79 episodes

Material Matters features in-depth interviews with a variety of designers, makers and artists about their relationship with a particular material or technique. Hosted by writer and critic Grant Gibson. Follow Grant on Insta @material.matters_grant.gibson

Material Matters with Grant Gibson Grant Gibson

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 186 Ratings

Material Matters features in-depth interviews with a variety of designers, makers and artists about their relationship with a particular material or technique. Hosted by writer and critic Grant Gibson. Follow Grant on Insta @material.matters_grant.gibson

    Carl Clerkin on mending and narrative.

    Carl Clerkin on mending and narrative.

    In my opinion, Carl Clerkin is one of the most original – and certainly one of the wittiest – designers currently practicing. He graduated from the now-defunct furniture course of the Royal College of Art in the late ’90s, a time when many of his contemporaries were dreaming of fame and fortune with a glamorous Italian manufacturer. However, he steered a very different – more local – course. 
    His work, which ranges from industrial to fine art pieces, is always imbued with a sense of narrative and not a little charm. Clerkin is also a teacher at Kingston University and has curated exhibitions such as The Learned Society of Extra Ordinary Objects at London’s Somerset House. He returns to the London venue this month with The Beasley Brothers’ Repair Shop, as part of the gallery’s new show Eternally Yours – an exhibition about repair, care and healing.
    In this episode we talk about: his new installation at Somerset House and the importance of mending; the role narrative and humour plays in his work; feeling uncomfortable in the art world and becoming a designer by default; growing up in London’s Eastend; the influence of Michael Marriott; his love of teaching… and his fascination with buckets. 
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    • 51 min
    Juliette Bigley on metal.

    Juliette Bigley on metal.

    Juliette Bigley is an artist and sculptor who creates extraordinary, abstract, but somehow familiar, pieces out of metal. I first saw her work at New Designers, the graduate design show held annually in London, after she left The Cass  in 2013 and, since then, her career has gone from strength to strength. She has a piece in the permanent collection of the V&A; won a slew of awards; written a book entitled, Material Perspectives; and exhibited around the world. 
    Happily she’s also an incredibly eloquent advocate for her material of choice and the importance of thinking through making.
    In this episode we talk about: discovering metal by chance and the effect that moment had on her life; why making helps her understand the world; how different metals have contrasting personalities; her fascination with the vessel; a love of lines and boundaries; her background in music and healthcare; the relationship between music and making; her problem with perfection; oh and swimming the Channel (yes, really).
    It’s an incredibly rich. 
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    • 45 min
    Nigel Coates on a life in architecture.

    Nigel Coates on a life in architecture.

    Nigel Coates is a hugely influential architect, designer, artist and educator. He first came to widespread attention as a teacher at the Architectural Association in the early 80s when he co-founded NATO, a radical architecture collective that published a series of magazines with a unique perspective on the city.

    Later, he co-founded the practice, Branson Coates, and created buildings and interiors across the globe from Caffe Bongo in Japan to the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield. He has also designed a slew of products for the likes of Fornasetti and GTV as well as exhibitions, such as Ecstacity and Mixtacity at Tate Modern. 
    Importantly, he did much of this while being head of architecture at the Royal College of Art. 
    He has just published an intriguing – and occasionally quite racy – memoir. It’s a book that charts the changes in architecture in general, and London in particular. There are tales of extraordinary projects, of club culture and parties, of friendships and loves, and of lives sadly lost.
    In this episode we talk about: his early life in Malvern and his difficult relationship with his parents; his love of Italy; teaching at the Architectural Association and the creation of NATO; working in Japan and, finally, building in the UK; his role in controversial projects such as the National Centre for Popular Music and the Millennium Dome; the problem with developer-led London; regrets about about not building more; being queer and ‘the unspoken conformity of architecture’; and missing his great friend Zaha Hadid. 
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    • 1 hr 15 min
    Richard McVetis on embroidery.

    Richard McVetis on embroidery.

