Atelierista: What are the most basic studio materials?

Over all the years I've been studying studio practice I've thought about materials a lot. What can materials do? Are they worth having in the school? From an excellent video produced by the English Recycling Center houseofobjects, I learned about the idea of "intelligent materials"- can a material be transformed into something else? I've come to see a difference between using materials for fun, like in crafting, and using materials as a thinking tool, a way of researching.

So, what are the materials that are the most basic in terms of studio thinking and learning? This is useful to think about not only for a main studio but maybe even more for mini-studios in classrooms, where there isn't as much space or time.
Here is a list of supplies for mini-studios I put together for the classroom teachers at Sabot. What do you think? Would you do anything different?

• Drawing pencils and thinking pens, crayon or pastels, colored pencils or
markers (thinking pens are black felt tip markers)

• Paintbrushes and tempera and/or watercolors

• Paper , journals and/or sketchbooks for drawing and painting

• Clipboards for drawing outside (or sketchbooks)

• Hole punchers

• Wire for modeling and ‘drawing’

• Adhesives; white glue and glue gun, stapler, sewing kit, tapes such as scotch, duct and masking tape

if possible-
• Modeling material and tools (either natural or modeling clay)

• Constructing materials; Paper, cardboard and/or recycled materials

• Light box, table overhead or powerpoint projector and translucent materials

• Recording equipment such as video and still camera, sound recorder

• Computer with image/video/sound editing capability

• materials or space for movement and music making

• Basic tools ; hammer, drill, matt knife, small saw, clamps

• Storage; shelving, baskets, trays, jars, etc.


  1. The children at our school are currently engaging with satin materials and it seems to have a very soothing feeling. Their play is about family and they tend to get very close to each other when using this type of fabric. I am constantly researching and wondering? Animals prints vs., different textures and prints.....How will it effect their mood? their play? their emotions.....?

  2. strings, cords, twines, embroidery flosses, yarns...things of that nature....


Please do comment!