“Eco-friendly” art: starting with crayons

Although the major art companies (Utrecht, Dick Blick, etc.) have been unresponsive to my inquires about the environmental impact of their products, I have found a number of products (some of which I’ve mentioned in class) that ARE made not only with less-processed materials, but that have a lower carbon footprint. I have had particular success with crayons which, while not a major contributor to higher-level artistic processes, have a similar composition to oil and chalk pastels. Crayons are made from parrafin, a waxy substance which is usually derived from coal, wood, or petroleum. Originally crayons contained toxic materials that weren’t suitable for childrean- they were used primarily in factories as a water-proof writing material. Today, the largest crayon manufacterer is Binney & Smith Company of Pennsylvania but both their company website and the Crayola crayon website failed to provide any truly helpful information on exactly what raw materials are used in the production of their products, the energy input, waste produced, and how the waste was disposed of: this is something I will look into further. Crayola prided itself on stain removal tips and the fact that their crayons no longer contain toxic materials: meticulous screening occurs in Mexico, China, and Brazil where most of the raw materials are obtained from. Interestingly enough, crayola has a Facebook page, although I certainly hope that their target consumers (i.e. young children) do not have a Facebook profile with which to befriend them.

While crayons seemed like a good way to get my foot in the door of the “green artist” topic, I think that I have a bigger bone to pick with sculptors who work primarily with metals and the treatments that are used to prevent corrosion on metalworks displayed outdoors as well as metal used architecturally. As I mentioned in class today I plan on meeting with both Jim Kreihbil and John Quick who are faculty in the art department here at OWU to see if they can shed some light on this issue.

PS: the soy crayons I ordered are out of stock =(

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