I recently watched a youtube video from Leigh Ellexson (who’s artwork is amazing btw) and I got inspired to go the eco friendly way in my studio.
After having my first son Karim in 2015, I became more aware of the importance of being eco friendly especially in my art. We humans use a ton of plastic and we think disposing of it ‘properly’ will help solve the problem, but the issue is that plastic lives forever. Yes you heard that right! Don’t give me that “biodegradable” bullshit… it still breaks down into miniature pieces which we later on inhale, drink or eat. Ingesting plastic causes cancer and reduces the strength of your immune system ( I think COVID has taught all of us how important a strong immune system is). So if you think you are not part of the problem, think again.
Creating art causes a lot of pollution, from the chemicals in the paint, the plastic packaging and the fact that acrylic paint IS liquid plastic. It feels like there is no way around it.
Well let me tell you something, making a little change is better than making no change at all.
Here is how I am creating a more eco friendly studio:
Watercolor paints – these are less toxic than other paints such as oil and acrylic. I have had my Koi watercolor palette for over 3 years now and I still have a long way to go before finishing it off.
Paint palette – I know the feeling. Going into an art supply store and not buying everything is hard work 😅 but one thing I don’t feel bad about not buying anymore is paint palettes. A simple plate you have at home will do, if you want something fancy try getting a ceramic palette instead.
Brown paper and brown bags – this is the best kind of packaging if you ask me! I use it all year round, even during Christmas. It’s basically a blank canvas. You could add some stickers or stamps on it or keep it very classic with a nice ribbon!
Reusing old packaging – I have a box full of gift bags, all branded from the companies they came from. Sometimes when I have large orders for friends or other people close by, I like to shove everything into one of these bags! A good idea is to add a sticker or hand written note stating that this back is being reused. And who knows maybe you have inspired someone else to go eco friendly too!
Washi tape – the coolest of all the tapes! These tapes are plastic free, biodegradable and come in so many colors and patterns! Instead of using transparent plastic tape, this alternative will enhance your packaging while saving the earth a bit at a time!
Brush holders – who ever thought plastic cups were cool to store your paint brushes? Simple glass jars will do the trick ( nutella jars are my favourite as they remind me of all the goodness I ate). If you want to be a little extra, why not get beautifully crafted vases from local shops around you? I got my concrete ones from studio badge!
Greeseproof paper – this is my latest discovery and I love it so much! Previously, I was buying plastic sleeves to wrap each card individually. This was a quick process and made sure all cards were ready to be delivered immediately. It was easy, fast and gave a nice polished end look. And yet I hated it. I discovered through Leigh Ellexson that glisse paper ( aka the greeseproof paper you use in your kitchen) is a perfect alternative. Now if I have an order of 2 or more cards, I dont wrap each one individually in the clear plstic bags, I wrap them in a bundle with the greese proof paper and it is saving me a lot of plastic waste!
Just by using greese proof paper to wrap my valentines day orders, I was able to NOT USE over 200 plastic sleeves. This means there are 200 pieces less of plastic in dumpsters around Ghana, I don’t know about you but I think thats a good change.
There is still a long way to go to be able to have a plastic free studio space and art practice, but I believe if we all start small and make tiny changes we CAN make the world a better, cleaner and safer space.
And even if you don’t have an art studio, try implementing these changes in your business or your home!
Together, our small changes can make a BIG difference