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Cockington Court – UV Moths

Make a moth to add to the installation.
We have been transforming plastic milk bottles into moths, check out the videos below to find out more about what we’ve been up to. You can even make your own… then post them through the letterbox throughout November to be added to the illuminated installation!

How to make your own moths!

Art and Energy in residence at Cockington Court making moths!

This video shows us setting up two mothtraps at Cockington Court, and then returning in the morning to reveal our moth visitors… great inspiration for our milk bottle moths!

Do you have any stories or photos of moths visiting Cockington Court?
We would love to hear from you! Email us at, or pop a note through the Cockington Court front door letterbox, f.a.o Moths To A Flame.

For more info keep an eye here, on the hayloft windows and @CockingtonCourt on Facebook.

Download your copy pf the template sheet here

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Watch Moths – Episode 1& 2 – 26 & 27 June 2020

The Art and Energy Collective present Watch Moths, the first in a series of moth watching events that people can join in with live via zoom. (Visit our moth events page for more information)

This event is part of Art and Energy’s Moths to a Flame project which is supported by Arts Council England and national lottery players.

During this zoom recording you will find out about the Art and Energy Collective as well as some of our partners including Plymouth Energy Community and you will find out about the beautiful moths of Devon.

Meet our moth experts John Walters, Amy Walkden Dave Barker and Simon Bates and find out more about how to look for moths near you!

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Oak Gall Ink recipe – Moths to a Flame

I collected some oak galls from my local park with my boys in Autumn last year because someone told me it was easy enough to make gall ink, which is a permanent ink that darkens over time. 

Oak galls a made by wasps in acorns and are also used by some moths after the wasps are finished with them!

Apparently oak gall ink was used by Leonardo da Vinci! We didn’t follow an exact recipe, but kind of made it up as we went along…but here are some pictures of the process which I hope will give you an idea of what to do if you decide to make some yourself!

1 large bowl of dried oak galls – finely ground (we used a coffee grinder)

Mixed with water and left for a week

1 bowl with rusty things in it – soaked in clear vinegar for a week

Use a cloth to strain the water and vinegar together

Mix with a few teaspoons of gum arabic powder.

then you’re done!

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Lockdown Location

We’ve all been stuck at home during quaratine, and through this time, Jenny’s been experimenting with disused garden solar lights that have been donated to us as part of a recent project to make a door sign for Plymouth Scrapstore.

Here is her latest piece Lockdown Location. We’re planning to run workshops when we can all get back together teaching people how to make these fabulous and unusual solar artworks.

Thank you in particular to Kaleider for all their support throughout this tricky period. 

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Moths to a Flame at Plymouth Art Weekender

We’re really delighted to have been given some seed funding from the Plymouth Art Weekender’s crowdfunding event during ‘LockDown’ to help us deliver some Moths to a Flame activities in Plymouth .

This means that we’ll be holding an exhibition in Plymouth during the Art Weekender in Sept 2020 and also delivering 500 free mega moth kits to people in the city.

If you want to know more about this as it happens, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and instagram!

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Success for Art and Energy

Arts Council England fund new research

Chloe Uden, Jenny Ayrton and Naomi Wright were all successful at gaining individual grants from Arts Council England to support their innovative and thought-provoking work.   

While COVID 19 makes other planned collaborative and community-based activities more difficult this grant will help to keep up the momentum in their research and development of their arts practice.  

The Art and Energy collective project, Moths to a Flame, will benefit.  New works will now be able to fly!

Chloe Uden

“I can’t believe it; it’s such a powerful thing being given a grant to explore your art practice and pursue questions that take you to the next level of understanding’. 

 Chloe will be researching solar tech and resins in textiles for new works that incorporate sails or wings.

‘Firstly, I am undertaking some research and development to advance my knowledge and skills of making solar photovoltaics integrated with resin and fabric to enable me to make solar moth wings that generate electricity. I need to explore a number of elements including resin casting, electrical threads, types of fabric, ways to display the fabric and connectors and converters.

Secondly, I am going to document the experience of being in my particular cocoon thinking about art and energy. I’d like to revisit some of the investigations I’ve made into this space over the past few years from the perspective of social isolation and explore what arises from this new view of the world

Jenny Ayrton

‘This opportunity is so exciting, I love reusing broken electronic or mechanical things and turning them into new, working, art objects. I have been meaning to delve into low voltage electronics for ages! Now I can create new experimental solar- and people-powered artworks!

