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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“Exhausted” photos

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"Exhausted" appeared as part of an exhibition of electric cars...

...called "Test Drive the Future", part of Oxford Festival of the Arts and Low Carbon Oxford Week.

It highlighted the issue of poor air quality in cities...

... caused by fumes from petrol and diesel vehicles.

Vehicle emissions include (from L-R): nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon (aka particulate matter), and carbon monoxide.

The "Up in the Air" pop-up put in a appearance too, to highlight the need to think about how to source that electricity.

We made pompoms...

...and more pompoms.

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Thanks to Jenny Carr from Oxford City Council for photos 2,4,7.

“Greenhouse Effect” photos

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Amazing knitting of greenhouse gases from Jacqui...

...hung in a greenhouse to simulate the Earth's atmosphere and the greenhouse effect.

The weather was a bit overcast, but it was warmer inside the greenhouse than out.

The greenhouse was set up in Bury Knowle Park in Headington, Oxford as part of Low Carbon Oxford Week.

It was also World-wide Knit in Public Day, so we had some materials for DIY carbon dioxide.

Children could make pompoms and hang them in the greenhouse to illustrate global emissions and increasing concentrations in the atmosphere.

Amazing knitting from Jacqui...
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Popping up at TEDxExeter with ideas worth spreading

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TEDxExeter - Set-up in the Great Hall

Knit-your-own carbon dioxide

TEDxExeter - View of the Great Hall

Clare hand-waving at a group of school children
Photo: Sue Holden

Talking climate change and flood risk
Photo: Sue Holden

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Talking climate change and flood risk

On 15 April, Clare was honoured to be able to show Particulart at TEDxExeter.

For those who haven’t come across the TED talks phenomenon yet, do check out TED.com.  TED is dedicated to ideas worth spreading. It started as an annual conference, but is now much more. TEDx is a programme of local, self-organized, independent events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

TEDxExeter has been held each year since 2012. In 2016 the theme was “Dreams to Reality”, and it featured a wide range of wonderful speakers. Danny Dorling showed us how different ways of mapping the world can communicate many different hopeful realities. Alan Smith, data visualisation editor at the Financial Times, gave a really engaging talk about statistics are about Us – the community not the individual – and how they can highlight gaps in our understanding of the world, our country, and even our local area. TEDx events also show a few TED talks as part of the programme. Among others, we got Al Gore on “The case for optimism on climate change”. A nice lot of Particulart-relevant material!

The main focus of the day is on the speakers and performers, but there are generous breaks for coffee, lunch and tea, to enable speakers, performers, delegates, sponsors, stall holders, team, and volunteers to mingle and connect. Particulart was one of many stalls in the break-out areas. Others included sponsor stalls, the FabLab hosted in Exeter Library, the Met Office Informatics Lab, and an exhibition of prints from Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.

Clare had some great conversations during the day, especially with many of the school children and young people. She also took the opportunity to talk about her new artwork about flood risk, which was of particular interest to a group from Route 39 Academy in Clovelly, with memories of flooding on the north coast of Devon in recent years.

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The Great Hall during the breaks; we’re over on the right of the image
Photo: Tim Pestridge

Pop-up in Exeter Cathedral

Holy Ground happens once a month in Exeter Cathedral, usually on the second Sunday. The format is a service of Holy Eucharist at 7pm, followed by refreshments, then from about 8pm there is a choice between a silent meditation and a talk or panel discussion.

The evenings very often engage in social issues, which is why this December it was moved to the first Monday to coincide with the Paris climate negotiations, and why the “Up in the Air” pop-up made a special appearance.

The service started by celebrating the beauty of creation, but then highlighted our culpability in destroying much of the Earth we are supposed to cherish. The congregation had the opportunity to make a response, following footsteps around the Cathedral, considering our own carbon footprint, and engaging with the pop-up.

In the second part of the evening, Martyn Goss from the Diocese of Exeter and European Christian Environmental Network spoke about ecotheology and climate change. We had a live Skype link to a colleague of his on the ground in Paris who could give us a flavour of the negotiations.

It was a privilege to be part of it. Here are a few photos by Clare and Sara Traynor.

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Two 'suns' shining above the pop-up at the far end of the Cathedral

The view from the Lady Chapel

Engaging with the pop-up during the Holy Ground service


Video installation in Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral is hosting an “Up in the Air” video installation for the duration of the Paris climate negotiations. I’m proud that it is part of ArtCOP21, the global climate art festival:

Climate change is often seen through a policy or scientific lens, and solutions are discussed only in political offices, boardrooms and negotiating halls. ArtCop21 launched ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris, aims to challenge those tropes. Climate is culture. What is required is the active engagement of citizens worldwide in the urgency, value and opportunities of a transition away from fossil fuels and the embracing of a greener, sustainable future economy.

There will also be an appearance of the “Up in the Air” pop-up at the Cathedral’s monthly Holy Ground service at 7pm on 6 December.

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Photos – Pop-up at the Green Fair

A few pictures I’ve gleaned of the pop-up at the Exeter Green Fair on 5th September.

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Clare talking about something

Stepping inside the 3D graph!

Making pompoms at the back

This photo was taken by the Express and Echo


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.

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Proof that knitting is tactile and particles are squeezy!

Carbon dioxide


Nitrous oxide

Sulphur hexafluoride casts a shadow



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.