The Lab

The Making and Knowing Project’s laboratory space in Chandler Hall at Columbia University is the home to many of the Project’s recipe reconstructions, experiments, student skillbuilding activities, materials, objects, and research results. From verdigris pigment “growing” and cuttlefish bone casting to preserving flowers and golden varnishes, the lab is M&K’s experimental space and workshop.

Please explore the videos below to learn more, and check out the Project’s Youtube channel

The Lab Playlist

Direction and Editing: Lan Li
Production: Tianna Uchacz

  • Tour the Lab
  • Introduction to the Making and Knowing Project
  • Skillbuilding in the Lab Seminars
  • Project Themes
    • Moldmaking and Metalworking
    • Colormaking
    • Practical Knowledge
  • Focus Videos
    • Project Design
    • Colors and Dyes
    • Hourglass San
    • Unexpected Successes and Failures
    • Metal Casting with Toulouse Sand

Tour the Lab

Making and Knowing Project Director Pamela H. Smith introduces the Project and the lab space at Columbia University.


Making and Knowing Project Director Pamela H. Smith gives an overview of the Project and its four components: Text Workshops, Lab Seminars, Working Groups, and Digital.

Skillbuilding in the Lab Seminars

Making and Knowing Project Director Pamela H. Smith presents the skillbuilding activities that introduce Lab Seminar students to reconstruction as a research method.

Project Themes

Making and Knowing Project Director Pamela H. Smith outlines the past three annual themes of the Project’s research, and details some of the reconstructions and results relating to them.

Year 1 (2014-15): Moldmaking and Metalworking

Year 2 (2015-16): Colormaking

Year 3 (2016-17): Practical Knowledge

Focus Videos

Members of the M&K team share a selection of Project aspects and focuses.

Project Design

Focus Video on a recipe for preserving fresh flowers and how its reconstruction highlights the Project’s iterative design, presented by Postdoctoral Scholar (2016-19) Tianna Uchacz.

Colors and Dyes

Focus Video on understanding materials through experiments with natural colorants, pigments, and dyes, presented by Project Manager Naomi Rosenkranz.

Hourglass Sand

Focus Video on an unlikely recipe for making the powder used as “sand” in hourglasses, presented by Project Director Pamela H. Smith.

Focus on Unexpected Successes and Failures

Focus Video on the surprising outcomes of making molds from freshly baked bread, presented by Postdoctoral Scholar (2014-17) Donna Bilak.

Metal Casting with Toulouse Sand

Focus Video on making box molds with sand from Toulouse, France, presented by Postdoctoral Scholar (2014-17) Joel A. Klein.