Material Directions 2024: Memory

The Covid-19 pandemic was arguably the biggest collective event of global trauma in most people’s lifetimes, and dissecting the impact of this experience has only just begun. Remembering those who lost their lives is a crucial aspect, as is the distortion of memory during periods of lockdown. All these elements need to be processed and understood. This story looks at the ways in which memory can make sense of a collective experience.

Storytelling is integral, with photographs and recordings all clues to a half-forgotten past. Visually, memories can have an innocence that appeals; escaping to filtered glimpses of the past will be seductive. As an antithesis to where we are, this is the place we would like to be, a simpler escape to the certainties of childhood.

But this is not the cosplay of cottagecore, instead, there is an almost wistful, yearning quality. We are searching for the lives we lived before, an ode to beloved things, to crowds, to remembering history and place and universal messages of remembered identity.

Memory was first published in MIX Magazine issue 68, and the following material, colour and finish directions explored in more detail in our 2024 CMF Directions.



Ornamental Moulding

An ode to history and place, designers build on what has come before, mining inspiration from classic architectural embellishment and reinterpreting this through a contemporary lens. Adéle Vivet explores memory and storytelling through the functional role of ornamentation in her ceramics.



Hannah Walters’ vessels incorporate ornate leaves and flowers found in forgotten architecture.



Worn Layers

Finishes mimic the marks of age through visibly worn layers. Layered paint creates depth and implies a worn finish in Anne Nowak’s Mirage Mirrors.



A worn finish is implied in David Horan’s daybed, decoupaged using handmade Japanese paper.



Written Word

Time spent recording personal thoughts and creative expression informs this direction. A modern iteration of carving into stone, Zoe Preece records the repetitive duties we enact in domestic settings in her monolithic laser cut kiln shelves.



Willem van Hoof portrays personal feelings of artistic insecurity, celebrating a moment of acceptance in glazed earthenware trophy, “I Didn’t Do Enough”. 



The legacy of stories passed down from one generation to the next is explored in Louise Richardson's piece Ward. Originally a child's vintage nightgown, handwritten tales of the past are stitched into the lining to create a sense of safety for the wearer.



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Image credits from top:

Adéle Vivet | Everyday Ornament, Stool 1 | Ceramic stoneware, pigment, chamotte glaze; Hannah Walters | The Forgotten Locke Series | Porcelain, crank clay | Photo courtesy of Ruup & Form; Joanna Manousis | @joannamanousis | Parr Diamonds I | Core-cast, reverse painted crystal, glass, stainless steel; Anne Nowak | Mirage Mirror; David Horan at Béton Brut | Paper collection, Dragon Skin daybed | Paper decoupage | Photo Genevieve Lutkin; Zoe Preece | Tasks I | Laser cut kiln shelf | Photo Dewi Tannatt Lloyd; Willem van Hooff | I Didn’t Do Enough | Glazed earthenware | Made in collaboration with Tableau for Confessions exhibition; Louise Richardson | Ward | Mixed media