Week 2 -Practice as Anthropology


Many visitors in Greece might have seen the white paint around the tree trunks. In the past when people didn’t have all these agricultural concoctions to protect the trees from insects and bugs, they used a mix of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide), chalk (whiting) and water lime mixed with water as insect repellent. It’s called whitewash in English and even nowadays Greeks prefer this ecological way to fight insects that destroy the trunk and the fruit.

In Greece, at Easter time everything gets whitewashed: the houses, the trees, the stone steps, the stone fences and anything that looks like it needs a bit of freshening up. It is strongly associated with traditional Mediterranean architecture going back to Ancient Greek and Roman days.’


‘What you see as “white” paint, in fact is a mixture of 10% copper sulphate hydrate plus an 10% slaked limestone (calcium hydroxide) diluted in water. The active ingredient, that prevents pathogenic bacteria and fungi from entering in the plant, is the copper ion itself. Not the sulphate, not the calcium, neither any mambo jumbo. Copper is toxic to most bacteria and to a huge number of fungi, but not all. Limestone is used to adhere the copper on the trunk’s surface in the long term. A more washy mixture is called Bordeaux Mixture and it is used for spraying the entire plant, including leafs, fruits, green stems, wooden trunk. Bordeaux mixture is made from 1% copper sulphate plus 1% slaked limestone.

Deadly serious fungal diseases can be controlled by painting the trunk, such as various phytophthora strains, verticillium strains, fuzarium spp, botryosphaeria spp, eutypa spp, esca disease, phomopsis desease, and some diseases caused by varieties of the bacteria Pseudomonas.’

Group presentation Task

As a group of three (two product designers and one artist designer maker) we decided it best that we split to carry out our own research into the White Painted Trees of Kefalonia  to begin with and then rejoin to share our findings and discuss the direction in which the research may take us.



Ecological thinking –



I think this week was the turning point for me in really understanding and getting to grips with the study groups focus – particularly after reading the extract from ‘Sustainable by Design’ by Stuart Walker, everything seemed to click and gel together. I was able to appreciate and understand the text from no longer only my previous perspective, from an undergrad Product Designers point of view, but, now from all three  animistic, naturalistic and ecological perspectives too. It was as if I was reading the text with a whole new light and from that, able to begin deciding where my personal perspective and views sat between the three. Although maybe at the beginning, I couldn’t  get my head around perhaps some of the animistic views and theories for example, although its still likely that I won’t ever believe in this way, I can now understand and appreciate this way of thinking and am able to embed this within my thought process when analysing a text or an object.



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