Category Archives: Material Archive

Visual + Material Archive

A visual + material archive is a resource that can inspire you, provide materials for working and be a starting point when you are faced with a new project. In a way, you are making yourself a security blanket. This summer you will need to assemble a box of materials for your use this fall. Keep in mind that an archive is for your benefit and should contain elements that are interesting or inspiring to YOU. It may contain photocopies of images, drawings, photos, favorite text or poems, small natural or man-made objects, found-objects, old paper or written materials, or other unusual materials. Part of your archive might also be digital and contain files that you saved while browsing online.

To get started you might look around your house, what is interesting? What is available that you may not have at school? Remember Alfred is a rural town that can be challenging for artists looking for specific supplies. You might also visit a library, browse the stacks and look for images that capture your imagination. You can photocopy these images for use later, take notes on your discoveries, or even make reference drawings.

You will need some sort of box or file to keep your archive organized and portable. You might use an old record case, tax file, a wooden or metal box, or even a small suitcase. We recommend that you keep it compact since you will be storing these in your dorm rooms!

Spend some time this summer gathering and thinking about what you find truly interesting and you will build a great foundation for a creative fall!

Following are some things to jump-start your collecting: (List is for inspiration only. You do not have to collect all of these items, just things that you find interesting. Feel free to gather things not found on the list. Remember it is for you to decide what is important, there is no RIGHT answer to what or how much your archive should include!)

Any old paper goods: letters, labels, wallpaper, stamps, photos, books, bookmarks found in library books, newspaper clippings, pop-ups, cut-outs, silhouettes, etc.

Images of all kinds: nature, art, landscape, photos, patterns, tracings, drawings (own or others), printed materials (Japanese candy package).
Do not include: current magazine clippings and personal photos.

Collections of images (one example: Natural and Man-made Homes: from bird nests + beehives, to mobile homes + castles)

Small natural materials: odd stone, wooden sticks, salt, dirt, butterflies, animal bones, etc.

Small objects+materials: broken wooden parts, plastic rings, toy pieces, unusual nails, fasteners, tape, string, etc.

Fabric and textiles: unusual fabric swatches, leather pieces, handmade lace, knit object, felt, old costume /clothing.

Research from subjects that interest you: Artists, technology, folk dancing,
space travel, games, poems, etc.

Digital images and sounds: images from eBay or other image resources, sounds recorded or collected, old cassettes, records.

Materials and Tools 2014-2015


Yep!  You’ll need materials for your classes this fall.

First check out the Material Archive post….and get started collecting! Then look at the required materials list for your ‘art kit’  below. You can choose to assemble these materials yourself, or take advantage of the convenience and savings of having the AU Bookstore do it for you. The Art Kit can be purchased online at the AU Bookstore (along with the required book, How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith.) To get them go to:


Tool + Material Kits 2014 – 2015

The Alfred University School of Art + Design Foundations Program requires that you purchase the following list of supplies. For convenience, the bookstore offers the kit at a discounted price, but if you already have many of these items, you are welcome to assemble the materials yourself. In addition, please read the Technology Guide for additional requirements including a computer, camera and other materials.

Materials List:

  • Drawing Pencils: 2 Ebony Pencils, 2 medium HB, 1 4H hard pencil
  • Compressed Charcoal 4 pack
  • 5 Packs Vine Charcoal (30 sticks total)
  • 9B Graphite Stick
2 Bulldog Clips
  • 2 Kneaded Erasers
, a Pink Eraser
, a White Staedtler brand eraser
  • Acrylic Paint: white, black, cad red med, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue, cadmium, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre   ** please purchase artist grade paint.
  • An assorted pack of 5 brushes can be flat and round, should be soft water color type of varying sizes.
1 Bamboo Brush
  • Several wide cheap wooden brushes horsehair (2 – 3 inches)
  • Olfa 9mm wheel lock utility knife (300)
  • Olfa Blades – 10 pack
  • X-Acto Knife with cap (#2)
X-Acto Blades (#2)
  • Box of Pushpins (100 pieces)
  • Pack of Assorted Sewing Needles
Seam Ripper
  • Spool of Thread (Black)
Compass (with extension)
  • 18” Metal Ruler with cork back
  • Hot Glue Gun 
50 pack Glue Sticks
Sobo Glue
  • UHU glue stick
  • Work Gloves
Safety Glasses
  • Tool Box w/tray
  • 1 25-sheet package of 81/2 x 11 photo paper
  • 1 Flash Drive 4 G or higher.
  • 10 pack of DVD’s in cases

And bring a pair of scissors and anything else you’d like to add to your box!