As we are here to explore environmentally friendly art and design, having a studio space (yes!!!) makes it a lot easier to realize ideas. What is currently on the drawing table?!? I started by making a color mood-board, because it is very helpful to gather your inspirations visually and it will also act as a reference when you come to mix up colors. There is no right or wrong, and I suppose that this is just an old way of working for me since I became a designer.So I simply gather primary and secondary sources of color and quickly present them on one sheet of paper and keep that to refer back too. The mood-board will also help you to see what works well together and what doesn’t, and there its your own criteria that counts.
After creating the mood-board I started sketching on some ideas and shapes, and at the moment I am thinking of old places where I have lived and how they made me feel, which I want to transform in to patterns and textile designs. Bare in mind that all of this is work-in-progress.
Now I need to transfer these ideas in to screens and for that you need quite a lot of materials; and because textile printing can be a very toxic business it has taken me a long time to source eco printing products, but in the end I found a great company who funny enough originate from the north of Sweden, where I am now living. They are called Screentec AB, and you can find them in Stockholm and Haparanda or on-line at http://www.screentec.se (for english press this link:) http://www.screentec.se/subdet518.htm
So last Friday I got my first delivery and I quickly rushed to the studio, eager to try them out. Knowing that ink from Screentec are free from phthalate and PVC felt great but I also wanted to see how they printed. The product I bought is called ‘ecoline’ and is supposed to be the best on the market from an environmental point of view. So I mixed up some green and white (am a bit obsessed with green at the moment) and instead of making my screens with patterns I thought I just experiment a bit by printing over a piece of string.
Yes very nice printing ink, but the print did not turn out so well; in fact it’s what I would classify as an unsuccessful print (because the string was too thin), but you know I love mistakes because that is when we learn the most; and what did I learn this time? Don’t rush your work and waste material just because you get eager, prepare yourself and do it properly, especially if you want to save resources.Argh!! shame on me but experimenting is also fun and part of developing ideas and the whole creative process but maybe that is why we humans are such a danger for the environment…hmmm, will aim to be more thoughtful (despite being a human). Back soon with some more prints, but then I will not rush it!
Not far to go, am almost ready to open up EcoDesignUmea’s own webshop! -feels exciting and scary at the same time…
So how did this happen?!? … ok here is my story: Last year; – well in fact on the 8th of December it will be exactly 365 days since I had a bad accident and broke my sacrum bone completely (lower part of the spine)
Yup, believe it or not but I slipped so badly on the northern ice that I fell backwards and broke my back, well to be honest I could not believe it and its taken me some time to grasp. At first the doctors were not very positive and said they could not operate because it was to risky, that I was over-optimistic and they explained that the injury needed to self-heal, (which I am now in the process of) and apparently that will take a few years.
However, after 6 months of being nicely drugged up I started making little things at home and working on the computer whilst healing my back (by then my whole being were itching to create) and that is when I started this blog. So I have used this time to set up an on-line life related to my passion of ecological art & design (am a great believer of creativity and sustainable existence), which feels weird and interesting at the same time… lets see how it will go. My back is still in bad shape and am still taking the same amount of painkillers but every 2-3 months I can notice a slight improvement, like being able to stand longer and walk a bit further.
Anyhow, I don’t want this to sound like a sob-story! – and at first I did not want to share anything personal here but as time is passing EcoDesignUmea is becoming a part of my life and giving me a lot of joy and satisfaction, in fact I am a very positive person (most of the time) who just wish to create and change a few things in this world, so that is what I am going for.
Now I have just received my first bit of eco-stock, the above prints are part of that, and then spent the whole day researching environmentally friendly ways to support this concept, learning about branding, marketing and all this other stuff which I feel is a bit of drag and out of my field but it keeps me occupied. So lets see but hopefully I will find a way which stays in line with the whole eco idea, from materials (re-) used in initial stages to the final product & packaging, -so if you have any tips please share them!
Good night and thanks for sticking around!! x
P.S. all above designs are created with recycled materials
Today I am very proud of myself for phoning up different commercial companies who send me their directories and paper adverts and cancel all this junk mail. Even thou we have a note on our door saying “no advertising” we still receive everything which carries our name and address, so thanks to Bea Johnson’s book ‘Zero Waste Home’ where she cleverly explains that the best way to reduce waste is by stopping it from entering your home I had the idea of stopping this junk mail from entering our home by contacting the ones who send it. Believe it or not, everyone I spoke with was very friendly and happy to help with this idea of decreasing waste and paper consumption. Also there are a lot of companies who now-a-days send you advertising digitally and even thou that can be annoying too at least it does not physically use resources.
