These talks, organised by the Materials Research Project are open to Slade School staff and students.
Friday 19th November 10.30am, Robert Rivers, Honorary Research Associate
Nettle - Plant of archaeology, history and present wastelands. An exploration of the art materials that can be made out of the common stinging nettle. Looking at how to make nettle paper and making nettle thread.
Friday 26th November 10.30am, Robert Rivers, Honorary Research Associate
Straw - Rural by product / Romantic material. We will experiment with how straw has been used throughout time as a craft and art material and look at it in relation to the yellow pigments that it has been translated into so often in painting.
Robert Rivers, Honorary Research Associate 2021-2022
I am following a slight path in the woods and becoming increasingly unsure whether it was made by person or deer.
I consider pacing out the floorplan of a half remembered house amongst the trees and undergrowth just as I once chalked it up on a London square.
Landscape with its histories and myths as well as its momentary reality has become an important element of my work both as subject and as a source of materials. Materials gathered on a walk or found discarded by a roadside come to the studio and are incorporated amongst shop bought surfaces and paints. My art materials are often pushed and broken down before being pieced back together.
I am interested in E M Forster's conception of 'the greenwood’, a rural idyll that allows the two male lovers of his book ‘Maurice’ to roam in the ‘ever after that fiction allows’. The greenwood is a place that no longer exists, and maybe never did, but a place I hear an echo of in the materials I find and use.
Material Research Project
From the greenwood – Alternative materials
I will be extending my research into 'the greenwood’ and the ideas of landscape explored by early 20th century artists and writers through a further exploration of the materials I have gathered and found outside for use in the studio.
I will examine the physical properties and possibilities of rural materials like straw, wild materials like stinging nettles, pavement materials like newspaper and verge materials such as scraps of discarded fluorescent work wear.
This research builds on my recent experimental work using the stinging nettle. A plant full of history and myth, often overlooked or avoided, from which the extracted bast fibre makes and has made good thread and paper throughout time.