• Alana Stewart

Painting with the Pantry: Using spice as paint!

Painting with the Pantry was a free Art Therapy facebook live stream event that I facilitated on Saturday the 4th of April. I created this event in response to the pandemic situation and the starting of lockdown measures in Australia and across the world. Click here for facebook video recording to follow along with - (please excuse the awkward beginning, some technical difficulties were experienced with starting. Haha). My idea was to facilitate an Art Therapy activity that was accessible to the many, who probably hadn't yet thought to stock up on art materials yet during all the panic. On accessibility, I made the important connection that much plant matter contains natural dyes (a process now known as eco-dying) and thus I went to my pantry and found many coloured spices and ingredients that would make lovely earthy coloured paints!

On the Saturday, 40 or more people joined the facebook live stream hosted on the Finding Wellbeing like page and followed along with the session. Many also saved the video and watched it later, posting their feedback after. In the session, I asked participants to experiment over rather than creating a complete "artwork". The goal was mindful engagement and expression. The added sensory experience of smell was also appreciated by many and added another element to the grounding and mindful experience. 

All you need to do to replicate this process is find some powdered spices which have a strong pigment and other things such as berries and coffee. Mix these with a very small amount of water and test how they come out on your page, add more ingredients or more or less water to get desired pigmentation. Once dry, you may notice some powder left over on the paper. You can choose to leave this stuck to the page or rub it off. Some participants were very inventive with their ingredients. Their comments can be seen on the facebook video. 

Also, for parents with young children a spice paint can be made with flours which is taste safe. Click here for the youtube tutorial. In the below photo are some ingredients I tested. Once dried, I rubbed off the remaining powder to see if it successfully stained the paper. I hope this helps with your ideas. Scroll to bottom for a slideshow gallery of the art made in this event by myself and some participants who have given permission to share.

Ingredient ideas



© 2020 by Alana Stewart, AThR

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