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Painting With Dirt and Berries

Paint doesn’t always have to be store bought.

Natural pigments can be made from many items for their desired hues, and is perfect for crafting or smaller painting tasks.

Unexpected things, like soil and berries, can be used to for painting and dying fabrics due to their naturally rich colorants.

Rhonda R. Janke provides a handout on creating paint from local materials, like soils. Interested in making her own paints, she developed a skill for formulating colors from natural substances like soil. In addition to other resources, she provides tips for making your own organic egg-tempera, gouache and oil paints.

Considering the most harmless materials to be earth based colors made from soil, she notes that dirt acquires its shade mostly due to either iron, sulfur or magnesium presences. Using native materials like walnut shells and different colors of dirt, various tones can be achieved.

Painting With Dirt and Berries

Image source: Parideaza Farm Art

For examples she offers some samples of pictures made with water-based paints formed from soil, plant dyes and earth pigments.

Painting With Dirt and Berries

Janke also refers to place-based art, or art in its natural environment and context. Art does not have to be a scheduled exhibition, for instance, but can be local architecture, art from around a neighborhood or any striking vision piece. Looking for natural resources to incorporate as mediums can be drawn from these built-in surroundings.

Another interesting technique for adding color comes from Studio Swine. Their Seed Socks project, which was specially made for New York Fashion Week in 2011, is a unique hand dye kit. It is a transportable workshop that contains necessary equipment and plants viable for using as dyes.

Painting With Dirt and Berries

Image source: Studio Swine

The kit also holds the implanted concept of combining seasonal fashions with in season foliage, calling for an ecologically based, slow produced fashion approach. Using ripened berries, they showcase how nature’s brilliant colors can transform once plain bamboo fiber socks.

Painting With Dirt and Berries

Plants and other earth based objects have been used for centuries for safely applying color. Looking for and gathering natural sources for coloring art and craft applications is almost as much fun as making them.

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