In dialogue with the environment: The environment, creativity, materials and making

Maarit Mäkelä, Bilge Merve Aktaş

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
388 Downloads (Pure)


In a making process, a craftsperson starts a dialogue with the environment, tools and materials that are essential to their professional practice. During this materially and bodily entangled process, the act of making is thinking per se: the forming of the material emerges through the interaction with the material and is thus simultaneous with, and intrinsic to, the creative process itself. This article presents a practiceled case study of material thinking in the context of contemporary ceramics that one of the authors experienced during a research period in New Zealand. By utilizing walking along the changing landscapes as a creative method, as well as interacting with local practitioners, the craftsperson collects natural minerals and follows the material’s flow, letting it actively shape the creative events. The encounter with soil-based materials in their different forms and working with them in renewed ways reveal how the material’s behaviours influence the craftsperson’s thinking and making. This study shows that walking can facilitate the entanglement between the craftsperson’s knowledge and newly discovered materials, generating emotional and dialogical relationship with the environment, including human collaborators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-34
Number of pages26
JournalCraft Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • artistic research
  • clay
  • collaboration
  • craft
  • process
  • soil
  • walking


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