Making Things: Matter is an attempt to recognize underutilized resources in the city of Chicago through making.

Neglected resources in the urban environment typically fall under two categories: natural/wild and waste/surplus

The goldenrod, poor man’s pepper, chicory growing in the cement cracks of parking lots. The wild grapes dangling from vines along the riverside. The decorative sunflowers growing in the public parks.

On the other hand, the perfectly good surplus apples left over at the end of the day in the compost container at the farmer’s markets. Or the milk just barely before expiration date in the dumpster of the grocery store. And the horse manure from stable cleanings.

Various manual processes are highlighted in order to understand and appreciate the labor and time that goes into transforming raw resources into useful goods. Each week I will be exploring different ways of processing materials such as food preservation, seeds, and textile samples. Simultaneously I am also finding new ways to utilize resources through the Turkey Red dye recipe.

Through the discovery and conscious use of free, abundant, and neglected resources in the city, we are cultivating a new approach to place-making that is both conscious and sustainable.


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