When Savannah Freeman was a teenager, she spent “countless” hours in and around Raccoon Creek, and she couldn’t help but notice the “yucky orange and strange blue green of the water.”
Today, she owns and operates Moonville Print Shop, where she has started using paints that were created from the iron oxide in the acid mine drainage that pollutes many local watersheds.
“Acid Mine Drainage clean-up is near and dear to my heart,” she says. And when she discovered Gamblin’s Reclaimed Earth Colors, which are made in partnership with True Pigments, a Rural Action social enterprise, she was determined to use them.
True Pigments is building a facility in Truetown that will clean acid mine drainage from Sunday Creek while turning the iron oxide that is extracted in the process into a product that can be used as pigment in products like Reclaimed Earth Colors.
“I was so excited when I learned about True Pigments!” Savannah says. “I knew that I had to find a way to incorporate it into my work because not only are the colors beautiful, the project is brilliant. It took me a while to figure out how to print with the paint because the viscosity isn’t right for rolling onto my linoleum blocks. Eventually I found that if I mix the paint with a printmaking extender, I can get a clean print. I love how using the paint makes my work have such a sense of place.“
Currently, two of her designs — Mushroom Forest and Thistle Field — are made with the True Pigments/Gamblin paints, and Savannah is donating a percentage of sales for those designs to Rural Action. In addition, a portion of sales from her hellbender design will go to Rural Action.
Savannah likes the paints so much she intends to incorporate them into all of her work that is printed on paper, and she’s also considering a series of prints featuring species endemic to local streams and printed exclusively with the Reclaimed Earth Colors.
Moonville Print Shop is based in Athens and is run solely by Savannah, a self-taught printmaker who earned a degree in eco-tourism from Hocking College.
“My designs are almost exclusively inspired by the plants and animals of Southeast Ohio,” she says. “I use as many upcycled materials as possible and strive to make my company as environmentally friendly as I can.”
“I hope that as my business grows, I can donate more and more to environmental conservation groups like Rural Action and that my nature designs inspire an appreciation (and stewardship) for the biodiversity of my home.“