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Moth’y weekender!

After month’s developing within our Covid-enforced cocoon, this coming weekend our ‘Moths to a Flame’ project will emerge in splendid glory. There are many ways to get involved….

Watch Moths (to a flame)

Join us via Zoom for our monthly double-bill ‘Watch Moths’ event. 

Friday 25th 8-9pm & Saturday 26th 8-9am

This month we will visit Plymouth Energy Communities solar array at Ernesettle, finding out more about the technology and ecological diversity. We will also visit our moth experts across Devon as they set up their traps, and return on the Saturday morning to see their stunning mothy visitors!

Plymouth Art Weekender

Visit us at The Plot on Union Street, 11am – 4pm.

We will have an installation of UV lit moths and AR Moths, solar artworks, and free activity packs and moth-friendly plants to take home with you.

We’re collaborating with Pollenize CIC and Plymouth Scrapstore to promote the importance of pollinators, and with Plymouth Energy Community to generate conversations about our relationships with energy. Pop along to find out more!

Our hosts, Nudge Community Builders, will be carefully controlling numbers in the venue to ensure safe social distancing. Please wear a mask or face shield.

Plymouth Art Weekender is a city-wide event with lots of venues to visit. Find out more at

Plymouth Art Weekender 2020. 25th-27th September

Other ways to get involved with the #MothsToAFlame project include:

  • Writing a moth or energy themed poem and submitting it to our poetry slam…. there are some rather lovely prizes! Deadline 16th October. More info here.
  • Decorating your AR moth colouring sheet, bringing it to life using the app, then sharing your recording with us. More info here.
  • Ordering your copy of ‘The Moth’s Whisper’ illustrated story book, here. 
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Community workshops : Solar Stars!

Over the last couple of months we’ve been developing a rather special project with Fiona from The Factory at Knowle West Media Centre. Their Walk of Hearts and Stars project will remember local people lost during the Covid -19 lockdown (hearts), and celebrate those who have gone above and beyond to help the Filwood community during these difficult times (stars).

We’re very excited to be working on the stars… and have come up with a plan for 28 solar-powered colour-changing illuminated artworks, which will be decorated by Filwood residents through a socially-distanced online workshop!

We’ve put together creative packs including a perspex star, vinyl stickers, paints, inspiration sheet and instructions. Local residents signed up through eventbrite to join us at a zoom workshop event (recorded so that it could be shared with those unable to join us on the day).

Each participant will reverse-paint their design onto their perspex star, which will be collected and returned to us. We will remove the vinyl stickers to create windows in the paintings, add solar cells and electrical components. The team at The Factory have designed beautiful wooden laser-cut star frames… it’s all a wonderful heart-warming team effort!

The design is based on Jenny’s ‘Lockdown Location’ artwork, though in this case we’ll be jazzing things up with colour-changing LEDS… adding a magical twinkle to highlight the special stars who have been nominated for their amazing actions!

The stars will be exhibited in Filwood as part of a community event in the Autumn.

If your interested in running a solar artwork project then do get in touch: email We’re happy to adapt our existing workshops to suit your situation… we certainly never imagined that we would be running workshops by Zoom, but our Cooperative project proves that it can be great fun!

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Watch Moths (July) – Poetry!

At this months WatchMoths we met a dazzling array of Devon moths, plus Art and Energy introduced their augmented reality colouring sheet…

…but I have to say that my highlight was the poetry provided by poet and Art and Energy Collective member Matt Harvey.

On the Friday evening we were treated to a short film of Matt reading ‘Moths to a Flame’, a poem that he wrote especially for the project. He then invited the audience to send him their moth-inspired words as we watched our moth’ers open their traps and reveal their catches on Saturday morning. With barely any time, Matt combined these words and then performed ‘Watch Moths’, a crowd-sourced poem!


If you feel inspired to write your own prose about moths and/or energy then we’ve got great news…

…we’ve launched the Moths to a Flame Poetry Competition.

It’s free to enter and there are prizes! More info here.

The next Watch Moths  is on the 21st & 22nd August. Tickets are available here.

If you missed July’s Watch Moths then please click on the videos below to watch in your own time.

