It has been a little while since I posted on this thread, but alas, no time like the present! In my quest to be zero waste, I picked up lots of good tips in Plastic Free July. If you haven’t come across this campaign, check it out. They have social media pages and the website is here.
I love tea, I basically live off the stuff. I have at least two cups a day but it can be up to four….or five if I am at home with family. I watched a clip a few years ago now about how much plastic is actually in tea bags. The main brands all has it in them, which made me think. Am I putting plastic in my compost pot? To combat this, I used up all the black tea bags I had left in my cupboard (few stragglers in there) and have now switched to loose tea. We got a glass loose tea pot from IKEA last year but I barely used it. We ordered Irish Breakfast Tea from the lads over at McCabes Coffee (here is their website) and got some of their Wicklow Organic coffee beans for Joe too.
This is pretty much how my first few months as a print maker started.
I got a beginners lino cut kit for Christmas 2019, before the chaos of Covid and lockdowns. It took me a while before I made my first attempt. I didn’t know what to make, I had never made a print before. I longed for this kit for months prior to Christmas, but when it came to it…..artists block. So I parked it for a little while, and then in February (after I left my job) I gave it a bash.
I found a little cartoon dog on pintrest and thought…ah that be easy..right? NOOOOPE. I drew out the doggo, traced him over and drew him back on the standard grey linocut. This is the first big thing I learned while doing lino, battleship grey lino ain’t my friend. I could never get good sharp lines, found it hard to carve due to stiffness and it would buckle when you cleaned it. So when carving this lad it was hard work. Battleship grey lino is hard, cold and bits like to break off. Some artists love it, and I don’t.
After making the attempt at carving, with the tools that came with the box (I will definitely be making a whole post dedicated to tools ) I went to make the first proof. I used some paper I had lying around, inked up the plate ( again all with the ink and roller supplied in the box) and placed my paper down. I used the “spoon” method of pressing, using the kitchen wooden spoon, and pulled off the paper.
This is where plenty of my issues arrived from, the pressure of the spoon. After pulling off the paper I was not very impressed with my work. Artists are their worst critic, and I was not so keen. The ink was splotchy, it was inconsistent in color tone, there was areas inked up that shouldn’t been and over all, it wasn’t the best. Looking back now I should have been a bit easier on myself, but I knew the art of lino printing was not going to be an easy one to master.
Spending the last week or so I began to look at my household on how I can reduce waste, both coming into my home, and leaving it. The biggest thing I noticed is not that I need to find more compostable packaging, but just to not bring anything in….at all. There have been refill stations popping up, and one here in Kildare. I do think that by refilling any plastic bottles/containers I already have will at least not add to the pile of plastic on our planet.
I recently discovered that my beloved country of Ireland does not recycle any waste. Any items in the recycling bin gets sent to the UK if suitable, otherwise it is incinerated in Dublin or worse…sent to Asia for dumping. Ireland, this is not on. Every day I look at the things I print, trying to use less electricity, being economical with my driving and having as many aspects of my business as eco friendly as possible, for what? The majority of packaging in my shopping trolley on my weekly shop was plastic. So from now on I will endeavor to have any packaging come in, has to be reusable, refillable or be able to go into the compost bin.
Now, this wont be a swift change as they say Rome wasn’t built in a day! It will be a journey and I hope to discover new Irish products, old ways of doing things and hopefully, a smaller bin bag.
Liquid soap and body wash (and many “beauty” bars- Yes you Dove) are detergents in disguise. The bubbles are produced by surfactants – chemical petroleum BY-PRODUCTS. It dries out your skin and disrupts the natural balance of the skin’s protective properties. Handmade soap bars are packed full of nature’s finest ingredients and scented with essential oils!
Your Skin Knows
Small batch handmade soap contains Glycerin (Yeay!) An ingredient that attracts and retains moisture into the skin. Many commercial “soap” is either a detergent (not real soap), or it has glycerin removed to make lotion. Often shop bought products dry your hands to force you to purchase their hand cream or moisturiser.