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MaDe Participant

Kate Langrish-Smith

LIMBECTAN A blend of words using Limber and Humectant - so meaning flexible and moist

Slipping between the notions of fashion and art, Kate’s practice crosses disciplines: contemporary fashion object, ceramics and sculpture. Using casting and mould-making techniques in ceramic and synthetic compounds, mixed media, colour, material assemblage, balance and performance. She is interested in sculpture and adornment as methods of representation in dialogue with the body and explores the semiotics of objects and the concept and physicality of touch and desire. 

Based in Sheffield she is Associate Lecturer on the MA Design at Sheffield Hallam, a role that enables her to communicate her passion for materials and sustainability through education. She has a studio at the Yorkshire Art Space, where she is enrolled on their Ceramics Starter Programme.

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Project Information
Material Qualities
Grey, Flexible, Matte , No smell, Smooth with a slightly granulated texture from the hemp and clay (I used slightly chamotted/grogged dry clay which is what I had waste of in the studio).
Material Recipe
Agar agar bioplastic: Glycerine 2g Water 40ml Agar 1.6g. Clay paste: Dry clay powder 5g Water. Waste Hemp Fibres
Material Application
The hemp is waste from the making of fibre process and the agarose is an naturally occurring plant based gelling agent - creating a vegetable and mineral based recuperated product. The clay being simply unfired clay collected from my studio - dried out clay that can be recuperated back into the clay once enough has been collected. A non animal based product.
Plastic bottle houses for Sahrawi refugees in Algeria designed by Tateh Lehbib - idea of community lead building within camps.

Material Method
Clay: Needs to be dried out and pounded into a powder if in big lumps - I just let it dry out naturally, then bashed it with a rolling pin to create a powder. [There is generally a lot of ‘waste’ or unused and unfired clay in potters studios - either waiting to be recuperated or never being recuperated. A lot of people don’t recuperate clay as it is time consuming]. Agarose bioplastic:Needs to be heated on a hob - so electricity or gas is needed. Needs to be dried out a bit which can be done naturally or in a de- humidifier then pressed to bind the materials into a sandwich. Hemp waste fibres: Need to be combed - which was done by hand.
Material Narrative
LIMBECTAN is currently a flexible, moist matte ’fabric’ sample that can stay flexible if kept moist The material attempts to negotiate the need to fire clay to high temperatures and uses elements of its plastic properties combined with the moistness, flexibility and strength of the agarose and hemp. Relying on the moisture present in its potential surroundings and application methods or from the simple application of water to maintain it qualities. If it does dry out it can be rehydrated. It is an unusual material in that it is flexible and still somewhat moist - but doesn’t leave much residue when handled. I have only created flat samples between 1-2mm thick, which can be cut.The process of laminating the fabric to create bricks or thicker tiles could be explored.
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MaDe, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of The European Union, aims at boosting talents towards circular economies across Europe partnering with design and cultural institutions, Elisava, Ma-tt-er and Politecnico di Milano.

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