Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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Natural Paint Book – Edwards & Lawless (2003)

**The Natural Paint Book – the complete guide to natural paints, recipes and finishes – Lynn Edwards & Julia Lawless


You know when you decorate your house, that ‘fresh’ paint smell that brings to mind a new home, a new colour scheme, new beginnings? The bulk of that smell is VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, which are harmful to both the environment and to us, causing headaches, nausea, dizziness, asthma, emphysema, dermatitis, memory loss, dementia and cancer. Not very nice. And once we’ve finished painting, these compounds can continue to off gas for up to 5 years. Nasty. There is, however, an alternative. You can buy various makes of paints with varying claims to green-ness, or you can make your own.

This delicious book is an excellent guide to making your own paints, waxes and other interior finishes, the best book in print on the subject we’ve come across so far. It is a great looking book; even just to skim through it looking at the pictures would be an inspiring read. The interiors shown throughout are gorgeous, the authors have an implicit sense of good taste which radiates throughout the whole book.

‘The Natural Paint Book’ begins with an overview of paint, its history, how it is currently produced and the costs, both to the environment and to our health, of that. It then moves through a series of recipes for different kinds of paints, and they literally are recipes, made in the kitchen using everyday kitchen implements and ingredients such as skimmed milk, lemon juice, oils, honey, eggs, beeswax, one recipe even uses lager! Some of the paints are quite delicate, needing regular re-doing, some are very resilient. The book then looks at a range of techniques for applying the stuff to the wall. Rolling, ragging, colour washing, creating layers of colour, all are covered in an accessible and easy to follow way, and produce beautiful results. There are also recipes for oils and washes for wood, whether it be for furniture or floors. It also includes inspiring ideas for colours and design ideas for each room in the house.

Whether your interest is in using paints that won’t make you sick, or in creating beautiful and durable paints, this book is indispensable. It also makes the whole area completely accessible and easy to use, while also inspiring the reader with gorgeous pictures of some stunning interiors. Sumptuous.