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Emily Kircher's Profile

About

Hello! Welcome to my shop!

I'm Emily of EKRA (Emily Kircher Recycling Artist). I've always been a maker, but it wasn't always my full time job like it is now. I used to be a scientist!

Let's start from the beginning...

I was always interested in biology and concerned about the environment. I took as many science classes as possible in high school, went to college and got a degree in biology. In college, I was also president of the environmental club. My concern for the environment and love of science and learning led me to an environmental toxicology (ie. the study of poisons) PhD program. I had dreams of working for the EPA, or the DNR, and figuring out how to save the world. Little did I know when I started graduate school that what I would really be trained for was to work for a pharmaceutical…

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  • Female
  • Born on May 5
  • Joined June 22, 2005

Favorite materials

salvaged fabric, recycled bottles, china and plates

Shop

  • ekra
    Map Picture Frames and Art Customized by You

About

Hello! Welcome to my shop!

I'm Emily of EKRA (Emily Kircher Recycling Artist). I've always been a maker, but it wasn't always my full time job like it is now. I used to be a scientist!

Let's start from the beginning...

I was always interested in biology and concerned about the environment. I took as many science classes as possible in high school, went to college and got a degree in biology. In college, I was also president of the environmental club. My concern for the environment and love of science and learning led me to an environmental toxicology (ie. the study of poisons) PhD program. I had dreams of working for the EPA, or the DNR, and figuring out how to save the world. Little did I know when I started graduate school that what I would really be trained for was to work for a pharmaceutical company. Yikes! That's not what I wanted at all. In fact, working in a lab turned out to be pretty lonely. I was working on a project that so few people in the world new about, I didn't have much to talk about with normal people. It wasn't that this project was top secret, just that there are A LOT of things to study and projects tend to get quite specialized.

Fast forward 4 years (yes, 4 years in graduate school). I had always been a maker, crafty, whatever you want to call it. I had been crocheting rugs as a hobby and giving them away as stress relief while in grad school. As it was getting harder and harder to get up in the morning and go to my lonely lab, my boyfriend (now husband) said to me, "Do you know you don't have to do this?" What!!!???!? I had no idea! I could change my course! It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me and I immediately started actions to leave grad school with a MS and not continue on to complete my PhD. My science friends were shocked! "But Emily, you only have a few more years left until you get your PhD!" Ugh. I couldn't bear a few more days much less years! Everyone wanted to know what I would do. I didn't know, so I told people that I would go and get my teaching certificate and teach science. People believed that was a viable option, but I didn't. I'm not a patient person when it comes to teaching. So, I pretended this was my plan as a finished up the work for my MS, but had a secret plan in my head. I would try to turn my hobby into a business! I loved crocheting rugs and I had also taken a class in mosaics. I called myself a Recycling Artist because I didn't really know what I wanted to focus on except that I would use recycled materials.

Well, that was 2004 and now it is now and I'm a full-time maker. My secret plan was a success! I love making things and I love using recycled materials. I know that I am taking a tiny portion of waste out of the waste stream and turning it into useful items. More than that, I'm educating people with my work! People ask me all the time where I get my materials, and what am I recycling. I tell them that I'm using salvaged fabric that I cut into yarn - collected from thrift stores, yard sales, and textile factories. This lets people know that items still have value after they are finished with them and can be remade into new and useful things. I also tell people that if they are finished using something, to donate it and not just throw it away. Being hands on and in person feels like I'm helping the environment more than I ever could have if I had stayed on for my PhD and taken the track where that would have led me.

Read about my work on my blog: www.etchouse.com/ekra.

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