Published On: May 29, 2023627 words3.3 min read
sustainable artworks

Original Art that is Sustainable and Locally Produced

One of our main focuses here at Smith & Brooks is to create sustainable artwork. Jacky and I both live on properties in the city/country fringe of Brisbane and value the landscape that sits literally just beyond our backdoors. This connection to nature has inspired us to work towards creating original Australian art that is both sustainable and inspired by nature. We figured that there must be other people out there that shared our desire for sustainable living and wanted to purchase art for their homes that was locally made in Australia and had a reduced carbon footprint or even a carbon-neutral footprint.  

One of the main areas we have been able to provide sustainable artwork options for our clients, customers and collectors is by using the wonderful Natural Line Agave Fine Art print paper by Hahnemühle. We use it for our limited-edition giclee fine art paper prints and it is just divine. This 290gsm paper is luxurious and velvety and has been classed as museum grade for high age resistance (so it’s going to last). Yet despite this luxe finish it is actually 70% agave and 30% cotton with no optical brighteners. It is described on the Hahnemühle website, ‘Agave meets the highest industry standards regarding density, colour gamut, colour graduation and image sharpness while preserving the special touch and feel of genuine art paper’. We can attest to that as it is the only print paper we use and they have described it perfectly. Also, the fact that agave is a fast-growing arid region plant makes this the best current choice for our prints. Possibly the most impressive feature of all is that it won’t cost you more than other comparable fine art print papers- so you get to stick to your budget without having to sacrifice your sustainable living targets.

We also create all of our limited-edition prints locally, right here in Brisbane. You won’t find any fine print that says “Designed in Brisbane, made in **some offshore country**” on our work. By doing that we are supporting local business and local jobs. But even better, our lovely local printer is also 100% carbon neutral! So not only are we creating our beautiful sustainable artwork locally we are also supporting local businesses and the environment. Our local printer annually audits their emissions and offsets them by 100%. A program that they achieved by partnering with the folks at Carbon Neutral.

You may have also noticed that some of our new work features hand-embroidered thread. We wanted a way to connect our works even more deeply with the landscape and decided that an embroidered mixed media approach would do that for our artworks. I had used hand-embroidered elements in my own personal artwork previously but it had all been with synthetic products. That just wasn’t the right option for our new work. So instead we were able to get some beautiful 100% organic undyed cotton thread from a Melbourne-based company that works in sourcing sustainable materials including recycled, biodegradable, raw, surplus and circular options. This thread is perfect and the natural undyed colour tone works beautifully with the palettes we were using. We have plans to start hand-dying it down the track and Jacky is already planting and harvesting suitable plants like turmeric and indigo bush.

The satisfaction of using sustainable materials to produce art has brought so much joy to the whole process for both myself and Jacky. But even more exciting is that with every little sustainable action we take creates even more ideas and potential to take it further. We are constantly thinking about what we can do next and that it is a really positive and fun space to create in.