Aesthetics of Materiality



The conference, Transformation: Effect and affect of craft in society raise awareness of the role of craft in society in the broadest sense. The presenters at the conference provide perspectives on the many roles of craft in society, and the presentations are each connected to one of the three themes: Exploring craft heritage, Aesthetics of materiality and Technology and craft. Among the 35 presenters at the conference, 10 presenters have chosen the theme, Aesthetics of materiality. Some of them work together. Aesthetics of materiality is in this context about crafted processes, expressions, and experiences. The concept for aesthetics of materiality is largely based on Baumgartner’s definition of “aesthesis” as “science based on the senses” (Baumgarten, 2008). Comprehension of aesthetics can also be pragmatic, developed through experiences and the feelings they evoke (Dewey, 2005). The presenters communicate through various materials and media, and at the conference there will be presentations of a wide specter of unique, crafted expressions, developed using various materials and techniques. Sustainable actions are demonstrated in the presentation, ‘A Beautiful Story of Artistry: Fused Recycled Glass Transforms Waste into Luxury and Sustainability’, by Tyra Oseng-Rees. She describes that the heart of the process ‘lies the mesmerizing transformation of glass into a marble-like material, no longer resembling its former self. Through a meticulous firing process, each broken piece of glass remains visible, creating a stunning tapestry within the material’. Her ‘commitment to sustainability goes beyond the beauty of the product’(Oseng-Rees).

Within the theme aesthetics of materiality conceptual connections are represented. In ‘Aesthetics of jewelry related crafts in cultural contexts’, by Liu Qiwei, the term ‘diversity’ is central. He describes how he uses inspirations from, ‘stacked stones’ to create expressions from his bicultural experiences. ‘It explores how it undergoes distinct and divergent growth patterns when scrutinized through two varying perspectives’ (Liu). ‘Time’ is another concept, here elaborated through Kristin Andreasen’s presentation, ‘TIME: interplay between concepts and hands-on techniques in creative processes. ‘The well’ is an overarching theme of her ceramic sculptures and reflections. ‘Where does time come from? I imagine that for each person born, a well of time occurs somewhere in this or in another world. Some wells are strong and last for a long time, some are colorful, some are pale, some are small, and some are weak. They are as different as people are’ (Andreassen).

The theme, ‘Aesthetics of materiality’ also involves perspectives on the values of dialogue and sharing. In the presentation, ‘TaT – A collaboration in the making’ the three artists Imogen Mills, Shellie Holden and Sian Lester talk about their ‘ongoing collaboration in the making, as we work across three distinct practices related to natural dying, weaving and stitching methods. Through our interaction and engagement, we respond to the rhythms and rituals of daily life, applying and developing specialist knowledges’ (Mills, Holden, Lester). ‘Traces of making – aesthetics of making’ is another project that highlight explorations of ‘lived experiences and how domestic environment can ‘inform and influence our work, the kitchen table functioning as productive space for creative ideas, as we transfer these into our conceptual making practices’ (Brown, Holden).

The presentation ‘Memory of Textile Crafts´, by Louise Ravnløkke and Karen Marie Hasling represents the theme aesthetics of materiality. However, their contribution gives perspectives on education in technological and material understanding. Their presentation will further be described in the next article: Technology and craft.

Presenter: Theme:
Shellie Holden, Siân Lester, Imogen Mills. University of Wales, United Kingdom TaT – A collaboration in the making.


Catherine Brown, Shellie Holden, University of Wales, United Kingdom Traces of making – aesthetics of making
Tyra Oseng-Rees, Oseng-Rees Reflection Ltd, United Kingdom A Beautiful Story of Artistry: Fused Recycled Glass Transforms Waste into Luxury and Sustainability
Louise Ravnløkke, Karen Marie Hasling, Design school Kolding, Denmark How to use Memory of Textile Crafts. Creating a playful teaching material of samples, tools and crafts in textiles
Liu Qiwei, The University of Edinburgh/Craft Scotland, United Kingdom/China Aesthetics of jewelry related crafts in cultural contexts
Kristin Andreassen, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway TIME: interplay between concepts and hands-on techniques in creative processes
Janine Hadley, Wales (Un)becoming: Contemporary Dialogues and Craft Traditions