Materials Matter

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting artists Clare Breen, Mary Conroy, and Laura Ní Fhlaibhín for three consecutive days. This short residency was our first time hosting anyone after an extended closure, and it was great to see the studio once again brimming with activity.

We are particularly fond of this collaboration as their work is focused on creating a more sustainable approach to the use of materials in artmaking. We were grateful to discover a gift left behind comprised of some initial experiments. They seemed to be a success as Frank and Rosie’s boys Michael and Emmet began drawing and painting with them immediately. We hope to have Clare, Mary, and Laura back sometime in the near future to work with our gap year students during FieldWorks and again for a residency to continue with their project.

This project is generously supported by ArtLinks. ArtLinks is a partnership of the four Local Authority Arts Offices in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford County Council regions. It is also supported by the Arts Council. ArtLinks provides professional development opportunities and supports for established and emerging artists who are resident in the four partner local authority areas in the South East region.

Materials Matter / Ábhar Ábhar is a collaborative project devised by three artists and educators, Clare Breen, Mary Conroy, and Laura Ní Fhlaibhín. Their individual practices share the common denominator of sustainability and environmental awareness within the process of art production.

We live in a time where we need to change our approach to production and consumption. We have all become disconnected from the mass-produced products we use in our daily lives – artists and their materials are no exception. These three art workers share the desire to develop and disseminate a way of working that not only reflects their own personal commitment to material sustainability within their practices, but a desire to assist others to make art sustainably. This website documents research, testing, developing, and collating a series of methods and recipes for the production of natural and DIY art materials and tools. This resource aims to revive craft knowledge and the use of natural materials while working with low cost, locally sourced raw ingredients.