So the environment is in need of our help. It’s changing rapidly, and not always for the better.
We waste so much of everything we consume and discard the wrapping and the excess leaving it to be destroyed or dumped in none too environmentally sound ways.
I’m doing my little bit when creating my pet portraits commissions, by using as many recyclable materials as possible and finding places where you can send or take the disposable packaging for repurposing.
I use artist quality materials for my artwork. I don’t use any type of fixative, therefore no chemicals are sprayed into the atmosphere. I use recycled framers tape for attaching mounts and backing to artwork. My pastels and charcoals are dry media and require no liquids, oils or chemicals for mixing, thinning or cleaning. I use a snap off blade to sharpen my pencils thus creating very little dust in the atmosphere.
We have local auction rooms who sell all sorts of odds and ends. I’ve managed to purchase a huge amount of second hand but wonderfully conditioned frames. Some have been for prints, some for original artwork and all have been reused.
I’ve become a very savvy supplies shopper. I wait until the big sales are underway (usually Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all that) and buy in bulk, lessoning the carbon footprint of my deliveries and using less packaging from the supply companies plus it saves me money – what more could I ask for!!!
I use foamcore to keep my artwork rigid during transit. This can be recycled. Every item has a recycling number (foamcore is 6) so all you need to do is contact your local recycling centre and they will tell you where it can be taken to ensure it is recycled rather than disposed of in landfill. Foamcore is more often than not broken down for loose packing materials but can also be re-used for insulation.
I use recycled brown wrapping paper, string and recycled kraft labels for the actual parcels and finally my outer packaging is a brown heavy duty cardboard box, all of which are recyclable.
I have found a lovely print company who supplies their cards in recycled envelopes and film pockets. Fabulous for saving even more single use waste.
I use low voltage led lighting in my studio and a specialist low voltage crafter’s lamp on my easel. You would never know it was low voltage, it gives off so much light, a real godsend for a person with terrible eyesight like me (honestly my contact lenses are milk bottle bottoms!!!)
My studio is a fully insulated log cabin constructed from slow grown scandanavian conifer and double glazed windows. It’s pretty cosy but on those very cold days I’ve also discovered the delights of two small low voltage oil radiators. Oh my, the studio is lovely and toasty even if it’s blowing a hooley outside!
Quite a few visitors make their way to my studio for reference photos to be taken, tuition days and collecting artwork. I knew the studio would need a rest room so after much pondering I decided to go for an eco loo! I also have a special aerator composting bin which uses cocoa shells, a biproduct which would otherwise be thrown away. The shells are simply added as a layer into the composter which will break down everything (not wanting to go into details incase you’re eating your dinner!) within 6 months and is so harmless it could be used as fertiliser on the veg patch however I think we probably won’t do that!
My best energy saver has to be Poppy the little terrier, she makes the best ever foot warmer and takes to lying right underneath my easel in her basket so I’ve started warming my feet on her and she seems very happy to provide this service!
I love the fact that I can now say this, I travel to work on foot!!! (It is only across the lawn) but my truck is only used for trade shows these days. I wasn’t aware when I bought it until it came to taxing it, but it has an eco engine so the tax is half the normal price it should be plus it guzzles a lot less fuel although it still drives like a dream. I could do with updating it but am struggling to find another eco engine which is newer so my trusty steed has remained.
There is still more to do to be greener still (I do look better in blue though!) but I like to think I’m doing my little bit for the environment. On a side note, Derwent products are advertised as Vegan which is wonderful!