Crafting for a Greener World Crafting by ProQuest


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									Crafting for a Greener World                                                                                  alarm bells went off yet again. I suppose
                                                                                                              that most people would not be sensitive
                                                                                                              to non-toxic powdered pigments – but
                                                                                                              then most people in my textiles class did-
                                                                                                              n’t have any problem with the diazo
                                                                                                                  Finally, considering the price of milk
                                                                                                              these days, I decided to give a rain check
                                                                                                              to the milk paint project.

                                                                                            James H. Coburn
                                                                                                              What Does “Non-toxic”
                                                                                                              Mean Anyway?
                                          By Robyn Coburn                                                          In the context of the official product
                                                                                                              label, “non-toxic” is intended to mean
                                                                                                              that if your child accidentally ingests
                                                                                                              some of it, she won’t get sick, and there
      My Search for Safer Art Materials                                                                       is no need for alarm. The assumption is
                                                                                                              that the quantity available for ingestion is

I n 1987, I walked into the textiles lab at
  the University of Wollongong School
of Creative Arts, excited to learn all I
                                                  In my quest to bring more ecological
                                              sensitivity to my own arts and crafts
                                              practice, I started considering alterna-
                                                                                                              only as was in the purchased container,
                                                                                                              labeled for consumer use. That is to say,
                                                                                                              your toddler isn’t drinking a barrel of the
could about fiber arts. I was especially      tives to commercially available crafting                        stuff. Is milk paint non-toxic? I can’t
excited by the first semester curriculum,     paints. I was looking for paints that                           help feeling that a child swallowing a
which would include dye techniques that       would be practical replacements for use                         mouthful of curdled milk and borax
I expected to be intensely useful to me as    in my professional crafting. I’m not talk-                      might feel woozy afterwards.
a costume and set designer.                   ing about making tie dyed papers out of                              The American Society of Testing and
    I learned a lot about dyeing cloth and    shaving cream and food coloring. That’s                         Materials (ASTM) mandates the specific
yarns but, after one semester, I was          tremendous fun, but it may not result in                        tests for ascertaining the toxicity of all
driven out of the textiles lab by what        the kind of product that I can offer for                        materials used by consumers and indus-
turned out to be a sensitivity to diazo dye   sale because I don’t know how colorfast                         try. The Annual Book of ASTM Stan-
powders. Despite following all the man-       the end result will be.                                         dards is eighty volumes and contains
dated safety protocols, including dust            One kind of permanent and durable                           over twelve thousand standards. The
masks while measuring and precision           paint that is suitable for porous surfaces                      ASTM mandates labeling of art supplies
weighing the powders, and very thor-          is milk paint. Casein, the milk protein, is                     with different levels of safety informa-
ough clean-up procedures, I spent the         the binder that holds the pigment. 
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