80 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
    • 4.8 • 33 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

    Majeda Clarke on weaving.

    Majeda Clarke on weaving.

    Majeda Clarke is a weaver, whose work is concerned with identity and a sense of place. She combines traditional techniques from some very different parts of the world – such as Bangladesh and North Wales – with an aesthetic that has been influenced by Josef and Anni Albers. 
    She came to textiles relatively late in life (having previously been in education) but has gone on to win a number of awards, as well as exhibiting at the Aram Gallery, Mint and Fortnum & Mason in London. She has also collaborated with the likes of The Rothschild Foundation and The Citizens of the World Choir. 
    In this episode we talk about: her passion for collecting; why she makes scarves in Bangladesh and blankets in Wales; growing up on a tea plantation; being locked in a cell when she arrived in the UK at the age of five; producing art in lockdown; how the Black Lives Matter movement has shifted her thinking; the pressure of representing; her fascination with regional skills; and encouraging mistakes.
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    • 58 min
    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.
    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/materialmatters?fan_landing=true)

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
33 Ratings

33 Ratings

dept of listening ,


Inspiring interviews with artists about their practices.

Yshsjdjjdjdjd ,

Wow, just wow

Gibson unfurls the vast possibilities our future holds if we’re able to work together as material scientists, designers and sustainability professionals to create a more circular economy of stuff

Homeisaprocess ,

Great interviewer, great topics.

Grant is a great interviewer, who does a lot of research about his interviewees. The level of conversation is a delight.

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