Book launch, London 2018

Material Perpections
Conversation and book launch, The Royal Norwegian Ambassador's Residence, London, 23 February 2018

Contributors: Knut Astrup Bull    I      Sarah R. Gilbert      I       Martina Margetts

On the occasion of the release of Documents on Contemporary Crafts no. 5: Material Perceptions (Norwegian Crafts and Arnoldsche Art Publishers)

Knut Astrup Bull, Sarah R. Gilbert and Martina Margetts (as moderator) - all contributors to Material Perceptions - had an inspiring conversation about topics raised in the book. Margetts described the book as a "watershed moment" in crafts theory. The following discussion focused on the benefits for contemporary crafts to be valued on its own philosophical and aesthetical terms.


Knut Astrup Bull is a senior curator at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo. He has curated several contemporary craft exhibitions, including Hverdagsliv - Everyday Life (2007), Tendencies 2010, Svein Thingnes: Ceramics 1970 - 2010 and Needle's Eye: Contemporary Embroidery (2015). He has authored the books En ny diskurs for kunsthåndverket - en teori om det nye konseptuelle kunsthåndverket (A New Discourse for Decorative Arts: A Theory of the New Conceptual Craft) (2007), and Modus Operandi - Hensiktsmessighetens estetikk (Modus Operandi: Aesthetics of Appropriateness) (2009) and co-edited and contributed to the book Horizon: Transferware and Contemporary Ceramics (2015). He co-edited and contributed to the book Material Perceptions (2018).

Sarah R. Gilbert is an artist and educator based in Los Angeles. She is currently an assistant professor of sculpture at Pitzer College. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and internationally. Recent projects include Goosebumps, a participatory sound installation and satellite exhibition of the 2017 Applied Art Triennial: Time Difference, in Tallinn, Estonia, and 7 Barrios, a community garden designed and built in collaboration with Valeria Florescano and the students and staff of Faro Tl.huac, in Mexico City, Mexico. Her current research explores intertwining natural history and material cultures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, in what is now called California. Gilbert contributed to the book Material Perceptions (2018).

Martina Margetts' nine years as editor of the British journal Crafts and her decades of postgraduate teaching at the Royal College of Art have enabled a continual testing of ideas about craft. Her focus is on contemporary practice in global socio-cultural frameworks. She teaches, writes, curates, broadcasts and lectures internationally, working with major national and international institutions. She is on the advisory board of the Journal of Modern Craft and the journal Craft Research. Her books include International Crafts (1991), Michael Rowe (2003) and Tord Boontje (2007). Most recently, she has contributed to Contemporary Clay and Museum Culture (2016) and The Ceramics Reader (2017). Exhibitions which she has curated include The Raw and the Cooked: New Work in Clay in Britain (1993, co-curated with Alison Britton), Objects of Our Time (1996/7), Only Human (1999/2000, for the Crafts Council), and Time Machines: Daniel Weil and the Art of Design (2014, for the Design Museum). A recent British-Council study visit to Thailand was the basis for her curation of On the Line: New Perspectives on Craft in Southeast Asia (2017, Aram Gallery, London). Margetts contributed to the book Material Perceptions (2018).