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International Day of Cooperatives

Did you know that Saturday 4th July 2020 is the International Day of Cooperatives? We think that our Moths To A Flame project is a great example of a cooperative in action, one which has grown significantly over the last few months as we’ve nudged the project to include more digital content.

The Art and Energy business model is a fairly informal collective. We have members and partners with knowledge and experience in all sorts of areas: from Plymouth Energy Community who are proactively seeking change in our domestic energy situations, to Dave and Jo at Lasercutz who are helping us cut solar cells to re-imagine solar panels as beautiful solar artworks, and Miranda who has written and illustrated a beautiful children’s book for Moths to a Flame. One thing that we have in common is a growing concern about the climate crisis, and a desire to see change to benefit our environment. Together we hope to make a difference.

Over the last few months Covid-19 has meant that our meetings have all been held through a computer screen. We have become increasingly confident and fluent in conversing by email and Zoom, but we’ve really missed being able to get together to create and catch up over a solar artwork project and cup of tea! When our partners at PEC told us that the International Co-operative Alliance had chosen the theme of ‘Climate Action’ for 2020, we wanted to do something fun to celebrate and join in… the International Day of Cooperatives has given us the perfect opportunity to get creative  again!

Jenny put together little creative packs that went out in the post to eight of our collective. We then met up one evening via Zoom for a project update and a bit of a tutorial. Each participant painted a moth onto a square of glass, then returned them.

The next stage is to add solar cells nestled within the moth paintings, then combine them to create a single large interactive solar artwork. In the next week or so Jenny will send creative packs out to more of our collective… if there’s one thing it’s made us realise it’s quite how many amazing people we’re working with, this cooperative artwork is set to grow!

As with most of our projects the final piece is already evolving, but that’s the joy of having lots of lovely people cooperating together creatively!

This mini-project was inspired by a conversation with Plymouth Energy Community, who have funded the short film to be released on International Day of Cooperatives, 4th July 2020.


Development of the project has been funded by Arts Council England through Jenny’s individual grant. We have found a way to work at a distance, plus Jenny’s using this opportunity to experiment further with the electronics powered by our cooperative solar artwork… keep an eye out here for further progress reports!

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Make your (solar) future with the Crafts Council

We’re thrilled to announce that Art and Energy director Jenny Ayrton has been selected to be part of the Crafts Councils exciting ‘Make Your Future’ project.

Jenny will be working with pupils from two Cornish secondary schools to create solar artworks around the theme of sustainability. 

Jenny Ayrton with moth solar artwork created at Penryn 2019

What is 'Make Your Future'?

The Crafts Council is a national development agency, championing craft in the UK. This is the 4th year of ‘Make Your Future’, their project bringing together secondary schools, makers and expert partners to reignite a passion for making in schools, and to tackle some of the challenges faced by craft education.

Previous years have focused on Yorkshire, Birmingham and London, with crafting heritage themes. This year eight secondary schools have been selected from across Cornwall, and makers have been encouraged to focus on sustainability, both in terms of the materials and techniques used, and the subject of resulting artworks. The students’ creations will be exhibited at Falmouth University this summer, sign up to our mailing list to find out more details as they’re confirmed.

crafts council_lowres

What will the students make?

In each of the two schools Jenny will work with the students to create a pair of solar artworks… paintings that create a charge! These will return to the schools after the exhibition to create a lasting legacy: staff and students will be able to use them to charge USB batteries for school equipment.

Each cohort of students will also create a collaged ‘energy landscape’: a collaborative visual reflection of eco-issues such as how they consume electricity, and the ways that they can see this being generated in the landscape around them (lots of lovely big wind turbines for example!). They will be encouraged to find out more about eco-projects in their local area, particularly ones where they can get involved to make a positive change. The resulting artwork will include LEDs and small motors that can be powered by their solar artworks.

The students will learn to solder (tabbing-up cells and copper-foiling glass), engrave glass, reverse paint glass, and create simple electronic circuits. Art & Energy CIC is all about experiencing our energy system in a creative, tactile, fun and engaging way… this project should do that!

Where can I find out more?

More information about the ‘Make Your Future’ project can be found at

Jenny will blog here with updates over the next few months. If you are interested in hosting a similar project, or have any questions about her workshops then please do email us, we would love to hear from you.


#make your future @CraftsCouncilUK