02 July 2009

Creating Art and being Eco-Friendly

As I have integrated eco-living into my life, I have faced an interesting dilemma in how to be earth-friendly as I create art.

I recently created New Year's cards, something that I have never done before, and I felt inclined to do so because I was trying out a new art technique. Of course, I wanted to share these cards with friends and I opted to do it the old-fashioned way to revive the lost art of letter writing. I sent them out via snail mail.

To compensate for creating carbon footprints by having them copied and sent out, I had them copied on 100% recycled paper. I did not feel satisfied with how I was trying to offset my footprint, but they went out in the mail nevertheless. I hope when recipients were ready to discard their card (I'd be flattered if they wanted to keep them tacked to the fridge), it went into their recycle bin or is shredded and put in the compost bin.

I've questioned myself about how an artist can be "green" without sacrificing quality, or paying lots of money. I deal with that question as I work with oil paint, turpentine, and other art materials laced with ingredients impossible to spell.

Do I switch to art materials created with natural ingredients? What may be the best way to dispose of them or to switch over to natural ingredients without losing quality? Over the next couple of months, I will try to find out more about this and how I can feel content both with what I create, and how I dispose of waste products, and I will post what I find.

If any of you have insight on this - feel free to share!


  1. I haven't done any artworks lately but I have seen co-opers cutting pictures and words from old magazines and gluing them on cardboard pieces to make postcards. That's one thing I can share for now. :)

  2. thanks, that is what i do as well. in that case - i'm wondering about the glue used and if any are less toxic that others. -shira.

  3. nice vlog & discussion.

    i'm no artist, but i break things :) i saw this at a sustainable store in DC and plan to buy it to repair my broken ceramic pot.


  4. I think it is great you are conscious about it and explore ways to improve for the good of all.

    Help! I can only draw a stick person ;)

  5. I should have checked before hitting post! Here's a link or two:

    www.arttools.com -- go to the bottom on the right, you'll see environmentally friendly art supplies link.


    Hope these links will give you a good head start.

  6. raychelle and katherine, thanks so much for the links! i will definitely make my next purchases from the guidance of these sites. -shira.

  7. I'm a crafter/artist as well, and what I do is I hit up thrift stores for my supplies. some thrift stores have a fabulous craft section, some don't. look around. I figure, better off using someone else's discards when possible rather than continuing the cycle of consumerism. It also triggers creativity!

  8. cool idea! i just made a gift using nice-looking new picture frames found at a thrift store. -shira.

  9. Never thought of this, Carrie lou. Your approach is even better!