Popping up in an allotment shed

Clare was at the Greenbelt Festival over the August bank holiday. As part of a fantastic weekend, she gave a Pecha Kucha talk about her art work, and “Particulart: Up in the Air” popped up in the Allotment Gallery.

There was visual art dotted around the site at Boughton House near Kettering, including three venues in shed down by the lake: the Garden, Allotment, and Potager Galleries. The Allotment Gallery hosted a series of installations from different artists over the weekend. Particulart took the 12-4pm slot on the Sunday.

Clare had a series of great conversations across the ages and genders, from small children attracted by the inflatable globe and hanging molecules that could be swung, to young people interested in data and/or science; from knitters gaining new ideas for how they can use their craft in activism, to a mechanical engineer thinking about communicating data and information, and a psychotherapist pondering the benefits to mental health of knitting and making generally.

Half way through, I was approached by a woman from Radio 4 who asked me whether I would record some of the Daily Service for Wednesday, part of a special week of programmes from Greenbelt. So my voice can be heard reading some prayers halfway through “A Different Type of Power: The Power of Art”.

The mechanical engineer provided one of my favourite quotes: “When I read the board outside, I had no idea just how amazingly cool this was!” My other favourite quote was a throw-away line from a couple of women as they went on to their next thing: “I love Greenbelt!” Presumably because Greenbelt is the sort of space where they can happen upon stuff like bonkers installations involving knitting, chemistry, contemplation, and gentle protest. I too love Greenbelt!

Here are some photos of the shed, with thanks to Sue Holden.

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The Allotment Gallery at Greenbelt, down by the lake at Boughton House.

Attack of the killer carbon dioxide molecule!

What hangs inside and lies beneath.

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Particulart goes to Oxfordshire part 2

A month ago, Particulart was in Wallingford, featuring in Oxfordshire Artweeks.

This weekend, there are going to be not one… not two… but yes OK two Particulart events in Oxford as part of Low Carbon Oxford Week, and they’re both brand new exhibitions and both FREE!!

LCO_Week_A4“Greenhouse Effect”…

…is happening from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday 18th June in Bury Knowle Park, Headington. As the poster says…

Human activity, and resulting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, are increasingly changing the Earth’s climate and our weather.

Come to Bury Knowle Park for a family trip out, and happen across a whole new way of seeing climate change! Explore the greenhouse and knit your own carbon dioxide molecule.

18th June is also World-Wide Knit in Public Day. Bring your knitting and other yarn-based activities, have a picnic, and join in.

Anyone who wants to volunteer a bit of time would be more than welcome. Waitrose next door are kindly providing volunteer refreshments. Please get in touch.

“Exhausted”…

…is from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday 19th June at Magdalen College School. And the blurb…

The scandal over Volkswagen’s cheating over exhaust emissions testing has disappeared from the news, but the scandal over exhaust fumes and poor air quality in our cities remains.

Air pollution as you’ve never seen it before! Children of all ages can make their own exhaust fumes!

“Exhausted” is also featuring alongside Test Drive the Future in association with Oxford Festival of the Arts, with the support of BMW North Oxford.

Particulart goes to Oxfordshire part 1

Oxfordshire Artweeks

A few greenhouse gases and accompanying information are currently winging their way over to Wallingford. They will be popping up as part of an event under the Oxfordshire Artweeks umbrella.

Artist Janey Carline, who set up Everyone’s An Artist, is teaming up with Sustainable Wallingford on 14 May to celebrate their work and the planet, and then opening her studio and garden over 14-19 May.

We’re looking forward to seeing what she does with carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Paris Agreement :: Climate action?

Today, 22nd April, is Earth Day, and the day 171 countries signed the Paris Agreement. Back in December, the agreement was met with muted approval.

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP in the South West, welcomed it

What the Paris climate deal means is that the global economy has moved away from the fossil fuel era and onto a path towards a clean energy future. Making this transformation a reality will require widespread changes to the way we live and work, but before embarking on that endeavour we should take a moment to celebrate this unique and groundbreaking success for genuine global co-operation.

I am also delighted to see the ambition to keep temperature warming within 1.5° coming back into the agreement alongside a commitment to return to the targets set today on a regular basis to ensure that policies become more ambitious over time.

… but climate activist Bill McKibben of 350.org asked: “the pistol has fired, so why aren’t we running?”

At the moment the world … continues to pretend that merely setting the goal has been work enough for the last two decades. Its “training plan” – the text that negotiators agreed on in Paris – is a go-slow regimen that aims for a world 3.5C warmer.

