April 22nd is Earth Day, and every year, I try to adopt more environmentally conscious habits into my life. I’ve cut way back on my use of plastics, only use eco-friendly poop bags for my pup Jackson Pollack, and have adopted a plant-based diet. I began repurposing furniture and turned found objects into wall and garden art. This year I’m making my art business more sustainable. Today I vow I will not buy any new art supplies for an entire year. This will be challenging since I’ve never met an art supply I didn’t want to marry.
I’ve been making and selling art since the early 1980s. I’m housing a small kingdom of supplies and unsold art. I’ve dabbled with paints, glass, clay, encaustics, jewelry making, printmaking, sewing, aromatherapy, cyanotypes, collage, soapstone sculptures, and even copper enameling. I even had two businesses called “Ribbons & Roses” and “Herban Renewal,” where I did dry floral works and made potpourris, soaps, bath products, etc., with herbs. And for the past 20+ years, I’ve been making and selling my paintings and glass art as a side hustle.
I can’t tell you how many times I went to look for a specific paint color or medium only to find three or four tubes of that color staring me in the face. If I take a class, I run to the nearest art supply store and stock up without checking to see what I already own. It’s crazy, I know – but I can’t help myself! Some people collect shoes – I collect art supplies.
I live and run a property management and art business out of my small 849 square feet home. There are only 2 bedrooms, and one of those bedrooms is my office, where I also store a bunch of art supplies. Several years ago, I kept a kiln in my office for fusing glass. In my haste to get ready for an upcoming show, I placed a Tupperware container on top of the kiln. It melted and ignited and caused a small fire that I put out with a fire extinguisher. That very day, I contacted my contractor and had my little one-car garage turned into a studio.
The plan was to put everything art-related into the studio. Epic fail! If I couldn’t see it, I assumed I didn’t own it, so I just bought another. Now I have so darn many supplies that I get paralysis by analysis every time I want to make something. There are too many choices! It’s time to use what I have and let go of what I don’t need.
Earth Day is the start date for this new challenge. Over the next twelve months, no more new art supplies for JJ! I’ll have to make do with what I have and will share the wins and losses with you all. I will make my upcycle old paintings and make my own paper for painting. I’ll also show you how to make fun sculptures using found objects. We’ll also make fun collage kits out of old paintings and things I find on the streets and more.
Scouts honor – I will not buy another art supply of any kind for the next 365 days! If I need something, I’ll borrow it or come up with an alternative. This is going to be fun. In the meantime, here are a few fun facts about Earth Day:
10 FUN FACTS ABOUT EARTH DAY
1. The first official Earth Day was on April 22, 1970, and was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson after witnessing the aftermath of a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA, in 1969.
2. Earth Day is always on April 22nd of each year.
3. Over 3.5 billion people from over 192 countries around the world acknowledge Earth Day.
4. Earth Day is the catalyst for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
5. Each day, the average person throws away over four pounds of garbage.
6. Choosing to use a cloth bag instead of plastic bags can prevent over 22,000 plastic bags from being dumped into landfills over one person’s lifetime.
7. Over 68,000,000 trees are used each year in the US to produce paper products.
8. Nearly 75% of waste made by Americans can be recycled in some way.
9. Earth Day helped passed the Clean Water Act, the Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the National Environmental Education Act, and helped pass the Superfund Law.
10. Plastic waste kills over 1,000,000 birds, 100,000 marine mammals, and an incalculable number of fish each year.