Material Matters

If you ever wondered….. What is a foam? How do materials break? Can you weave with stone? What makes a material strong?....... And are fascinated by glass!

A Two-Part Workshop exploring Materiality run by Laura White with Fine Art students from Goldsmiths College. Starting with Martin Conreen's library of materials to blowing your own glass. 

We all engage with materials in one way or another - everyday and in our art practice. Some of us have a hands on approach while others may interact more from a distance.

This project is about paying attention to materials.

Materiality as the subject rather than a vehicle for the non-material and theoretical.

When we work with a materials - paper, clay, fabric, paint, plastic, food etc we have to work with it. All materials come with their own qualities, behavior, history, social and political agenda and when we work with a material we have to collaborate with it.  

To unpack and unpick ways and approaches to talk about and explore materiality. The language of materials...

When we come across an object we often don’t think about the material it is made of only what the object looks like and can do. Whereas when we use/make with materials we have to think/engage with them directly - think about their strength, weakness, how they move, bend and stretch etc. The more we know/learn about a material the easier it is to work with it, challenge and exploit it

If we slow down, taking our time with materials, we can begin to reveal so much about the world we live in – architecture, objects, our own bodies… and use these material engagements to generate ideas as well as being the ideas themselves.

Petra Lange-Berndt in her introduction to ‘Materiality: Documents of Contemporary Art ' (Whitechapel Series 2015) she writes:

To address process of making is still associated with formalism, while materials are thought of in terms of concrete, direct and inert physicality, carrying imprinted messages. Although objects and things have been much investigated, this field has not received the attention it needs. For some, to engage with materials still seems the antithesis of intellectuality, a playground for those not interested in theory, while material studies are defined, at best, as an auxiliary science. Materiality is one of the most contested concepts in contemporary art and is often sidelined in critical academic writing.

Materiality has been talked about extensively in anthropology, design, material culture and science etc, and is now being addressed a lot more in art theory.

You only have to look at the breadth of contemporary art focused around materiality to see this exciting shift in the engagement of materials.

These 2 session will look carefully at materials and require us to think about how this can impact on our lives and work as artists.

Exploring Materials with Martin Conreen
Thursday 26th April, 2-5pm. Goldsmiths College.
Martin Conreen, the director of the Institute of Making UCL, and lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths will take us through his library of materials – from the lightest material in the world to invisible objects. This hands-on workshop with extraordinary materials will challenge material preconceptions and unravel relationships and negotiations with the stuff/matter we encounter every day.
Glassblowing with Ricky Keech
Thursday 25th May, 10-6pm. Goldsmiths College.
Professional glassblower Ricky Keech will set up his furnace outside the ceramics hut for a day in the summer term, where you will get to blow glass. Ricky is a professional glassblower with enormous experience with all things glass… He will teach you how to blow glass - from melting matter to final solid objects.