So what is McKibben saying now? In an interview for Daily Kos, he spoke about the science and the rise of movements:

Less optimistic about the science—it’s happening much faster, and with more weight, than we thought it would. The last six months have been devastating—temperatures setting every possible record [see this NASA news release], … the highest wind speeds ever recorded amidst devastating cyclones, and new research indicating that we can expect the collapse of ice sheets on a much faster time scale than we’d anticipated.

More optimistic about the rise of movements. Since the policy response of governments has been so feeble, we’ve had to build globe-spanning movements to try and check the fossil fuel industry. And we have. The fight over Keystone has turned into a thousand other fights… And we’re winning a surprising number of them.

In other words, we all have power if we work together. You can take action on climate now.

Raffle for refugees

Artist aid for RefugeesThe fantastic folk in Fore Street Exeter are holding a Cheese and Wine Fundraiser for Refugees, to include a raffle of artworks and craft.

18 March at 7.30pm
Glorious Art House, EX4 3JQ

Donations from artists and makers still very welcome. Raffle tickets on sale now. See the Facebook event page for more.

Clare is donating a carbon dioxide molecule, also under the aegis of Free Art Friday Exeter. The label says:

This 3D knitted representation of a carbon dioxide molecule was part of an exhibition in the Glorious Art House in July 2015.

In “Particulart: Up in the Air”, the Glorious gallery became the Earth’s atmosphere, as greenhouse gases hung in space around an inflatable globe. But the gases were also hung according to three pieces of data, so the gallery was also effectively a 3D graph complete with axes.

Because climate change is happening over such a long time-scale and the potential impacts are so huge, many people switch off and pretend that there is no issue. Knitting is a way of bringing it back down to earth.

But the effects of climate change are already with us. There is good evidence that it intensified the prolonged drought in the Middle East in 2006-10. The collapse in agriculture was one factor that sparked the unrest in Syria.

There was a good article in the Independent that sifts the evidence with respect to climate change and the drought, and the relative importance of environmental, societal and governmental factors. It also looks at previous research into links between major ecosystem change and violence: “any major ecosystem change that would have a negative effect on agriculture could intensify social unrest”.

And then on 1 March came the news of this NASA study, which “finds that the recent drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean Levant region, which comprises Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey, is likely the worst drought of the past nine centuries.” From the report of the study on Science Daily:

“The Mediterranean is one of the areas that is unanimously projected [in climate models] as going to dry in the future [due to human-made climate change],” said Yochanan Kushnir, a climate scientist at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, who was not involved in the research. “This paper shows that the behavior during this recent drought period is different than what we see in the rest of the record,” he said, which means that the Levant region may already be feeling the affects of human-induced warming of the planet.

 

Talk at Abingdon Carbon Cutters

Clare grew up in Abingdon, so offered to speak at one of the monthly meetings of Abingdon Carbon Cutters, the local low carbon group. As well as giving an overview of Particulart and climate change, she touched on craftivism more generally (some of the members were involved in knitting the 7-mile-long pink scarf between AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield) and ozone depletion in particular (her first job was as a student assistant in a team researching ozone chemistry down the road at Harwell).

And she got a bit of publicity for it in the Oxford Mail. Particulart may feature again in Oxfordshire in 2016…

2015-11-18 ACC in Oxford Mail p16

Lent Carbon Fast 2015

You’ve probably heard of Lent fasts: giving up chocolate or biscuits or swearing for the 40 days before Easter. But did you know that in 2014, the Church of England in the south west ran a Carbon Fast? And they’re going to be running another one again this year.

During Lent 2015, which starts on 18 February, the particular focus for the Fast is on the link between our use of water, which needs to be pumped, cleaned and stored; our energy use; and the things we consume. For example, it takes 11,000 litres to make a pair of jeans and 140 litres of water to make a single cup of coffee. For each day of Lent, everyone who signs up will receive a daily email with an action to consider (except Sundays) and a specially written reflection. The Carbon Fast 2015 will also consider broader climate issues, in the run up to the Paris negotiations in December. You can find out more on the EcoChurch Southwest website.

“Particulart” is going to be involved in the Carbon Fast through a new exhibition in Bristol Cathedral called “A Stitch in Time”. Watch this space for timings.

Anyone can undertake the Carbon Fast Challenge at any time of the year. The 40 days need not be the 40 days of Lent. You see, carbon fasting doesn’t need to cost anything. Every step you take counts for something. You will be surprised at how much difference even the smallest steps will make. And then you can keep taking them.