I’m also thinking about how we can present our work via online platforms – this is likely to include Facebook Live and basic video editing apps.

Naomi Wright

‘Well I have been lucky enough to get some funding to research what I can do with Cyanotypes. I will be using this technique, that uses the sun’s energy, to explore life stages of ‘moths’, making cocoons, developing a process that I can be confident about for future fund-raising activities and workshops.

I am also going work with the others on the best online platform to use for moth nights live, internet-based energy consequences and other practical ways forward when social distancing is so necessary.

With this grant I am  being given the time to re-engage with ways to strengthen connections with nature (such as forest bathing) to feed into all our energy based projects.’

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Join us in making ‘Moths to a Flame’ for COP26


You may already know that COP26 is taking place this year in November in Glasgow (UN Conference on Climate Change). We feel like this is a big deal so do our friends at Plymouth Energy Community (PEC). Between us, we’ve started to help lots of people feel connected and involved.




our plan

So, in collaboration with PEC The Art and Energy Collective is planning to invite people to join us in building an artwork called ‘Moths to a Flame’ which will be installed at The Kibble Palace at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens during the conference.

Throughout 2020, thousands of participants will make a glow in the dark moth and record a message for COP26 which will form part of an immersive visual and sound experience in the palace.

The installation will be powered by some extra special solar artworks.

The piece will return to the South West for Plymouth’s Illuminate Festival.

Ways to get involved with Moths to a Flame

We’re planning a whole lot of engagement events to give people the opportunity to join in and feel connected to this exciting event for our future. We will announce these on our facebook pages and our website soon.

We’ll be:

  • inviting people to make moths and record their message for COP 26
  • running moth nights to find out more about moths in our region
  • sending out moths for people who are unable to come to our events to make and send back
  • preparing moth making packs for groups to run their own events and make on their own
  • running workshops in schools
  • delivering drop in sessions at other people’s events 

Drop in sessions allow people to spend upwards of 5 minutes in a simple and enjoyable act of creative hope. They are suitable for small children and adults alike.

Dates for events will be included on our website when we officially launch this project.

If you’d like to host a workshop or drop in session please get in touch!

we’re looking for volunteers to join The  Art and Energy Collective

We’re right at the beginning of this exciting project that will take place across the year, culminating in the exhibition in November

In order to make a real impact with this project, we’ll need lots of help to make it all happen.

We’re looking for:

  • Someone who likes organising events to help us set up and deliver our participation sessions
  • Someone who enjoys working with wood to help us make the solar panel artworks for the exhibition
  • People who like crafting and would be able to help us prepare our moths
  • People who like moths and are interested in moth identification
  • Someone who has an eye for beautiful design to help us get the online artwork right
  • Someone who’s interested in solar power and energy storage to help us connect our solar artworks with the moth/audio installation
  • Someone who understands sound installations and would be willing to work with us to get our voices heard
  • People who can help us tell the story of the participants involved in this project and make a noise so that COP26 delegates know about the project

Our collective is based in Plymouth and Exeter, so ideally you would be based nearby.

Are you one of these people? If so, please do get in touch with us! (Ideally as soon as possible!)


We’re looking for funders to support Moths to a Flame

We need to raise around £40k over the next few months to make the project happen.

This will pay for:

  • Materials to build the installation of moths
  • Materials to build the solar artworks and the storage units
  • Kit to make the sound installation work
  • Exhibition costs in Glasgow and at Illuminate Festival in Plymouth
  • Workshops in schools and other community events

We’re very grateful to LaserCutz who have given their time to cut the moths.

Exeter Community Energy are backing us to build one of the solar artworks with a group of volunteers who’d like to be involved with the project.

So we’re looking for sponsors, and launching a crowdfunder in March to help make the project happen.

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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

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Fab Lab Plymouth set to support Art and Energy through EU programme

We’re being supported by Fab Lab Plymouth through The Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab (an ERDF project) to work with master glass maker and fab lab technician Ian Hankey to explore some of the technical challenges of making solar artworks.

Over the next 6 months, we’ll be exploring the potential to etch and overlay PV surfaces, combine different colour cells, metalise cells in new ways and use concentrators. This will lead to the display of works and techniques along with a how to manual for crafts people.

We are extraordinarily grateful for this invaluable support and we hope will result in useful learning that we’ll be able to share with energy managers, developers and creatives who are interested in pioneering new works with this medium.