" There is no question that our planet is facing a series of linked environmental crises. We are already seeing the impacts of existing warming with devastating droughts, storms and floods across the world. Related crises include collapsing biodiversity, dangerous levels of air pollution, and plastic contamination in our rivers and oceans.
As artists we are very much aware that the art world has a large impact on the environment, due to a great deal of international travel, arts shipping, high energy use and waste of materials.
Our goal is to minimize our ecological footprint from the creation of a work of art to the final exhibition.
We strive for environmental responsibility to become part of our DNA, embedded in everything we do, to ensure that future generations can survive and thrive in our world. "
Perbal/Bélibaste, February 2024
Renovation of the studio:
After renovating our house that we bought in 2011, we decided to create a new studio. Right in the middle of our garden stood a run-down workshop with peeling walls, an asbestos roof and a dirty car grease pit. We decided to demolish the workshop and rebuild it at the back of our garden. All usable materials such as bricks and iron beams were recovered. The grease pit was cleaned and converted into a rainwater collector. We rescued our neighbors' double-glazed wooden windows from the landfill, repainted them and installed them in the studio. The small windows were used to build a skylight to draw in as much light as possible.The studio was insulated according to environmental standards to keep the internal temperature as consistent as possible. The wood stove was replaced by a pellet stove.
By moving the studio to the back of the garden, space became available for plants and flowers and a greenhouse to grow vegetables.
The next step is to build a pond and provide green roofs.
Solar panels and a battery were installed to provide electricity for both the house and the studio. A solar boiler provides hot water. As soon as it is financially possible, we will switch from gas to a heat pump installation. We plan on replacing the tube lighting in the studio with LED lighting.
The rainwater collected in two tanks in the garden is connected to our house, studio and toilets. Next year we are planning to build a natural pond to create a mini-eco system.
Waste is sorted into different fractions:
- recyclable: glass, paper, metal, plastic,…
- compostable waste : wood, garden and kitchen waste.
- reusable things are taken to the thrift shop.
- residual waste.
Where possible we choose to work with natural and biodegradable materials, such as wood, clay, cotton thread,… If it is not degradable, we look for reusable/recyclable materials such as metal and glass. We prefer to work with second hand items and materials that have acquired their own character and patina through use.
We continue to look for ecological alternatives where appropriate.
We use leftovers (preferably water soluble) from a painter ( http://www.oldschooltechniques.com ) or we make our own paint with natural pigments and chalk.
Fabric and thread:
We only use water-soluble stiffening agents such as vliesseline made of potato starch. When using textiles in our work, we source second hand fabrics and thread. We prefer using cotton thread, but sometimes synthetic thread is needed for strength and UV resistance.
We manufacture wooden transport boxes from lightweight certified wood ourselves and design it to be a visual extension of our art work. In this way we invite the buyer to reuse the box instead of throwing it away.
The protective layers for our creations are repurposed blankets that have been stitched in the correct size and labeled with our name to encourage reuse by art galleries and museums.To fill voids we use compostable filling material. We do not throw away plastic packaging from deliveries, but reuse it as much as possible.
Shipping and traveling:
Whenever possible, we transport our works ourselves. For European destinations we prefer a road journey by car and campertrailer instead of flights. In the future we would like to replace our current car by an electric one.