, I want to take that step further. As I expand Isleande’s brand, I’m also cementing our dedication to responsibility. Responsibility to our environment, our ecology, our peers. Reevaluating what it means to be sustainable, really sustainable and not green-washing or flinging the term around because it’s trendy – but actually seeing what that means, and making well-needed decisions that abide by these principles. It’s one of the main reasons why the first collection was created in linen, the ultimate eco-friendly material; it’s also why I carefully curate the selection of complementary brands – championing small businesses who see things more organically. Who like myself, believe there is space for meticulously and lovingly created pieces of usable pleasures – designed to be enjoyed, and made with thought and accountability.
Ultimately, I hope you find my curation interesting, inspiring and deliberate – sparking (at the very least) some delight in your days.
We welcome you, 2020