I like constructing things out of old boxes, knitting my own clothes, making my own books and merchandise. I wanted to meet up with people who had similar interests in the home-made element and who would have favourite places to visit to source materials and find inspiration, as well as processes and techniques to share with the rest of the group.
Ten people took part in this project over the two days I ran it, I wanted to have a flexibility to the process to allow people to fit it in even if they were busy. We met the first afternoon/evening in a cafe and discussed our work, making plans for the following day.
The next day we met early at Graeme’s house and had a paper-folding workshop, learning how to make books with no extra binding materials and origami punnets and CD cases. This was followed by badge-making.
In the afternoon we began our visits. We had decided to focus on East London today so first we went to Shoreditch City Farm, this was followed by Prick Your Finger, on Globe Road, where Rachael Matthews greeted us and showed us around her shop. We had a look around Concrete Hermit and we finished up at BookArtBookShop, having to forgoe the robot exhibition at the Museum of Childhood and the paper-bag shop that we had heard so much about.
Here is what some of the participants said:
I took part in Matthew’s DIY project becasue it was a good, practical way to
discover more about available resources from other london-based artists with similar practices to my own. I thought the fliexible structure of the sessions was ideal making it possible for me to participate during a very busy time, while creating a great environment for sharing ideas and swapping information. I learned some very useful things.
From learning how to make CD cases, envelopes and booklets out of A4 sheets of paper to strolling through Shoreditch City Farm, and from wandering through bookshops to visiting haberdasheries, I definitely had a very enjoyable day with my fellow beachcombers.
I hope there will be an opportunity to meet again and maybe discover each others’ local areas as well as sharing and teaching each other specialities of our practices, all of which seemed very much focused on the love of materials and craftsmanship.
I liked that it had no aim of a finished outcome. This way we could all take away from it what we found personally useful.
I like people who make things by hand, I think it gives you a particular practicality, and it was lovely to meet people who make different kinds of work but who all clearly have this connection with and affection for physical materials.
It was delightful - the punnet-making and book-making have made me
terribly eager to come up with a project that will actually use them,
but in the mean time just being able to make punnets is satisfying.
Having people be enthusiastic about shops that I've passed before and
never thought to look in was also great - and though I haven't yet
managed to find the fabled Paper Bag Shop, I'm anticipating with
barely-contained glee the day when I finally do.
This project was supported by DIY 5 . . . DIY5 is a Live Art Development Agency initiative developed in collaboration with Arnolfini and Theatre Bristol; Artsadmin; Colchester Arts Centre; Fierce Earth, North East; New Work Network and China Plate; and Nuffield Theatre and LANWest