Materials Matter - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre of Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

Materials Matter

Workshop series at VISUAL exploring sustainable art materials

Summer 2021

11am - 4pm

Admission: Free

Register Now

Materials Matter, Ábhar Ábhar, are Clare Breen, Mary Conroy and Laura Ní Fhliabhín. Materials Matter is a movement, a container, a holder and a way of thinking, rather than an autonomous project. The aim is to bring together practices and forgotten ways of working that are indigenous, passed along, embellished, reworked, reformed, partially remembered, with the common denominator of sustainability.

Materials Matter will host a series of 6 Summer Workshops at VISUAL, Carlow in collaboration with EU Crafthub. Workshops will be delivered by the Materials Matter group and invited collaborators. These small groups will come together to explore methods and recipes for the production of sustainable DIY alternatives to plastic-based contemporary art materials and tools.

These processes, practices and knowledge are local, publicly shared and open-source. Materials Matter are slowly unlearning our dependence on unsustainable processes of artmaking through researching, playing, sometimes just groping around, and sharing that journey along the way.

Each workshop will take place from 11am - 4pm with an hour for lunch. All workshops will be outdoors on the grounds of VISUAL and the surrounding area.

**Please be mindful when booking that places are very limited. If you cannot attend please let us know so we can offer your place to someone else.**

Workshop 1

24 July 2021
Making Pigment, Ink and Paint from the Natural Landscape - led by Kari Cahill

Kari Cahill will introduce processes for making natural inks and pigments from the landscape, foraged from the grounds at VISUAL. Kari will introduce a number of extraction methods.

Workshop 2

31 July 2021
Paper making - led by Claire Mc Cluskey

Claire will explore papermaking as a remarkably accessible technique, using dekkels and D.I.Y. frames you can make at home using recycled materials. Using the waste streams of VISUAL, including organic matter, paper and fabric waste, Claire will introduce a number of methods for papermaking as a way to process waste to give unexpected and beautiful results.

Workshop 3

7 August 2021

Clay processing and making - led by Mary Conroy

Mary will show a selection of some found clays both fired and unfired and will introduce strategies for sourcing local clay. Weather and conditions permitting, it may be possible to also dig some wild clay in the vicinity with the group. Participants will learn what to look out for when processing wild clay and will make clay objects using hand-building techniques. These clay pieces will be fired at Workshop 5 on 21 August at VISUAL.

Workshop 4

14 August 2021
Charcoal making and expanded drawing - led by Laura Ní Fhliabhín

Laura will begin the workshop by making charcoal, and homemade drawing tools. Following this, using paper and inks made in workshops 1 and 2, Laura will lead a workshop on expanded drawing, introducing many different techniques for drawing and mark-making and using a wide variety of materials.

Workshop 5

21 August 2021
Clay Firing - led by Mary Conroy

In this workshop participants will utilise a basic bonfire technique for firing clay, explore some surface treatment techniques for clay objects and fire clay pieces made during Workshop 3.

Workshop 6

28 August 2021
Receptacles and bringing ideas together - led by Clare Breen

Clare will link Materials Matter’s practice to theory and the real world including incorporating the work made during these workshops into VISUAL’s materials store. Participants will be invited to make receptacles using natural materials and to discuss how institutions can incorporate more sustainable practices in realistic ways.

For more information on Materials Matter visit

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