Materials Matter / Ábhar Ábhar

Materials Matter / Ábhar Ábhar is a collaborative project devised by three artists and educators, Clare Breen, Mary Conroy and Laura Ní Fhlaibhín. Their individual practices share the common denominator of sustainability and environmental awareness within the process of art production.


Lye Soap

Make your own soap using easily available ingredients.

Reading time: 4 minutes


Making paper in a variety of ways using pre-made deckles.

Reading time: 6 minutes

Wax Crayons

A very simple recipe to make your own super smooth crayons.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Copper Blue Ink

The alchemy of salt and vinegar to create a blue ink.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Charcoal ink

Crushed charcoal transforms into a rich black ink.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Avocado Ink

Make a rich reddish pink ink with the leftover stones and skins of avacado.

Reading time: 2 minutes


Salt dough straight from the cupboard! A simple dough for sculptural play at home.

Reading time: ~1 minute

Basic Dip Pens

Simple but effective drawing tools.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Drawing tools

Make your own drawing tools from found objects

Reading time: 5 minutes

Clay Processing - Wet Method

How to process found clay using the wet processing method.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Lemon balm and polish

Lemon balm is a great hand moisturiser and wood protector.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Bonfire Firing Clay

Turn your clay into ceramic without using an electric kiln.

Reading time: 6 minutes

Flour Glue

Flour paste, also known as wheat paste is a non toxic glue and great alternative to PVA.

Reading time: 3 minutes

DIY Charcoal

From living willow to drawing tools

Reading time: 3 minutes

Oak Gall Ink

Collecting, drying and processing oak galls into ink

Reading time: 2 minutes