Diamonds in The Rough (Community Member Profile)

Article from the Metro/ Winnipeg Free Press

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Carson Hill likes to take discarded items and turn them into something beautiful. A carver since the mid-’90s, he made his first pendant out of a broken tree-planting shovel for his girlfriend at the time.

"We had gotten together on a tree-planting contract. When I came back from teaching English in Asia in 1998, I felt a strong impulse to be creative and make jewelry, and I retreated for several months in northern Ontario in the small town where I was born. I rented a cabin and bought tools. It was like I was being guided by some mysterious force. No one I knew, or any family, had ever done anything like this," Hill recalled.

When he returned from another stint of teaching English in Asia in 2002, he set up a small art studio and started selling his creations for the first time, at farmers markets. He moved to Edmonton and began creating and selling jewelry again. There, in the summer of 2004, Salvaged Earth Designs was born.

"The creative impulse is something I cannot really explain. I just like finding stuff, natural stuff, and making things out of those materials," said the Wolseley resident.

Salvaged Earth Designs is a small, sustainable, eco-friendly business in Winnipeg. All art, jewelry and wooden kitchen utensils are made from high-quality salvaged and/or recycled materials: wood scraps from musical instruments or furniture makers, discarded hardwood pallets, old broken furniture, arborist tree removals or prunings.

Finishes are non-toxic and biodegradable, and the finish on all wooden utensils is completely food-safe and non-allergenic. Hill’s individually handmade and one-of-a-kind creations are taken on the road to a variety of music festivals, craft sales and shows.

"I have a lot of local customers but also many across the country. I also sell on Etsy so have lots of customers from across the States, and some in Europe, UK and Asia. I get a lot of visitors from the states at folk fests in summer, especially the Winnipeg Folk Festival."

Customers appreciate the unique creations and Hill’s strong ecological statement and appeal.

"I have always felt that all people want to do things right with regard to our physical environment, but they just don’t know how. What I offer and create is very natural and created with nature, the environment and ecology in mind."

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Janine LeGal