Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Best Blick Art Supplies, From Eco Paint to Recycled Paper

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Explore sustainability at Blick Art Supplies. From eco paint to recycled paper, here’s what you can get at the iconic art materials store for your eco art projects.

Artistry has a profound way of influencing society, from how we perceive the world to the shaping of culture and communities. This has been a core focus for Blick Art Supplies since its inception. But despite its role in how we see the world, the art medium also has its own carbon footprint to reckon with. The environmental footprint left by traditional art supplies can be significant, due to the non-renewable raw materials, toxic manufacturing processes, and wasteful packaging that often accompany them.

According to Atmos, at 77 million tons, the art world emits more CO2 every year than the entire country of Austria — one of the top 50 emissions-producing countries.

Traditional art materials can also contain harmful chemicals and non-biodegradable components with health risks. Sustainable alternatives, on the other hand, utilize natural and biodegradable materials, reducing their ecological footprint and promoting responsible waste management as well as reducing the risks associated with inhalation or skin contact with certain materials.

This means healthier working conditions for artists and the people producing art supplies. Traditional materials like oil paints and certain solvents release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can pollute indoor air quality and be detrimental to human health.

Moreover, sustainable art supplies contribute to the conservation of natural resources. By using materials made from recycled or renewably sourced materials, artists can help protect forests and critical wildlife habitats.

Blick art supplies

There are many options for art supplies, but Blick (Blick Art Materials) is not just a retailer —it’s a dedicated member of the art community. By promoting creativity, sustainability, and a love for the arts, the company has maintained a pivotal role in the industry for more than a century.

Founded in 1911, Blick Art Materials is one of the largest and oldest providers of art supplies in the United States. The company, originating from Galesburg, Illinois, is committed to supporting artists at every stage of their creative journey by providing a vast array of high-quality supplies.

Blick's Los Angeles store
Blick’s Los Angeles store | Courtesy

From professional artists to hobbyists, and from children to educational institutions, Blick caters to a diverse range of customers. The company’s inventory is extensive; it includes everything from traditional art supplies like paints, brushes, canvases, and drawing materials to specialized items like sculpting and ceramic tools, printmaking supplies, and a broad selection of paper types. And when it comes to eco-friendly art supplies, it’s the category leader.

What sets Blick apart is its commitment to sustainability and community engagement. Many of the products offered are eco-friendly, and the company actively supports arts education and organizations through donations and grants.

While you can shop Blick online, if you happen to have one in your town, it’s worth a trip as the company is highly recognized for its knowledgeable staff who provide excellent customer service, offering their expertise to guide customers in finding the perfect art supplies for their needs.

Sustainable art supplies

In response to the growing environmental concerns, a number of companies are producing sustainable art alternatives. We’ve rounded up some of the best sustainable art supplies at Blick. (And a few that can only be found direct.)

paintbrush
Photo courtesy David Zieglgänsberger

Brushes

The sustainability of a brush is influenced by its bristles, handle, and adhesive used in its assembly. Traditional brushes often involve synthetic bristles or animal hairs obtained through inhumane practices, plastic handles, and toxic adhesives.

  1. Greenleaf & Blueberry creates handmade brushes, combining high-quality synthetic fibers and renewable bamboo handles for sustainability.
  2. Redgrass Games’ RGG Brushes offers a range of brushes with synthetic hair and handles made from responsibly sourced wood.
  3. Trekell Art Supplies provides eco-conscious artists with brushes made from synthetic fibers, which mimic the performance of sable and mongoose hair.
  4. The Art Sherpa produces brushes with synthetic bristles and handles made of sustainably sourced wood.
  5. Escoda offers the GreenLine series with handles made from wood and recycled components, making them a great option for environmentally conscious artists.
paint tubes
Photo courtesy Anne Nygård

Paints

Traditionally, paints have contained toxic substances and heavy metals, but the brands below provide more eco-friendly alternatives.

Oil Paints

  1. Natural Earth Paint has a range of eco-friendly oil paints derived from natural earth pigments and organic binders.
  2. Cranfield Colours’ Artists’ Oil Colors are high-quality, professional-grade paints made with sustainably sourced raw materials.
  3. Old Holland Classic Oil Colors are made with natural pigments and linseed oil, focusing on artist safety and environmental responsibility.
  4. Maimeri Puro Oil Colors are produced using non-toxic methods and responsibly sourced ingredients.
  5. Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors are made with the artist and environment in mind, using non-toxic ingredients and responsible manufacturing processes.

Acrylic Paints

  1. Golden’s Open Acrylics are free from harmful chemicals, using only lightfast, pure pigments.
  2. Chroma’s Atelier Interactive Acrylics are made with a focus on reducing environmental impact.
  3. Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gouache is packaged in reusable plastic jars, minimizing waste.
  4. Daniel Smith Acrylics adhere to ASTM D4236 standards for non-toxic materials.
  5. Colorhouse Paint offers a selection of Green Seal-certified paints.

