Free Art Friday

As part of the publicity for “Up in the Air” in July, I gave away my prototype for Particulart, the carbon dioxide that ended up a bit too big and time-consuming to knit. It was a bit of a wrench! But I took the opportunity to piggy back on the Free Art Friday movement, and set up Free Art Friday Exeter, with its own Facebook page. The worldwide free art movement has existed for many years. Artists leave pieces in public places to be discovered and taken for free. There’s a much longer explanation below.

FreeArtFriday-LibraryThe lady on Reception in the Exeter Civic Centre couldn’t quite grasp the point of Free Art Friday (“It’ll disappear within 5 minutes”… well, yes) and thought it better if I didn’t leave my carbon dioxide molecule there. So I took it to Exeter Library instead. Here it is in the entrance and café area. I asked whoever found and took the molecule to let me know, but sadly received no response. Maybe it ended up in the bin. Still, it was worth trying, and I may well again. I need to get more artists involved too, so if anyone is interested, please see the Facebook page and get in touch.

The long explanation

By MyDogSighs ’07, from the Flickr page for the original Free Art Friday

Artwork placed on the street for any member of the public to enjoy and take home — go on, make someone’s day! Post only pictures of free art please.

Free Art Friday is not an original concept. There are many artists across the world making art and leaving it out on the street.

There are no rules. That’s the joy! In order to keep a record of exclusively free art you need to make sure the work is easily removable and does little or no damage to its environment.

Some put out canvas. Others use materials found on the street. Cardboard is popular but your imagination is your limit.

P.S. It doesn’t have to be Friday!

The concept of Free Art Friday has many strands.

For the artist, it is an opportunity to create work free from the constraints of commerce, to voice an idea, shout a political message or just amuse and confuse the viewer.

Art is so often tied to a need by the artist to ‘make a living’ and constrained by gallery and dealer issues. FAF focuses the artist on the act itself, giving complete artistic freedom as opposed to considering financial and commercial limits.

Many Free Art Friday participants’ work is humorous and good natured, hoping to cheer up the walk to work of the viewer. Hoping to make them question everything. To expect the unexpected and realise that along with the need to sell, promote, fight the system and rebel, there is also a need to embellish and entertain in a non profit way without the need to cause damage to property.

The act of removing the work intrigues. Almost an act of situationist art itself. Is there guilt? Why is it taken – as part of a street cleaning operation, consigned to the rubbish heap? or coveted and displayed? Are they artists themselves? Kids, willing to steal and destroy purely for the act of rebellion or someone never faced with something completely free, not promoting or selling? After all how many things do you know that are completely free, no strings attached?

All street artists, whether producing static or removable art, hope to promote discussion in one form or other: “Talk about me and my work”, “Question the images thrown at you”, or “Use your political power”.

Up in the Press

2015-07-23 E&E What's On p10I didn’t know whether ‘Up in the Air’ would be picked up by the local press, but the 23 July edition of Express and Echo gave it a couple of inches in What’s On, just before the end of the show.

On the same day, Chemistry World published an article entitled “Weaving is believing”, which mentioned Particulart among other means of representing chemistry in yarn. Chemistry World is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, “bringing you the latest chemistry news and research every day”. Can’t get much more illustrious than that!

If you’re still inclined to see knitting and needlework through that stereotypical prism – all Women’s Institutes and tea cosies – you’d better wake up. Knitting is radical. Just look up guerilla knitting, or yarn bombing: textile-based graffiti of a sort that deserves to give street art a good name. Its potential to register gently subversive protest has inspired two artists in the West Country [alright my luvver!], under the name Particulart, to knit molecules implicated in air pollution and climate change: you can download the patterns and make your own cuddly molecules, should you wish.

And the exhibition was featured in a nice post by Nicky Shobeiry on the Glorious Gallery blog.

‘Sulphur hexafluoride’, ‘Tetrafluoromethane’ and ‘Fluorform’ [sic] might not be words you expect to see as part of your everyday art exhibition, but then again, Clare Bryden is not your everyday artist (if there even is such a thing!). With a background in science, economics, energy and the environment, Clare’s ‘Up in the Air’ exhibit is one with a very particular message about our climate. Below, I speak to her about it all – including the importance of squishy knitted molecules.

Photos – Knit your own carbon dioxide workshop

Diana helped with a workshop mid-exhibition. We had a great time learning a few new knitting stitches and techniques, and though we didn’t finish a whole knitted carbon dioxide molecule, we did manage to make one out of pompoms!

The conversation flowed over a whole range of ideas and issues. Chloe Uden from RegenSW told us about the SWIMBY musical about the Transition movement. It’s going to feature someone knitting in a corner throughout!

