As part of a team project with Emma Benton and Jessica Ellerbock, Materra was first dreamed of in response to a very real problem we as a team had all personally experienced. The average college art student experiences a hopeless combination of no money and expensive supplies. Each class requires a new set of tools, and perfectly usable, high-quality art supplies are left wasting away unused or discarded. While many college students participate in a university-sponsored textbook “buy-back” program, there is currently no program in place to buy back the unused portion of an art student’s supplies. This encourages wasteful consumerism, simultaneously impacting the art student’s pocketbook and the planet.
Having identified our problem, we set about imagining the solution—a place where college art students could trade gently used tools and the unused portion of their art supplies (particularly those purchased for use in a single class) for credit toward newly required supplies. By implementing such a solution, we would encourage sustainable practices by repurposing and selling what would otherwise be wasted materials while keeping our prices low through donations and low overhead.