Natural Dyes Workshop – A creative session using natural dyes. Thursday 19th September 10am-1pm
During this session we will explore the natural colour pigments produced in wild flowers and plants. Starting the session by creating colour notes from local wildflowers we will move on to create a range of beautiful blues from the foliage of the woad plant.
Get your tickets here: https://www.ticketsignite.com/event/1818/environmentally-sustainable-dyes-workshop
This session is a starting point to exploring more environmentally sustainable dyes and pigments for creative practitioners.
Please bring an apron/overall or wear clothes which you don’t mind getting stained permanently!
Gillian Steel is an artist with an eclectic practice which binds together filmmaking, digital imaging, textiles and drawing. Across these she has over the last 10 years been developing an environmentally sustainable practice – both in terms of materials and processes.
Part of this has included small changes like the use of tiny handmade screens to reduce ink and rinse water for screen printing and a dedication, where at all possible, to using discarded materials only. She has also been exploring Caffenol recipes involving vitamin c powder, instant coffee and sodium bicarbonate – for the hand processing of traditional 16mm film – and developing her knowledge and practical uses of natural dye stuffs and processes.
In 2017 she founded ReMode – an organisation comprising shops, maker spaces and a meeting point for textile designers and makers of clothing who all want to disrupt those established design, manufacturing and consumer processes which make the textile industry one of the most toxic on our planet. The backbone of ReMode is it’s education programme to engage local communities in micro-manufacturing workshops, designing and making using zero waste principals and mending or adapting clothing to extend their wearability.
What Can Artists Do to Move Towards More Sustainable Creative Practices?:
There are loads of small changes and choices we can make:
Check your studio ‘energy usage’ set up – for lighting use Halogen bulbs, CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), and LEDs, don’t leave heaters, hot plates and other ‘machinery’ running when not in use – schedule so that a machine can be on for an hour and used continually rather than on continually and only used once an hour.
Check the contents and ingredient lists on the paints, drawing tools and chemicals you use.
Choose materials which come in glass or metal which both have some level of recyclability where as plastic is still currently a problem due to the different types and mixing of types in the disposal system. Plunder charity shops for discarded fabrics and props.
Use less wasteful processes and adapt the ones which you know to be harmful to explore new ones which are much less so.
Make your tools last by choosing quality ones and by taking care of them. Opt for manufacturers who are making environmentally positive choices – it will probably cost you more – so buy/use less.
Research your materials, share your findings and cross refer with other artists who are also trying to figure out more sustainable creative practices.
Allow these choices to change your practice, aesthetics and the direction of your work – its likely to be more of a process of ‘opening up’ than of ‘closing down’ your options.
Thousands of us making small changes and better environmental choices will have more of an impact than a few hundred people with flawless ‘eco-report’ cards.
There would seem to be little point in using art to change the world, to bring beauty, colour and enlightening perspectives into it with one hand, while destroying it with the other.