ECO - ART - EDU.
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
I am starting a blog to document my adventures in wild-crafting art materials. I have been painting for nearly 15 years and have undergone formal and informal training in the arts. After studying at the Rhode Island School of Design and working for various artists and artisans in New York City, I came to understand how unsustainable common approaches to art making in America are. Simultaneously, I began to practice medicinal herbalism and encounter a variety of artists taking up wild-crafting (such as Nick Neddo and Caroline Ross). I became fascinated with our relationship to materials.
I am writing to you from North America (turtle island). It is my observation that prior generations fixated on growth and accumulation, yet today many youth (i.e Greta Thunberg) are fixated on sustainability and responsibility as we contend with the impacts of the Great Acceleration amidst a destabilizing socio-ecological context. Nearly every field of research and practice is beginning to critically evaluate the consequences of our actions and look for sustainable and just approaches to their practice. The field of art and art education is no different. I have come across many poignant theorists and practitioners campaigning for the necessity of socio-ecological approaches to the arts and art education in this perplexing time.
My passion as an artist-educator lies in the intersection of fine-arts, the healing arts, and ecology. After years of apprenticeship, practice, and reflection within these contexts, I am enthusiastically honing in on the emerging field of Eco-Art-Edu. While I am still feeling for the potentials there-in, critically evaluating our relationship to materials as artists and educators is a great place to start. What does it suggest to a child that we are encouraging them to express themselves using plastic, non-recyclable materials that are often meant to be used once and thrown away? Many art teachers I have spoken with feel disempowered because they do not have the financial and bureaucratic support to imagine or pursue another route. I have witnessed through my personal practice as an artist and educator as well as through the observation of others that the endeavor of making art materials has the capacity to empower us, ground us, orient us, and widen our anthropocentric perspective. It also increases accessibility in contexts where budget for art materials restricts programming.
I am led to believe that this is a relevant and significant topic to a wide range of art practitioners (from artists to educators) and has the potential to be woven together with science, ecology, and social science curriculums. My goal for this blog is to document my materials research and brainstorm adaptable curriculum for artists and educators.