The language of materials

The language of materials

As said in another post – “Every shelf of materials can be perceived as a sentence, every cabinet as a paragraph..” The way we suggest art materials and tools, is actually conveying a clear idea, although we use objects only.

Here is an example of two suggestions of table centers: What is the message in each?


If these setting could speak they would say this: You might like to cut and glue these papers.

One contains colored papers, the other monochromatic ones. Observing closer we can notice that the colored ones are all from one origin and the other group contains monochrome papers collected from different leftovers, including a notebook divider and a brown envelope.

Thus, each table center, although paper, will most likely invite different atmosphere of creation.

Now,  what if we take out the glue and leave scissors and paper alone? What will be created if we leave only glue? what will the invitation be?

What if we take both out?  What does the After Eight box say to you?

Many questions follow: how do you know what to suggest, when? to whom?

How do we choose?

This means we desperately need to know who are the people using the studio and their developmental stage. Are they toddlers or high school students? etc. According to that too, the setting will be organized with visual – tactile messages.

In art classrooms and kindergarten, when groups of children come and go, table centers are crucial. In therapy, we usually wait for hints from the client and follow her as she chooses from the cupboard. Although, if it is a group therapy, we might prepare something.

However, we are always “translating” our thoughts into the language of materials. We are talking and listening to our clients in therapy and in the classroom through the language of suggestions and provocations of mediums.

Are we aware of it in our settings?

Orginizing an Open Studio Setting -PDF







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