Composer Emma Welton brought some hi-tech equipment to record the sound of knitting. Her interest is also in energy generation, so she has been recording wind turbines, hydro-electricity, and large-scale power stations. Looking forward to hearing what she creates out of it all.

Photos by Clive Chilvers.

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Mid-exhibition workshop in the gallery itself.

Knit your own carbon dioxide - a tangle of black and red yarn, needles and patterns.

Following the pattern for atoms. You can download your own patterns for atoms, bonds and moecules on this website.

Oxygen atom taking shape.

Clare knotting.

We didn't manage to finish a whole knitted carbon dioxide, but we did make a pompom!

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Photos – “Up in the Air”

Photos of the exhibition in the Glorious Art House, Exeter, from 11-24 July 2015.

The gallery on the second floor became the Earth’s atmosphere, as particles hung in space around an inflatable globe. But the particles were also hung according to three pieces of data. So the gallery was also effectively a 3D graph. It even had axis labels, because if one is going to be a data geek, one may as well go the whole hog!

The posters around the room supplied the salient data about each particle, and the particle structures and the data also provided the material for some games – Turn Up Trumps and Fair Weather Friends – based on a couple of family favourites. There was a wordsearch too, all available to play nestled among the cushions in the games alcove.

And finally, there were leaflets about the exhibition and knitting patterns available to take away. You can find out more about the issue of climate change and what you can do, and download the patterns and games, on the “Up in the Air” exhibition page.

Photos by Clare and Clive Chilvers.

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The Glorious Art House on Exeter Fore Street. Truly glorious!

"Up in the Air" showed over 11-24 July 2015 in the gallery on the second floor of the Glorious.

The gallery was transformed into Earth's atmosphere, containing eight greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change.

Axis labels at [0,0,0] on the gallery as 3D graph. Well if one is going to be a datageek, one may as well go the whole hog!

The wall posters provided the particle names and structures, and the salient data which dictated where the particles were hung in the gallery.

Hidden behind planet Earth, a glimpse of the games alcove - carpet, cushions, Turn Up Trumps, Fair Weather Friends, Snap, Wordsearch, and more.

Turn Up Trumps

Proof that knitting is tactile and particles are squeezy!

Carbon dioxide

Methane

Nitrous oxide

Sulphur hexafluoride casts a shadow

HFC-134a

CFC-11

CFC-11 and HFC-23

There was lots of take-home stuff. Knitting patterns appeared after the knit your own carbon dioxide workshop, which happened mid-exhibition.

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Photos – “Up in the Air” set-up

Clare managed to get in to the Glorious a couple of days early, so has already set up. Difficult to take photos of the whole room with only a smartphone – need a proper camera with a fish-eye lens! But hopefully these give a flavour of the transformation of the gallery into the Earth’s atmosphere and a 3-dimensional graph via the medium of knitting and chemistry!

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The Earth surrounded by knitted representations of greenhouse gases.

A peek into the games niche, and from left to right: nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, methane.

Comfy cushions and 3 or 4 games for you to play!

A view of some of the info posters, and from left to right: HFC-134a, CFC-11, HFC-23, sulphur hexafluoride.

The knitted greenhouse gases were hung in the 3D space according to 3 pieces of data. Here are the x,y,z axes.

The as-yet empty comments book. Come and have a look!

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Knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop

A5 leaflet - Up websiteAs part of the Up in the Air exhibition, Diana Moore of Particulart and Knit-Stop will run a free knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop.

It will be held on Saturday 18 July from 10am-12 noon, in the gallery on the second floor of the Glorious Art House at 120 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ. Refreshments will be available for purchase from the café.

Materials will be provided, but do bring your own needles and yarn if you would like. You can view and download the patterns used to create the particles in your own time.

Places on the workshop are limited, so please let us know you’re planning to come.

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Download the press release as a pdf

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Embargoed until Tuesday 7th July 2015

An innovative art installation goes on show this week to bring alive the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change [1]. Local artist Clare Bryden has been knitting larger than life versions of the particles and making card games. The exhibition [2], which will be on display from 11-24 July at the Glorious Art House in Fore Street Exeter, is designed to be a playful way of sparking people’s interest in the science and issue of climate change.

Clare said: “This year is vital, as governments are meeting in Paris in December, and hopefully they will come to a ground-breaking agreement on the climate [3].

“Exeter is home to two world-class climate research centres at the Met Office and the University. They are advising the government on how human activity is changing the climate, and what reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need to make to avoid dangerous climate change.

“The government also needs to hear the concerns of the ordinary person in the street. But because the climate is changing over such a long time-scale and the potential impacts are so huge, it’s difficult to talk or even think about it [4].

