The cave was pleasantly warm but the fire he had built earlier was dwindling and needed his attention He used a stick to stoke the embers and piled some more wood onto the bed of charred logs. His stomach growled and reminded him of the snowshoe bunny he missed just hours before. In disgust he smacked the stick against the pristine wall of the cave. ďHow interesting,Ē he thought, ďLook at that mark my stick left.Ē He continued to strike the wall leaving mark after mark. Soon he was joining the lines and a picture started to form. Low and behold the first green art was born.
Well maybe, maybe not but itís fun to imagine how and why that first cave drawing may have come about.
As you know, green art takes on many forms. But with most art, color plays a very important role. I think you would have to assume that even caveman found some kind of plant life he could use to add color to his drawings. It wasnít however, until 2600 BC .in China, that there was any written record of dyestuff. From then till now we have used plants, berries, wood, insects, metals and chemicals to achieve the desired effects of color. However, the preferred dyes and inks of the environmentalist community are free of heavy metals and any chemicals that are harmful to our world and itís people.
Some of the earlier forms of green art involved blankets and rugs. Wool was readily accessible and naturally came in black and white. One of my favorite examples of this art form is the Rya rug. Itís woven much like a Persian rug, with alternating rows of weft and knots but much longer then that of the Persian. The Rya dates back to Norway in the early 1400ís, where it was used as a blanket. But by the 1700ís Finland had developed intricate patterns and colors that were incorporated into the Rya and it was used at weddings. The bride and groom knelt on the Rya and said their vows. After the wedding they took it home and hung it on the wall to remind them of the wedding. Quaint, donít you think?
Rugs of coarse have gone through many changes in an effort to make them faster and cheaper for the masses, but itís nice to know that there are still people who enjoy using the old ways to create beautiful works of art
Another green art that has taken shape over the years is architecture. Oddly enough the homes that we built when we first came to the Americas were wood. Definitely environmentally friendly in is biodegradability but not so much in itís totality until we started replanting those trees that we cut down for our various projects. Since that time we have seen numerous attempts at keeping it green when building homes. Iíve seen homes built of recycled glass bottles, bricks of clay and straw and of coarse the more modern attempts to recycle materials and the use of solar power and water reservoirs. Well, I found what has to be one of the most ambitious and greenest endeavors yet.
Seventy miles north of Phoenix Arizona, the Cosanti Foundation is building an environmentally friendly community called Arcosanti. It was begun in 1970 and is still a work in progress. When finished it will house 5000 people and is intended to demonstrate ways to improve urban conditions and lesson our destructive impact on this world. The compound itself sits on only 25 of the reserveís 4060 acres, which keeps the urban dweller close to nature. Within this system what is built and what is living interact as if all were organs of the total being. So in other words the systems work together with an efficient flow of people and resources, with multi purpose buildings and solar power to for all its residents needs. This project has utilized the ideas and know how of college students studying the environment, experts in this field and others who were interested in making a difference in this area. Personally Iím putting this on my to do list when it comes to vacation time.
One more quite interesting green art form that I ran across is the artwork of Mark Fischer. He has found a way, much too technically involved for me to explain here, but he records the sounds of birds and sea creatures and translates them into beautifully colored patterns. They are really quite elegant and would make a beautiful addition to any wall.
So there you have it, when all is said and done, cave man had it right. If you want to remain environmentally friendly, stick with what nature has to offer you and the earth will respond in kind.
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