While the art world has long supported progressive policies and environmental awareness (think of the impact of an Ansel Adams, just for example), the proverbial canvas used in the art world–everything from the paper to the frame–has often lacked good eco-alternatives. Hahnemuhle, an art supply company based in Germany, has developed a bamboo/sugar cane fiber alternative that replaces the ultra-fine paper required by many artists and galleries, and their product is being used to showcase environmentally themed works by many painters and artists concerned with environmental issues.
The online art gallery uGallery has made a point of promoting the sustainable paper to its customers and artists. From the uGallery website, pictured at left is the work of Sarah Beth Goncarova, who traveled to Iceland and literally sat watching glaciers break off and melt into the sea, painting them at various stages throughout the day. Other artists using the paper include Katherine Widen, who profiles “Nuclear landscapes” areas that people have decimated and left without much reclamation.
The cost of the eco-friendly paper is not much more than that of traditional fine art paper made from renewable but not recycled or necessarily sustainably harvested resources, making most art pieces affordable.
According to Hahnemuhle, “All of our archival pigment prints are produced on the world’s first eco-friendly fine art paper – a smooth textured, natural white bamboo paper. Bamboo is a highly-renewable fiber and our bamboo is harvested in ethically responsible forests and sustainably manufactured. Bamboo requires no fertilizers or insecticides. It needs very little water to grow, which means it can thrive without depleting water supplies. Bamboo is biodegradable, renewable, and fast growing. Our paper is made of 90% bamboo fibres and 10% cotton, and is OBA-free.”
Hahnemuhle also donates a portion of sales to environmental projects.
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