Particulart: The art of knitting, chemistry, and gentle protest (2014-16)

Acryclic yarn and mixed media
particulart.org.uk

The original “Particulart” was a partnership with Diana Moore, a local activist, and in collaboration with Benjamin J Borley, photographer. Diana and I wanted to encourage Devon County Council to ensure that the Exeter Incinerator is operated properly to minimise harmful emissions, and to develop a coherent and transparent waste strategy.

I developed the concept further to create “A Stitch in Time” on the subject of climate change. This was exhibited in Bristol Cathedral in spring 2015 as part of its Lent Carbon Fast, and had some really positive responses such as: “I love the concept of this and recognise the need to have these conversations. Thank you for blending science and religeon/spirituality [sic].”

With support from Exeter City Council and the Diocese of Exeter, I exhibited “Up in the Air”, also on the subject of greenhouse gases and climate change. And with support from RegenSW’s “Relight My Fire” festival, I created a pop-up version of the exhibition. This has also appeared at TEDxExeter, Exeter Green Far, in Exeter Cathedral and at Exeter University, and featured on ArtCOP21 the global climate art festival.

“Particulart: Up in the Air” comprises 3D knitted representations of greenhouse gases causing climate change, hung in a 3D graph according to data on global warming potential, lifetime in the atmosphere, and concentration. The original exhibition also included the data and interpretation; a knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop and materials; games including variations on Happy Families and Top Trumps; and the accompanying website encourages political and personal responses.

“Particulart” aims to engage people with environmental and social issues and challenge the status quo through the power of knitting, science, and public art, and to:

  • Promote public awareness and understanding of the issues and the underlying science, and provoke reflection
  • Spark encounters and open up conversations
  • Interrupt the day-to-day, enable playful interaction, and tap into mindfulness and creativity
  • Appeal to different ways of accessing information, both analytic via words and numbers, and sensory via sight and touch
  • Create a connection between science and the rest of culture

I have retired the “Particulart: Up in the Air” pop-up exhibition and workshops for the time being, but am happy to speak or write about the project.

What will the future hold for “Particulart”? As well as climate change, I’m now thinking about ozone chemistry and/or bees and pesticides. I’m looking for collaborators, so please get in touch if you would like to discuss.

Solo exhibition and collaborations

  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, a solo exhibition at the Glorious Art House gallery, Exeter, supported by grants from Exeter City Council and the Diocese of Exeter, 11-24 July 2015.
  • “Particulart” in the Real Food café, Exeter, a collaboration with Diana Moore and Benjamin J Borley, 13 October to 29 November 2014.

Public visual art

  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up as part of the Fun Palace, Exeter Library, 2 October 2016.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up in the Allotment Gallery, Greenbelt Festival, Kettering, 28 August 2016.
  • “Particulart: Exhausted” and “Up in the Air” pop-up, installation at “Test Drive the Future” at Magdalen College School, part of Oxford Festival of the Arts and Low Carbon Oxford Week, supported by sponsorship from BMW North Oxford, 19 June 2016.
  • “Particulart: Greenhouse Effect”, installation in Bury Knowle Park in Oxford, part of Low Carbon Oxford Week, 18 June 2016.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, appearance at Everyone’s An Artist With Sustainable Wallingford, Oxfordshire Artweeks, 14-19 May 2016.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up at TEDxExeter, Exeter Northcott Theatre and University of Exeter, 15 April 2016.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up at Weather, Art & Music Festival, University of Exeter, 5 March 2016.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, video at Exeter Cathedral, screened during the Paris climate negotiations from 30 November to 11 December 2015, featured in the ArtCOP21 festival.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up in Exeter Cathedral, 6 December 2015, featured in the ArtCOP21 festival.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up at Relight My Fire festival, supported by a grant from the festival, 20 September 2015.
  • “Particulart: Up in the Air”, pop-up at Exeter Green Fair, 5 September 2015.
  • “Particulart: Stitch in Time”, part of a Lent Carbon Fast exhibition, Bristol Cathedral, 6 March to 6 April 2015.

Press

  • “Scientist purls one for cutting carbon”, Oxford Mail, 18 November 2015, p16.
  • “Exeter Green Fair in pictures”, Exeter Express and Echo, 7 September 2015, online.
  • “Weaving is believing”, Chemistry World, Royal Society of Chemistry, 23 July 2015, online.
  • “Exhibitions & workshops”, Exeter Express and Echo, 23 July 2015, p10.
  • “Clare Bryden: Up in the Air”, The Glorious Gallery blog, 22 July 2015, online.
  • “Knitting to demonstrate new plant’s environmental impact”, Exeter Express and Echo, 9 October 2014, p44.

Published material

  • Particulart features in “What is Art?”, Average Art Magazine, 1 December 2016.
  • Particulart features in “Something Wonderful in My Back Yard: The Songbook”, Quixotic Press, 2015.
  • “The art of knitting, chemistry, and gentle protest”, Power Culture, 27 July 2015.
  • “Knitting and other revolutionary acts”, Third Way Magazine, May 2015.

Talks and activities

  • Talk on “Particulart: the art of knitting, chemistry, and gentle protest”, Abingdon Carbon Cutters, 18 November 2015.
  • PechaKucha 20×20 on “Particulart”, Greenbelt Festival, Kettering, 30 August 2015.
  • Talk and audience activity on “Particulart: the art of knitting, chemistry, and gentle protest”, Pint of Science, The Ship Inn, Exeter, 18 May 2015.
  • Lecture on “Particulart, or the art of knitting, chemistry, meditation and gentle protest”, St Michael’s Lectures, Exeter, 25 February 2015.