Claire has always been a creative person who is passionate about the environment, so she knew early on that her Personal Project would be centered around these two interests. “I love creating art, but I’m also aware that the chemicals found in some art materials can be harmful to our planet,” explains Claire. “For my Personal Project, I decided to make natural ink out of plants and recycled materials.”
As a student who has attended The York School since Grade 1, Claire says she felt well-prepared to take on the Grade 10 Personal Project even though she knew it would be large in scope and have many components and moving parts.
“I think the Grade 5 Exhibition really gave me the time management and organizational skills I needed for the Personal Project,” Claire says. “We also have a lot of creative freedom in high school classes like Global Issues and ICE (Integrated Canadian Experience) and that freedom really paves the way for working on the Personal Project, which doesn’t have a lot of guidelines and can be hard to manage if you’re not used to that.”
Claire’s project began with a lot of research and time spent gathering her materials, many of which were plants foraged by the ravine near her house. As a member of the school’s Eco Team, Claire put her knowledge about ecosystems and environmental conservation to work during the collection phase, being careful to only take what she needed and leave things in nature as she had found them.
Looking back on her project now, Claire is happy to have produced a wide variety of natural inks that can potentially be put in a fountain pen, in a marker or on a paint brush. Claire also mixed colours together with modifiers such as baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice. “Because natural ink is so sensitive to pH levels, these modifiers can cause dramatic colour changes which is cool to see,” recalls Claire. “I learned a lot and really enjoyed experimenting with the science behind all the reactions.”
Canada's first gender-inclusive independent IB World School
The York School is a gender-inclusive JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experientia Docet or Experience Teaches.