Reclaiming Our Earth with Treepeace

We caught up with Treepeace founder Evan Eskew to learn how upcycled wood art can inspire environmental sustainability and spark awareness at festivals.

GM: Tell us about your company. What does Treepeace stand for?

EE: Treepeace is a small, woodworking company based in Long Island, N.Y. We specialize in reclaimed wood design and custom fabrication. It all started after Hurricane Sandy when I began reclaiming wood from destroyed docks and renovated homes. Using this wood, I built a small wood shop that gave me the freedom to evolve and perfect the process. Treepeace stands for responsibility, balance, and awareness of the natural environment.   

GM: You have a strong focus on sustainability as well as aesthetics. How do those two areas intertwine at festivals that have often been all about the pretty and less about the environment? Do you find it challenging?

EE: One of the first things we noticed was the amount of waste produced at most of these festivals. It's hard to avoid and sometimes more inconvenient and difficult to do the right thing environmentally. It’s a slow process, but things are definitely getting better in regards to proper waste management. It can be challenging if you take it personally, but we actually use it to our advantage and reclaim some good materials.  

GM: Tell us a little more about the process of how you create your pieces.

EE: The coolest process is our wood mala bead production. It begins with a piece of reclaimed wood, such as oak flooring, that is cut into quarter inch slices. Then it’s on to the drill press, where we have a special bit designed for making wood beads. The wood is drilled through one side, then flipped over and drilled a second time to push the bead through. The rough cut beads are then put into a custom-built sanding/tumbling machine. After five stages of different sanding grits, the beads are nice, smooth and ready for assembly on a bracelet or necklace.

GM: We love the Treepeace Tipis at Gratitude Migration! How do you go about bringing those?

EE: Thanks, we love the Tipis too! They are actually super easy to transport.  We designed the support poles to assemble and disassemble similar to camping tent poles. At the first Gratitude Migration, we strapped them to the roof of a Toyota Camry with lots of room to spare. They say the Tipi is the most perfect, mobile living shelter based on its simple design. We try our best to honor and respect the traditions of the Native American culture that this design originated from. Our covers are based on the classic Sioux-style Tipi.   

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GM: How do you think we're capable of shifting the planet's ecosystem based on our own consumption in the United States? 

EE: I believe we are capable of shifting things through proper education. We can't make that shift realistically until people know what’s actually going on and have knowledge of real solutions that everyone can get down with. A good place to start is your diet. There’s lots of information out there about the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, not to mention health. The second step is to vote with our dollars. If we keep supporting corporations that don't care about the future of the planet, then there’s no one to blame but ourselves. Small steps lead to great success. 

GM: How are small artisans like Treepeace shifting that? 

EE: I think art is one of best mediums for your message. Something that grabs people’s attention in an artistic way has the potential to inspire others to take action. It's important to establish strong ideals, which can then be expressed through the art, whatever medium that may be. 

GM: What's your dream to see come to life through the work of festival culture?

EE: I see people connecting and collaborating, and it’s the best part of the scene. It would be great to see people shift more towards healthier styles of living. We all know that partying plays a big role in festival culture, which is great because we all deserve to have fun and enjoy life. But finding balance and applying that to our everyday life is super important. 

GM: What's your favorite festival moment of all time - Gratitude Migration or otherwise?

EE: At last year’s Gratitude Migration, there was a big thunderstorm. They told everyone to leave the beach, but a lot of people stayed under the vending tents. I brought out my djembe and started jamming with a few people, and it turned into an all out dance party. When the rain stopped and the sun came out, it felt like we made that happen. It was an unforgettable experience.

GM: What are you most grateful for, right now?

EE: I'm grateful for God and this experience we call life.

GM: Where do you find your inspiration?

EE: I find lots of inspiration in nature. Watching wild animals, looking at flowers and trees. Ants are unbelievable, it’s super inspiring to watch them work together. They say there’s between 1 and 10 quadrillion ants on the Earth. That’s a million ants for every human being. They have life figured out.  

GM: What should attendees look forward to seeing when they encounter Treepeace at Gratitude Migration?

EE: Lots of dope handmade wooden wearable creations.

GM: What's something we can all do right now to help the earth?

EE: Take a look in the mirror and say “I Love You”, but really mean it.