what’s been cooking? -ecological colours

inks

hey ho! starting the new year with some home-made vegetable ink cooking, as an artist and designer I am currently intrigued with how we can reduce toxic waste when painting and creating. So this first post is about making your own inks from vegetables and spices.

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I started this experiment by boiling red onion and beetroot with some salt and water (the salt acts as a fixing agent) and the first test stripes were not very successful…especially the red onion came out very pale.

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so then I added some turmeric to the water and things got more exciting, as for the beetroot I just left it to simmer for more time in order to create more intensity. Then I simmered the red onion and turmeric until almost all the water had vaporized and I was left with a thick turmeric paste which gives a more mustard coloured tone.

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To finish off I recycled two small pots and filled them with my eco-ink, which is slightly thicker then commercially bought ink, but I suppose that depends on how much water you add and how long you let it simmer for. I have now popped these in the fridge in order to store them for as long as possible, and my partner, who is a chef, said that you just need to smell them to know when they are starting to get off. The only problem is that they are not light resistant, (which I have discovered with my blueberry painting) that means that once applied to paper they will fade over time, so my homework is now to research how to make them light resistant! -without adding chemicals of course!!

 

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On your bikes and get to know the area

umea CITYWEBSHOP

This is my latest creation, which I have dedicated to the town where we live: Umea, and now all eco-prints are available in a local pop-up shop for northern designers, which feels pretty awesome!  This piece is created as an homage to Umea, (which is a university town where people cycle a lot), and the buildings have been covered with letters and numbers to symbolize the academic spirit and learning going on here. Furthermore, the green shadows are there to support this environmentally friendly form of transport and encourage people to be even greener, because believe it or not here they ride it in the winter (despite -20 degrees) by putting winter tires on the bikes which helps you to avoid accidents on icy road conditions. So there is no excuse; -get on your bikes!!!

So what else has been going on? well, I have just stumbled upon a shared studio space! which for me is the best Christmas present!

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Take a look at this! it’s basically an old dairy factory, which now has been converted in to various artist studios, and there one  can apply for a membership with a compound that specializes in the same area as one has their skills, so I am applying for the art & textile compound. Last week I went for a visit and the space is like a massive eye candy!!! yum yum. There you can do screen printing, sculptures, sewing, painting and other creative stuff.  I also spoke with the president and explained a bit what I do and she has now sent me an application form to fill out and then hopefully after Christmas I can started using the space!

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So yes, went home and put my head to some serious research (as I have been abroad for 20 years I haven’t got a clue about anything around here, like where to get materials etc), and who doesn’t know that the textile industry is a very toxic business, so this will be a challenge but I am determined to carry on the ideology of eco-design, and have already found some environmentally friendly screen printing products through Screentec, who has devoted themselves to develop eco-friendly printing products which are water based and free from phthalate and PVC; and I am about to become another customers of theirs. Moreover, apart from ensuring you use good products you can also make an effort when it comes to cleaning by trying to collect residues to the last drop and wipe tools with paper before washing them with water.

In fact I read a profound study conducted by the city of Stockholm and the cultural administration where they highlight that all waste classified as dangerous for humans and the nature should NEVER be placed in the bin or poured down the sink. As dangerous you would include solvents, chemical photo products, paint residues, even packages that are empty but has contained dangerous products should not be disposed this way but collected separately and brought to an environmental station.

s7ss14sOne big NO-NO in the art world are colours with cadmium, like cadmium red or yellow, and a lot of people do not know this but cadmium can’t be filtered away, and its highly toxic for humans, animals and plants. Recently the Swedish national water company examined the level of cadmium in water around the country and in areas close to art schools they found  a massive increase of cadmium in the water; something I find very scary because it’s mainly due to the fact that people do not know this. So on your bikes and find the nearest environmental station! we need to know where they are…while we wait for the system to become more convenient for eco-living.

-have a good Christmas!!!

Christmas

 

presents & paint

As summer holidays are coming up, I quickly needed to create some ecological presents for the staff at the nursery our girls attend (they are lovely and definitely deserve to be remembered), and as I have the fortune to have a chef as partner, he quickly threw together some ‘garanpinadas’ which basically are roasted nuts covered in crystallized sugar. Yes I know, sugar isn’t good for you but believe me, -they are yummy! so my job was obviously to come up with some form of  packaging for these delicious treats, so after raiding the cupboards I found 6 equal glass jars to re-use which we then covered with paper lace lids and hemp string. In order to make the cards I re-used colour sample strips from the DIY store (as we recently bought some paint for our coffee tables) and cut out some hearts in different colours. -japp, done and dusted!! so here you have an eclectic mix of presents, painted furniture and ideas.

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These are the 2 colours we choose for the coffee tables, which you can see in the above pictures (the brown version is the ‘before look’) and remaining sample cards became gift tags for the nursery staff, -now lets hope they will like them!

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and I thought I show you a little peek of my home studio (it is actually quite convenient to have a studio at home as then I can work when the girls are asleep)

so this is where most of the creations are currently born:)arrow

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here you have a thing I am currently working on, which basically is a collage reflecting my geographic position at this time of life, of course with recycled materials such as paint strips, news papers, old drawings and dyed paper lace.

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