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....


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