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Where to buy Eco Art Materials

Despite many dead-end google searches I have been replacing “all too hard” with a list of ethical producers and suppliers and alternative ideas to our fast paced art cupboards. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about starting and transitioning one thing at a time. 

So you have your eco hit list; the one with your regular purchases and habits that your determinedly and slowly switching out for more ethical and environmentally friendly alternatives. Reusable shopping bags-tick  Glass Tupperware- tick, reusable straw- tick, stainless steel razor- tick, art materials- um, cross. It’s no secret that certain things are harder to find ethical alternatives for and art materials, i believe, are right at the top of that list. It’s not that there aren’t ways to make art without the plastics,  environmental toxins and  ocean threatening micro-waste, it’s just that these ways aren’t as convenient or as pretty and sometimes they are even a bit hard to find. Bright colours, fast-drying and affordability have all become trade-marks of the art supplies industry. For the last year as i slowly wade through my back-log of art materials i have wondered, where to next?  Despite many dead-end google searches I have been replacing “all too hard” with a list of ethical producers and suppliers and alternative ideas to our fast paced art cupboards. There is now enough of a list of eco art materials I thought i would share. Each mention of a store or brand should be hyper-linked for you to click for more info- I hope you enjoy!

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The Beauty of Waste: Recycling Art

“And that is the scary bit, bins -especially recycle bins convince us we don’t need to be resourceful…So how can we reuse? Because let’s be realistic those tin cans, spaghetti boxes and milk cartons aren’t going to be going anywhere soon”

This has to be one of my favourite topics. For a long time I could never reconcile my two passions for art and the environment. But once i started working with children, i realised how important it was not to pass down the habit of using toxic and wasteful materials, many of which are plastic based. These days I never look at the recycle bin the same way (and I have to get in first before my puppy!). It is not secret that our consumer habits and waste is getting pretty out of hand. My mumma tells me memories from when she was younger and remembered her parents and grandparents being extremely resourceful. Post-War England had no option but to be. Now? There is a bin for that. And that is the scary bit, bins especially recycle bins convince us we don’t need to be resourceful. The truth is we need to be resourceful now more than ever. Precisely because there is so much waste and so many products on the planet. It is best to be an advocate for reduce and reuse before recycle. So how can we reuse? Because let’s be realistic those tin cans, spaghetti boxes and milk cartons aren’t going to be going anywhere soon. This week on Instagram I posted some fun art and craft ideas straight from your household recycling. (it won’t be my last recycling art inspired stint of posts, so head over and follow me if you’re interested in a dose of inspiration). To recap i posted ideas for toilet roll animals, robots, letterboxes and a time machine- check them out here.

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Mandala: Natural Art Therapy

The Mandala creates a clear visual boundary which can be grounding and soothing for a restless mind.

So I took a break and have come back a little more process orientated, a little more humbled by materials and a little more motivated to match my environmental consciousness with my art business. I have spent this week posting about Mandala’s on my instagram and thought they were worth a little more limelight. Before I get started on the many ways to create Mandala’s minus the plastic fantastic art materials, I thought I would give a brief description of where Mandala’s come from. The traditional mandala originates from Tibetan Buddhism and is a sand ritual that symbolises the interconnections of the universe; it also acts as a reminder of impermanence as the mandala’s are swept up at the end of the ceremony and ritual. Within each intricate design are different lessons, symbols and meanings. The complexity of the design can be outstanding.  There is a strong connection between Mandala’s and healing. Read more on the process of Tibetan Buddhist Mandala in this BBC article. You can also see Tibetan monks on youtube creating Mandala’s. They are pretty special.

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