That leads me on to my second topic; digital work. I have spent the last week or so creating art work on the computer, well its not all done on the computer, I have used paintings and drawings which I had laying around and collaged them together in to new pieces.I am now going to reproduce them in a certified environmentally friendly printing company, and compare the material used that way versus using paint and glue. The question to be explored: is digital reproduction better for the environment then physically using art material and making things new 1st hand?well I think so but am not sure yet, but I have just spoken to the printers and we have decided to do a test run first and then work out the impact, so I can compare the use of ink versus the use of paint per piece…These are the pieces to be tested, what do you think?
pssst! I will now let you have a peek at a little present we have made for my niece, however she mustn’t know about it yet as her birthday is coming up on Friday…but the past week our focus has been on the kids, we have made autumn picnics in the woods with fire and hot chocolate, been to the adventure playground with friends and allowed the girls to attack the kitchen by making desserts (fantastic fun and hours of cleaning) but they enjoyed it sooooo much, -especially the eating part! so to start off this post have a look at the eco-cheesecakes and my kids stuffing their face! -yum!
so back to Freja’s present which is a soft cuddly doll made by broken garments from the whole family; thereby she will get something from all of us, and we avoid throwing away all these meters of fabric (I mean we all know how bad the garment industry is!!!) and I personally have decided to reduce consumption of new products; especially the once from China! -climate criminal No.1, –we simply can’t support them (but its not easy as soooo many things are made there) anyhow, back to Freja’s doll and this upcycle project:
to start off I cut up my old leggings (which had a hole on right knee) and made the body, legs and hair, then my older daughter allowed me to use her leggings which were also broken on both knees to make arms and daddy donated an old T-shirt for hands and feet and our youngest one unknowingly gave up a stained and outgrown body and socks to make a head and hairbands, and all the remaining bits of fabric became stuffing. To finish we made a dress out of an old curtain and Freja now has a little present waiting for her!
The nice thing with this project, apart from being able to re-use old garments; was that the girls could help and push the stuffing in to arms & legs; -know the difficult part is that they want to keep the doll and they have already asked me to make something else for Freja…(well I am working on an elephant at the moment so lets see how we can solve the situation in a diplomatic manner), will let you know the outcome. -Have a good week!
You know, I was just thinking about how to change current consumer behaviour, and that you got to start with the small things in your own life, but if we all did it it would actually be something really big, the change would be collective. Ok this was hardly any rocket science, however it is good to remind oneself that we are all part of the bigger picture. -Yes, I know that people around me probably think ‘oh here she goes again’ when my repeated conversations of what is better for the environment, how to minimise our carbon footprint, or how to recycle and consume in a more conscious way etc etc starts; -but at the end of the day I know that on some level my nagging is making them think and even if they just change one thing it is a step towards the collective improvement, and how we can get better! (got to stay positive otherwise its so daunting…) So we all got to help out in improving the environment, on whatever level we are able to!
So lets keep at it!
now, while my angels were asleep I got some old photos out and suddenly I had this urge to make a collage, so by re-using old images and newspaper/advertising I ended with these little creations, – of course, late at night… it seems like that is my time to work, the only problem is that my 1 1/2 year old always wakes up around 5 in the morning…but what can we do? well, just keep at it and change for the better, no?!?
If you want some more inspiration from someone who has taken this idea of change to a whole different level, check out Bea Johnson at ZeroWasteHome
who has really gone the full hog of changing her lifestyle! quite interesting, but of course, we all have our ways…so which is yours?
With all the bits of fabric, cardboard and unwanted garments we have at home I feel its time to clear out and make something new, -rather then just putting it in the bin (japp, I know, that is the easy option) but hey its so much more rewarding when you have actually made something and it could be a nice gift for yourself or someone around you. In my case and in this instance, this creation is for my little girls, you know they just happen to be the people I love the most, so making things for them comes quite naturally…so here we have some recycled artwork.
So what materials were used for creating this image? well to start with I got a bit of cardboard as backing (the cardboard came in a delivery that I received the other day) and then I cut out the owl’s body from some fabric that was laying around the house and glued that to the cardboard. Then the wing was created with a bit of lace which came from a skirt and the eyes and beak were made out of a paper bill (glad I could use that for something more fun…) and green yarn were added around the eyes as a contour line. To complete the image I painted some stripes and dots with ecological paint and framed it, -so here you go!
The other day my friend posted an article about a guy that does recycled art on a much larger scale which I found very interesting, so click on this link for some humane inspiration and architecture on a whole different level!
Do you care about improving and appreciate creativity in this world? Does environmental issues concern you? Do you like to do things a bit different and have a good time? If you were to organize a party what would be important to you? Do we have to choose; and if so what would you choose? hmmm a lot of questions… what do you want?
Design has a lot to do with thoughts, decisions, creativity, and fun -and if we can combine that with environmental concern I think we have got a winning concept, or what do you think? well maybe sometimes we can’t include them all in one object, but its good to try!