It feels like there are skeletons (literally) in the closet of every sustainable choice I make!

As I concluded in my last blogpost, I want to make my art practice more sustainable but move away from the self-flagellating ‘pencil on paper’. My first step is to start using dry materials like pastels and oil sticks to eliminate heavy metals and microplastics from acrylic going down the sink when I wash up. However, with oil sticks suggested by Julie Caves (see end of last post) I would still need to prime board or canvas as oil rots raw wood, canvas, cardboard.. I usually use acrylic gesso to create a barrier between the two. Before the invention of acrylic gesso, artists used rabbit skin glue which is problematic because I am mostly vegan. However I must admit here that oil sticks have beeswax in them! It feels like there are skeletons (literally) in the closet of every sustainable choice one makes! I hope I don’t eventually conclude that I shouldn’t make art at all…


SLUDGE! While researching how to reduce the microplastics going down the plughole for my last post, I came across TriArts a paint supplier. They turn the acrlyic sludge into paint you can use as a primer for board or canvas. Terrific! However, they are based in Canada- so unfortunately not for me. Are any other paint suppliers doing this?

SLUDGE is made through a process of flocculation, separation, pressing, filtration, re-dispersion, production and packaging.

100% of water used in the factory for clean-up processes goes into a waste pit and is then pumped into a storage tank. The water is chemically processed every two weeks by flocculating the wash water. The accumulated solids sink to the bottom of the tank (1). The clear water is then siphoned off and re-introduced into the plumbing system and used for cleaning. The remaining semi-solid material is then pumped into a filter press (2) that compresses it at 9000 psi into what is called press cake. These cakes are then broken up and re-disperse into water to form an aqueous dispersion. The aqueous dispersion is re-filtered and is introduced into thick and thin acrylic paint bases. The resulting SLUDGE is then packaged, labeled and is ready for use.

What eco-friendly ways are there to prime board or canvas? Please comment or send me your ideas!