Narratives of Soil was awarded the Connections Through Culture Alumni Grant to build on its research project that explores the cultural and artistic significance of mud in design.

The research project's phase 2 allowed UK designer, Eliza Collin and Malaysian Architect, Wendy Teo to carry out an additional four workshops and public engagements, an updated publication and exhibition, as well as a soil recipe.

Maria Roy and Sean T Ross ran a Living Sculpture workshop and shared material recipes and craft techniques used to build the participants’ living sculptures. The end products of the workshop are made from earth, embedded with both compost and wildflower seeds, designed to provide a scaffolding for a range of wildflowers and meadow grasses. The outcome of the workshop was quite fruitful as for the following weeks Narratives of Soil team has been receiving updates from the participants on the growth of their living sculptures.

Through a breakdown of rammed earth building process, the Rammed Earth workshop instructor Iqbal Hashim guided participants in mastering how to build with soil. The earth building workshop involves several processes, form board building, (8-part) soil mixing with (2-part) sand and (1-part) concrete with adequate amounts of water, the earth ramming and the earth block curing. After the participants finished the first part, we shall leave the earth block to dry for another 3 days for it is stronger structurally.

As the process of recipe finding requires rigorous quality assessment, a few Soil Recipe workshops were ran to experiment and structurally test to optimise the recipe for achieving higher structural integrity. In achieving so, Wendy Teo Atelier continued the exploration on integrating a range of material like yeast, baking powder, hydrated lime and dolomite in the tested soil recipes experimented from previously. This workshop involved mould making for the geometry of the brick, recipe testing and mixing with the final products dried with either baking or air-dry. Once the bricks were made, the difference in the brick weight and strength were recorded.

The project also carried out a second in phase 2. In the first 3D printing workshop, a constraint amount of soil that can be used in the 3D printer customised with a syringe pump, limiting the size of the printed objects. In response to the issue, a technical partner, Proteus 3D printing team was invited to collaborate to optimise their 3D printer model, enabling a longer printing time and the size of the printed product. In this prolonged investigation, Proteus team explored this optimisation through the replacement of hardware and material.

All new project outcomes are currently presented at Think & Tink Kuching, Malaysia or visit the project webpage for more info, the virtual exhibition, podcasts and publication.

Discover more Connections Through Culture collaborations here.

Check out the opportunities from British Council here.