7 Life Hacks for Artists

7 Life Hacks for Artists
by Brittney Lueck

Artists may not know it, but they are continually at risk due to the hazardous substances they work with to create their works. Understanding the exposures is critical to create a safe art studio. Here are seven ways they can start now.

The chemicals and processes that artists and craftspeople often use in their home art studios can be the same things that pose significant health risks. For artists involved in painting, sculpting, printmaking, glass blowing, ceramics, photography, and metallurgy, hazardous substances are also the same materials they need to create their work.

So what are the things they can do to make their home art studios safe, mitigate exposure, and reduce risk? Here are a few for starters.

Separate your work area from your living area. Many artists work from home, which creates 24-hour exposure to toxins unless properly mitigated. Make sure that where you do your work is not accessible by other family members and you keep proper boundaries between both spaces.

Substitute safer materials for toxic ones. Instead of oil paint, use acrylics or watercolors. This one choice alone eliminates the need for turpentine and paint thinner. If you are processing photographs, focus on black and whites, not color processing. Overall, water-based materials are far safer than working with materials that are solvent-based, or powders.

Check ventilation. This simple task alone can save lives. Make sure that every area in your work area has adequate ventilation and that you aren’t blocking air vents or windows. Buy a window exhaust fan to help release small amounts of vapors and gases. Get a canopy hood for kilns and a spray booth for spraying.

Wear protective clothing, always. Gloves, goggles, respirators, coveralls — Whatever it takes, make sure your body is covered whenever handling toxic substances. And make sure you wash your work clothes separately from your personal clothes or your family’s clothes.

Check how you’re storing materials. Are your powdered materials stored in airtight jars? Are your liquids stored in tightly capped containers? If not, they should be. Also, make sure that all your large containers are stored on the floor or low shelves to prevent potentially disastrous spills.

Remove carpeting. Your workplace should be a dry floor, period. Carpeting or other fabrics on the floor collect dust and absorb spills, which means you’ll be working in a permanent hazard zone.

Be prepared. A fire extinguisher in your work area is a must. The same is true of a fully stocked first aid kid. You’ll also need emergency phone numbers posted in a well lit place.

Brittney Lueck is a wellness fanatic, young mother nature lover and DaoCloud contributor.

How art can reduce anxiety and depression

How art can reduce anxiety and depression
By: Kaitlyn Proctor

The benefits of both making and viewing art have been known for a long time. Studies have repeatedly shown that art can help support mental health, improve the quality of life for dementia patients and even aid with the social and emotional development of people with developmental disorders such as Autism and ADHD. 

More uses for art therapy are still being found, but as it stands there are already a wide range of applications for it and it is helping improve the quality of life for many people. This article will look at how and why art therapy is considered to be so effective at reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.

Viewing art boosts our mood

Even just looking at art, let alone creating it, does wonders for our mood. In fact, anything that has the potential to elicit a sense of wonder and awe, whether it be a beautiful scene of nature or a great work of art, triggers the release of powerful mood enhancing neurochemicals in our brain. 

And it makes sense, given that both art and the natural world are two of the greatest sources of inspiration and motivation for people, particularly when it comes to creative pursuits. According to psychologists “Awe has many important implications for our well-being… Experiencing awe can give us a sense of hope and provide a feeling of fulfilment.”  

Creating art is a meditative process

When immersed in the creative process the mind is much more clear and calm. Needing to pay close attention to detail, as is the case when creating art, helps someone to learn to be more mindful of the present moment. In this sense, art can be viewed as a form of meditation, and much like regular meditation practice, creating art regularly has the effect of training the mind to be more calm, still and focused, and research chows that it can even help increase attention span and reverse the propensity of the mind to wander.

Creation, not destruction

When someone is anxious or depressed, the mind can enter into destructive cycles of worry, fear and negative emotion, which is often related to events that happened in the past or things that could happen in the future. The process of creation however is the antithesis to these destructive tendencies, giving the mind something positive to focus on, and rooting someone in the present moment as opposed to being carried away with unhelpful thoughts and troubling emotions. 

The healing powers of art

Creating art can also help increase motivation and give someone a sense of purpose, it is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that helps to increase feelings of self-appreciation and feelings of self-worth. Any form of art can have these affects, whether it be painting, drawing, textiles or sculpture. However, research shows that moulding objects out of clay is particularly beneficial for people who have suffered trauma or abuse. The physicality and tactility involved in this art form helps to provide release on a physical as well as emotional level. There is no doubt that both creating and viewing art holds great potential for helping people to heal.