“Climate change is happening up in the air, and the outcome of the negotiations in Paris is up in the air too. Knitting and making card games are my ways of bringing it all back down to earth.

“I wanted to appeal to the different ways that different people take in information, both through words and numbers, and through the senses of sight and touch.

“This exhibition is a creative way of getting a serious message across. I have knitted carbon dioxide and methane amongst others and I urge people to come along and have a play! We will even be holding a workshop [2] where you can knit your own carbon dioxide.”

‘Up in the Air’ is supported by a Small Arts Grant from Exeter City Council and sponsorship from the Diocese of Exeter.

ENDS

Notes

[1] The Met Office has produced an infographic exploring the difference between weather and climate, what drives our climate and how our climate is changing – see http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/in-depth/climate-infographic

[2] ‘Up in the Air’ is running in the gallery on the 2nd floor of the Glorious Art House in Fore Street, Exeter from Saturday 11th to Friday 24th July. There will also be a knitting workshop run by Diana Moore of Knit Stop from 10am-12noon on Saturday 18th July. For more information and booking, please see http://particulart.org.uk/up-in-the-air/.

[3] “Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks” at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-paris-climate-summit-and-un-talks

[4] “Why your climate conversations always go wrong, and how to make them better” http://www.1010uk.org/articles/why-your-climate-conversations-always-go-wrong-and-how-make-them-better

Contact

Clare Bryden
07794 505707
brydenclare@gmail.com
@ClareBryden

http://particulart.org.uk/
@ParticulartExe

Co-founder Clare is ‘Up in the Air’

On 3rd July, Clare jumped out of an aeroplane in aid of Hospiscare, Exeter. Fellow co-founder Diana made the link between the skydive and Clare’s forthcoming Particulart exhibition ‘Up in the Air’.

Clare writes: “It was touch and go, as my doctor’s form didn’t have the proper stamp, which meant panicked form-refilling and scanning and emailing and stamping and signing and scanning and emailing and printing and stapling. But anticipation gradually took over from stress, and then there was the spiral up to the jump height, the shuffling forward on the benches towards the gaping door, and the moment of sheer panic as I knelt on the edge and was tipped forward into oblivion… and then we levelled out and I could enjoy the sense of freefall for an all-too-short minute.”

If you would like to, it is still possible to sponsor Clare at https://www.justgiving.com/Clare-Bryden.

“Particulart: Up in the Air” opens on 11 July!

GloriousBuy a coffee and cake from the Glorious café on the ground floor, and wander up to the second floor gallery for 3D knitted molecules floating in the Earth’s atmosphere! Interactive card games! Cushions! Data about greenhouse gases! Something for everyone, in fact, including your inner or not-so-inner geek.

The Glorious Art House is at 120 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ. The opening hours are currently Mon-Sat 8am-6pm and Sun 10am-4pm. For the latest information, please see their Facebook page.

It’s all go!

Clare got some excellent news this morning. Exeter City Council have approved a small arts grant towards a Particulart exhibition.

The exhibition will be entitled “Up in the Air”, and will take place at the Glorious Art House from 11-24 July 2015. It will have a number of aspects:

  1. 3D knitted representations of a series of the greenhouse gases that are most implicated in climate change. The particles will be hung in the main gallery space, with their positions determined by three pieces of data: concentration in the atmosphere (width); lifetime in the atmosphere (depth); and Global Warming Potential compared with carbon dioxide (height). The public will be welcome to touch and interact with the particles.
  2. Variants of the games ‘Top Trumps’ and ‘Happy Families’, using data and information about greenhouse gases and their constituent atoms, giving the public another opportunity to participate and interact with the installation, ‘learning through play’.
  3. An inflatable globe showing the physical geography, as a reminder of the fragility of our one planet and its atmosphere, which can also be used in play.
  4. A free knitting workshop, date to be confirmed, open to the general public.
  5. Posters providing the data and more information about each knitted greenhouse gas, and interpretation of the installation, including some guidance on “So what can I do?”.
  6. A book collecting responses to the installation.
  7. A website, which will be both a source of information during the exhibition, and a legacy. It will include: more information about climate change and the data presented in the exhibition; downloads of the posters and games; and after the exhibition, publication of the feedback gathered from the book and an online survey.

The Diocese of Exeter has also confirmed £100 sponsorship of “Up in the Air”. The particles will make a guest appearance at a meeting of the six Dioceses in the Southwest in September.

Exeter City Council Diocese of Exeter

In other news…

The “A Stitch in Time” exhibition in Bristol Cathedral has ended. Clare is speaking at Exeter Pint of Science on 18 May, and has an article on Craftivism in Third Way Magazine in May. She may also be making an appearance at the Small is Beautiful festival in September.