    Richard McVetis is an embroiderer, who is fascinated with time. Each of his, often monochromatic cuboid, pieces is meticulously made to explore the subtle differences that emerge through the ritualistic and repetitive nature of sewing.
    More recently, he has taken inspiration from his family’s mining heritage to investigate a story of race and class through stitch. The artist says that he uses making ‘to understand the world, to give material form to abstract ideas, making the intangible tangible’.
    Richard has shown his work around the globe and has been shortlisted for a number of prizes including: the Jerwood Drawing Prize, and the Loewe Craft Prize in 2018. He currently has a solo show, Shaped by Time, running at Farnham’s Craft Study Centre.
    In this episode we talk about: his new show in Farnham; the joy of slowing down and developing patience; drawing with thread; the majesty of the hand; his love of simplicity; the subjectivity of time; gender politics and embroidery; growing up in a mining community and how that has fed into his work; his other career in retail design; and why he never sews in public.
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    • 46 min
    Elaine Yan Ling Ng on eggshells.

    Elaine Yan Ling Ng on eggshells.

    Elaine Yan Ling Ng is a Hong Kong-based designer and innovator. She founded her own studio, The Fabrick Lab, in 2013, after stints working with the likes of Nissan and Nokia.

    Initially trained as a textile designer and weaver at London’s Central Saint Martins, her work encompasses traditional craft and cutting edge technology, with clients and collaborations ranging from Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat to crystal company Swarovski, via UBS, and a group of traditional artisans in the Guizhou area of southern China.

    Most recently, she has been working with design brand, Nature Squared, on CArrele (pictured), a range of tiles made from waste, or to be more precise, eggshells.

    Elaine is a TED Fellow and has a fistful of design awards, including The Emerging Talent Award from Design Anthology, GGEF’s Eco Innovator Award, Swarovski’s Designer of the Future Award and Tatler’s Gen T Award.

    In this episode we chat about: making tiles from eggshells (not surprisingly); learning to sew at the age of three; her ten pin bowling champion father; learning to love weaving; how maths and data feed into her work; designing student pieces with shape memory alloy; taking jobs at Nissan and Nokia; the changing design culture in China; setting up her own studio; how winning an award from Swarovski transformed her career; and bridging the gap between craft and industry.
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    • 46 min
    Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien on card and colour.

    Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien on card and colour.

    Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien founded their eponymous design studio, Doshi Levien, in 2000. The duo, who are also real life partners and met while studying at London’s Royal College of Art in the late ’90s, came to prominence in 2003 with an extraordinary range of cookware, designed for French company, Tefal. 

    At the time, the pieces seemed different and more than a little exciting, a combination of contemporary European design and thinking from somewhere else entirely. In terms of form, each item was incredibly precise. However, flip the pots and pans over and, on the base, was an unexpectedly beautiful pattern. 

    Since then, the pair have gone on to work for the likes of Moroso, Hay, Kvadrat, BD Barcelona, galerie kreo, Cappellini and many others, creating textiles, furniture, glassware, shoes, lighting, and even ice cream, that deftly combines their contrasting skills, ideas and backgrounds.

    In this episode we talk about Nipa’s relationship with colour and textiles; why card is a vital part of Jonathan’s process; growing up in India and Scotland respectively and how that affected their design thinking; living and designing together; facing prejudice; that initial project with Tefal; and working with Italian furniture giant Moroso.

    Yet, mostly it’s about how two people with different hinterland have come together to create a single vision.
    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/materialmatters?fan_landing=true)

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
186 Ratings

186 Ratings

Sapien Studio ,

Steve Anwar

Brilliant and insightful show. Really helped to inspire my practice through lockdown hearing about other artists and their studio life and work.

crystaltips69 ,

Interesting and Engaging

The Material Matters podcasts are a joy to listen to. They are well researched and thoughtfully put together. With guests from a variety of creative backgrounds I’d recommend them to anyone who has even the slightest interest in art, design, materials and making things.

Rhiannon E-J ,

Inspirational

Such a joy to listen in to warm and thoughtful conversations. There’s a really lovely pace in these conversations, unearthing perspective and offering inspiration.

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