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Crafting the Creation – Book Bag

Roam the Earth With Gentle Hands

Environmentally Friendly Art

As an artist, I continuously observe the images, colors, textures, tones, values, and life of the world around me. The world changes constantly, for better or worse. Regardless, most changes do not happen overnight and, because of their subtle nature, can be easily dismissed or not even noticed. When I reflect back, however, I do see the changes in our environment. I strive to create eco-friendly and functional art products in order to make changes in my own life and reduce my environmental footprint.

The Creation of this art piece

In my previous post Intentional Living, I talked about the eco-friendly materials I used in creating these bags and why. Today I will focus on the artwork.

Roam the Earth with gentle hands, and shape the World. Believe it or not, I contemplated the wording of that sentence for a long time. I thought a lot about our Earth, our environment, and the impact of each individual on the ecosystem. Why now? Good question. The old adage, “ignorance is bliss,” applies to me. I need to stop being ignorant and face what is going on right in front of me.

The entire Earth belongs to all of us. When one part of our Earth falls ill, it affects the rest of the Earth. With summer holidays right around the corner and travel increasing, we struggle to remember that we need to be good stewards of the land no matter where we journey.

The meaning behind the illustration

The illustration is a reminder.

  • As you travel, be aware of how much garbage you create. Try leaving the area you visit cleaner and better than when you first arrived. Gentle hands – be a good guest, pick up your mess. Better yet, make less.
  • When you interact with others on your travels, use Gentle Hands. In other words, be kind.

Simply put, if we all tried a little harder, we would Shape the World, and it would become a better place to live.

The Process

Click on any image below to scroll through photos.

The Book Bag/Art Bag

Features added to this bag

  • 10oz natural cotton
  • Leather straps
  • Interior 17 x 16.5″
  • Four outside pockets, 10 inches deep/8 inches wide
  • Magnetic closure clasp
  • Inside zipper pocket
  • Inside key hook

Thank you for joining the journey. Till next time…

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Intentional Living for a Sustainable Life

If you look up the definition of intentional living you will come across words and phrases like conscious attempts, life choices, attitudes, deliberate decisions, purpose, self-awareness, and the list goes one. Recently I watched a Market Place episode on plastic waste and it’s impact on our environment. As I sat there watching I was appalled by the lack of knowledge and concern of how our lifestyles are impacting the environment. Yes, this includes my own ignorance! I was struck with guilt the very next day when I made a quick stop at the grocery store. A plastic bag for the tomatoes, another for the lettuce, …the avocado, does it really need to go into a plastic bag, and that one lime I bought…

The story continues as I proceeded to the checkout and realized my reusable bags were at home. Really?!

I thought I was doing my part, growing my own vegetables, composting, recycling, and making products that are better for the environment and better for my family. After all, I chose to use water-based ink over plastisol for screen printing. What does that matter when other areas of my life are contributing to the problem? Better yet, how am I going to fix this problem?

First, a quick definition to clarify goals and intentions.

  • Goals and intentions are not the same but work well together.
  • Goals are set in the future and have a destination.
  • Intentions are in the present and focus on how you live in that moment.

Back to the question I asked earlier. How am I going to fix my problem? I have decided to set intentions and goals that revolve around helping our environment. Simply put, I want to recognize and live my values daily, with intention, to help meet my goals that include reducing my footprint.

The Project

I love fun bags and totes and I love creating items that are not harmful to our environment. For me, having pretty totes that are multi-functional sets me up for success – I am more likely to have totes with me when I have to make that quick stop at the grocery store for one or two items. Let me be honest here, one or two items usually turns into more items than I can carry with my two hands.

Natural Cotton

It is important to me to use natural fibers in my creations. This bag is made from 10 oz. natural cotton. The design is screen printed with water-based ink. Functionality is also very important to me. The printed design portion of this bag creates four deep pockets for books… The main large section (16″x 14″) is perfect for the “one or two” items from the grocery store or for carrying books and lunch on the way to work. I included an inside zipper pocket for my phone and a key clip. I also decided to incorporate leather handles to add a little class.

Moving Forward

As I move forward I am excited to make a variety of totes incorporating an assortment of custom surface pattern designs. I plan to make some of the bags with canvas handles and others with leather handles. To keep it fun, I will introduce color into some of the designs. I am excited to start creating!

In order to help fulfill my daily intentions and environmental goals, I will be designing other environmentally friendly and sustainable items. For those who have joined me on this journey, thank you, I will keep you posted.

For more images follow me on Instagram.


If you don’t think using plastic is a problem, check out the Market Place Episode on Plastic Waste. Every little step helps!

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Where Have You Been

Or should I say…

Where Have I Been?




Where have I been is a very good question?  I have been here, busily working.  Early this year I decided to change the focus of my website to reflect where my art venture has taken me.  I have come to realize that doing something well takes time, but I am still here and I am excited to give everyone a glimpse into what has been keeping me so busy.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s start there.

…I love screen printing apparel, and creating unique designs. 

Along with creating beautiful designs and screen printing, I think it is very important to be aware of the impact that we are having on our environment, and be proactive in making changes that will have less of an impact.

Combining these two elements, screen printing and the environment,  took me down a long path of research, exploration, seeking industry advice, consulting with other artists, and lots of practice.  I have a box full of shirts that have become shop rags to prove it.

Using plastisol inks would have been easier.

  • Plastisol inks print well on all fibers, not just natural fibers.
  • Sourcing water based inks that I like, is a little tricky, especially here in Canada. 
  • Plastisol inks print well on dark shirts.
  • Plastisol inks won’t dry in the screen. 

Plastisol ink would have saved me many head aches and moments of frustration.


So, why even bother with water based inks?

  • Water based ink is better for our environment, and that is the number one reason for me.
  • No harsh chemicals are used in the cleanup.
  • The feel of the water based prints is softer than plastisol.
  • New advancements in water based ink are making them easiler to use allowing artists to create halftones, detailed work, and produce beautiful rich images.
  • Working with water based inks means I have to work with natural fibers, which can be harder to source and a little on the pricey side, but it is exactly the path I want to head down.  Products made with natural fibers are sustainable, biodegradable, better for our skin, and last longer than synthetic fibers.   I am still working on the best way to incorporate natural fibers into my art line, so stay tuned as I work through the progress.  I will post updates on my progress, sources, and any useful information that I find along the way.

…pulling ink is so much fun.


Our Home

Yes, I love our home, and that is why it is so important for me to do this right.  As I proceed forward I want to learn, grow, and educate for the better of our planet.  It would be a sad day for me (and our planet) if I no longer encountered beautiful creatures on my hikes with my family.

So that, in a nutshell is where I have been.

For more photos of the day-to-day activities join me on Instagram.


We – the current generation – have a moral responsibility to make the world better for future generations.

Priscilla Chan