Chris in England asks Heather Brown:
Can you tell the readers more about your work being “Green”? I have read a few snippets about how you have changed your procedures, I would love to know more?
Heather Brown: This is one that really started in my personal life and was easily transitioned to my work. At our home here on the North Shore of Oahu we have always tried to live simple, clean and do everything we could around our house to be more “green”. I spent a couple years working with organizations like The Kokua Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation, which really helped open my eyes to some of the problems with the environment that are out there and more importantly, the small changes we could make in our everyday life to slow down the problem and even help stop some of the issues.
About 18 months ago I decided to see what changes I could make in my own business. A few of the things that I came up with automatically were the papers, inks and paints I used. I switched all of my paper prints to sugar cane paper. Sugar cane paper is basically a bi-product of the sugar industry. It is extremely sustainable and much more environmentally friendly than most other paper stocks out there for art production. The paper itself and the printing are bleach and chemical free. All of my paints and inks (for screen printing) are water based. I switched the stock on my greeting cards to 100% recycled fiber, which is a bleach free process. Even the envelopes are 100% recycled fibers!
My fiancé and I also started a new small project called “Green With Aloha“. With this project we are just focusing on small steps of being more environmentally aware. We produce re-usable beverage bottles, shopping bags made from organic cotton’s as well as tee’s with the same great organic cotton and water based inks. These are not giant steps by any means, but if I am able to help people use a little less disposable plastic in their everyday lives because they enjoy my art, it seems to me that it is working out right.
Lastly, in the studio and workshop we re-use 100% of what we can. Boxes, packing materials, paper, we kind of could be mistaken for hoarders we have so many materials ready to be re-used, but these small changes help to keep these materials going a little longer. You can also check out my blog at www.heatherbrownsurfartblog.com where I post some other ideas and products for living a little more environmentally friendly life. Thanks for the great question!