Material Connections, hosted at 49-50 Poland Street, Soho, presented an exhibition and week-long workshop series, curated by Abbie Adams. Featuring works by a group of emerging creatives who look to materials and making to engage in a wider conversation of culture, social and environmental sustainability.
It has been recognised in recent years that craft and making can be a valid and effective way of engaging with people and ideas, from waste streams in agriculture and forestry to the preservation of cultural heritage and redefining of community. Designers are shifting away from an emphasis on direct functionality and are instead instilling narratives through making. In an industry where surface impressions are too often all that matters this exhibition celebrates the inherent integrity of craft-making processes.
The exhibited works are collaborative, bringing together people and materials from all over the world; from ancient glass blowing techniques in Herat, pine bark harvested in Latvia, embroidery from Beit Ummar and garments hand crocheted by 'Kanyogoa' mothers in Uganda. The event seeks to cast light upon practitioners who utilise making as a tool to narrate material fiction and show that shared skill and cooperation are central to creative collaboration.
The workshop series invites the public into each practitioner's practice and their unique approach to material culture: the connection between human and material. The workshop series and exhibition go hand-in-hand, engaging with exhibited narratives through the act of making deepens the commitment to a cause.