Saturday, July 17, 2010

How Green is Your Studio?

I have to admit, our family doesn’t live as green as we could. It is difficult to break our long-time, wasteful habits first developed when we set up house in 1990.

I am painfully aware that we should to be more conscientious about separating out our garbage for recycling. I know there is much more we can do to decrease our effect on the natural world.

As a homeowner, not to mention as just a human being sharing this earth, it is our responsibility to take those additional steps to keep this planet running at its best.

So this got me thinking…

Even though I create most of my artwork with recycled, gently used and/or vintage materials found on my various thrifting and online adventures, am I as an artist, doing what I can to reduce my own personal carbon foortbrint?

I decided to do a bit of online research on the topic and this is what I found:

I found an article in Artists's Magazine that gave some simple tips to create a more eco-friendly studio:

~ use eco-friendly fluorescent lights capable of recreating daylight conditions.
~ paint your walls with a high-gloss white that will reflect both natural and artificial light, decreasing the need for additional spotlighting, thereby reducing additional energy costs.
There are many art supply manufacturers that now offer alternative, eco-friendly art supplies in place of the traditional materials we have been using for years:

Strathmore has introduced a new line of artist recycled papers. The company’s newest paper, designed for use with charcoal, contains tree-friendly fibers, cotton and hemp.

Wyland Ecological Art Studio, courtesy of Martin/F. Weber, now offers a line of ecological acrylic paints, brushes, painting kits, brush cleaner and DVDs by the host of the TV series Wyland’s Art Studio. Wyland is a known conservation artist, famous for his murals of whales and dolphins. Wyland himself has hand-selected these 14 solvents-free acrylic colors to use in his own paintings, which educate us on the plight of the sea creatures in our polluted waters.

But as an artists, it is sometimes difficult to limit ourselves to using only eco-friendly products. An artists needs to create what he/she must at any given moment with the supplies on hand, so where does that leave us? Do we stoip creating as we have always done, with mindless abandon with potentially harmful products?

No, we learn to use what we have always used, but with a new-found knowledge of their potential hazards and use and dispose of them properly.

This article A Look at Toxicity in Visual Arts Materials ©Greg Patch  helps to shed some light on the hazards of art supplies, particularly with the chemicals that go into making paint mediums. But there is some good news. Not ALL paints are not as toxic as others. There is also the alternative of making your own paint pigments from nature. A daunting task, to be sure, but if it is bothering you that you are exposing yourself and others to a potential hazard everytime you open a paint tube, this may be you answer.

As an artist, it may be worth your while to take the time to research what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint within your own creative studio.

'til next time,

1 comment:

  1. It's good you make the attempts. That's the best of what we can do, change a bit. Some mediums aren't very eco, like old school photography. Yay, for digital.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog by the way, it's nice to sense your sweet warm presence. You wish you could wear shorts to work, and I wish I could wear dresses! xo. -Bella Q


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