Watercolors

  1. Da Vinci Watercolors are artist-quality paints made using renewable energy sources.
  2. M. Graham Watercolors are manufactured with raw honey, gum arabic, and pigment, ensuring a minimal environmental impact.
  3. Sennelier’s L’Aquarelle Watercolors focuses on artist safety and eco-friendliness.
  4. QoR Watercolors by Golden are crafted with a unique binder that is more sustainably produced than traditional methods.
  5. Holbein Artist’s Watercolors are made with a commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing practices.
canvas

Canvases

Traditional canvases are often made from unsustainable cotton or synthetic materials and can involve harmful chemicals in their production.

  1. ArtFix offers eco-friendly linen canvases sourced from flax, which requires less water and chemicals than cotton.
  2. Natural Art Supplies provides organic cotton canvases that are grown and processed without hazardous chemicals.
  3. Masterpiece Artist Canvas uses sustainably grown cotton and renewable pine for their stretcher bars.
  4. Fredrix offers an eco-friendly range of canvases made from 100% recycled materials.
  5. Blick Premier Cotton Canvas is made with cotton sourced responsibly and without the use of harmful pesticides.
decomposition notebook
The Decomposition Notebook is made sustainably with 100-percent post-consumer paper. Courtesy

Paper

Paper production is often harmful due to deforestation, pollution from bleaching processes, and energy-intensive manufacturing.

  1. Khadi Papers provides handmade paper made from 100% long fibred cotton rag, making it a sustainable choice.
  2. Stillman & Birn’s sketchbooks are made from responsibly sourced paper, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  3. Strathmore’s 400 Series Recycled Pads are made from post-consumer fiber.
  4. Hahnemühle’s Bamboo Mixed Media paper is made from highly renewable bamboo fibers.
  5. Fabriano’s EcoQua Notebooks are produced using 100% environmentally friendly pulp.
clay
Photo courtesy Alex Jones

Clay

Traditional clay production can be harmful due to resource extraction and energy use in firing.

  1. Laguna Clay Company offers a range of eco-friendly clays, using reclaimed and recycled clay in their manufacturing process to minimize waste.
  2. Earth Clay Store provides natural, non-toxic clays that are safe for both artists and the environment.
  3. AMACO’s Air Dry Clays are all-natural and can be air-dried, saving energy.
  4. Sculpey’s Soy-Based Clay is a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional polymer clays.
  5. Pottery Clay Co.’s Recycled Clay is a great sustainable option, being made from reclaimed and recycled clay.
glue
Photo courtesy Scott Sanker

Glues and Adhesives

Traditional glues often contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are packaged in non-recyclable containers.

  1. Eco-Bond’s range of adhesives are VOC-free and produced using renewable energy sources.
  2. Elmer’s School Glue is non-toxic and the packaging is made from post-consumer recycled plastics.
  3. Green Glue Company produces noise-proofing sealant and adhesives that are non-toxic and eco-friendly.
  4. Coccoina’s Almond Glue is a natural adhesive made from potato starch.
  5. Glue Dots offers a range of adhesives that are non-toxic and made from recyclable materials.
yarn
Photo courtesy Margarida Afonso

Yarn

Conventional yarn production can be harmful due to the use of pesticides in cotton farming, inhumane practices in wool production, and pollution caused by synthetic materials.

  1. Manos Del Uruguay’s Fair Trade Yarn is hand-dyed and spun by women in Uruguay, supporting fair trade practices.
  2. Knit Picks’ Simply Cotton Organic is grown and harvested under sustainable conditions.
  3. Blue Sky Fibers Organic Cotton yarn is made from 100% certified organic cotton.
  4. Debbie Bliss Eco Baby is a yarn made from 100% organically-grown cotton.
  5. Darn Good Yarn offers recycled silk yarns that are handspun by cooperatives in India.
dye
Photo courtesy Nina Luong

Dyes

Many conventional dyes contain harmful chemicals and are water-intensive. Fortunately, several brands provide sustainable alternatives.

  1. Dharma Trading Co.’s Procion Dyes are non-toxic, biodegradable, and can be used with cold water, saving energy.
  2. Botanical Colors provides natural dyes made from plant-based materials.
  3. Earthues Natural Dye Extracts are made from renewable resources and are completely biodegradable.
  4. Jacquard’s Green Label Silk Colors are eco-friendly dyes for silk and wool.
  5. Greener Shades offers a collection of heavy metal-free dyes, making them safe for the environment.
pencils
Photo courtesy Lucas George Wendt

Pencils

Pencils can contribute to deforestation, the use of non-renewable graphite, and wasteful production practices.

  1. Sprout’s Plantable Pencils can be planted after use to grow herbs, vegetables, or flowers.
  2. ForestChoice provides FSC-certified graphite pencils, promoting responsible forestry.
  3. Eco-Friendly Pencils by Stubby Pencil Studio are made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled newspapers.
  4. Ticonderoga’s Renew Pencils are made from reclaimed wood, minimizing waste.
  5. Onyx and Green’s Bamboo Pencils are made from sustainable bamboo, offering a renewable alternative to wood pencils.

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