Inside a green mind and lovely mistakes

 

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COLOR MOOD-BOARD

 

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.

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GREENS, DUSTY PINK AND MONOCROMES
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BLACK LINES WITH YELLOWS AND MORE GREEN
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GREENS, BLACK & WHITE AND HINTS OF AQUA

 

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.

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SOUTH EAST LONDON, STRANGE VICTORIAN HOUSES AND WEIRD NEIGHBORS
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MAN-MADE PARKS IN URBAN CITIES
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ABANDONED FACTORIES IN THE SOUTH EAST, GREENWICH
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FRESH MILK IN THE MORNING

 

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

 

 

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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. 

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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!

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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

 

Late night sewing and eco labels

Its been a busy week and the onset of summer here in the north has definitely given me more energy! Apart from crafty creations I have replanted all the plants in the house, -so now they are very happy, and the girls room got a little make over and am just about to complete an eco-outfit for my youngest.

Some time ago I sourced these beautiful vintage woven tea towels which I am now transforming to summer dresses. However as I have two curious creatures in the house it is much safer (and easier) to get the sewing machine out at night…(hence the industrial spotlight).  I used old invoices to make some quick pattern pieces in order to re-use existing materials, and the best invention was the eco labels! For that I made a mixture of very strong coffee and salt which I then applied to cotton bands by using rubber stamps and hey! -I got some garment labels! you know; coffee stains the fibres and salt acts as a fixative and together they make an ecological ink!  So these are the first samples:

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well, I still did not get the iron out and got to complete the neck and hemline however today I tried it on to check the fit and yes it looks like it will work! (will get some photos with my little model once its 100% completed)

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so now I have to make one for big sis too, -equal rights are an important factor in a democratic home! that’s why I made two eco labels straight away, I know what I have in front of me and I better get on with it A.S.A.P.  Anyhow; – here you can see the printing process: to make an ink pad I just cut off a small piece of cleaning cloth and gently soaked it with the coffee & salt mixture, and I would recommend that you test print on a scrap piece of paper before you apply it to the real item.

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So there we are; front and back view with an eco label, and yes; will get on with the second one now, -see you soon!