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The Power of Craft!

Solar Cell Photo by Matt Austin

Back in September the Crafts Council invited Art and Energy director Jenny to speak at an online event titled ‘The Future of Craft Education’. All of the days inspirational speakers are available to watch on the Crafts Council’s Vimeo account.

Jenny spoke during the final session of the day which focused on the potential for craft as a cross curricular bridge. This is something that many in the Art and Energy Collective have experienced outside of a traditional school setting; with creative members discovering a new interest in the science and engineering behind solar, whilst those with a more technical background have experienced the joy of getting creative,

In April 2020 Jenny was due to go into two secondary schools in Cornwall to run solar artwork making workshops… these workshops have now been postponed to March 2021 due to Covid.

If you would be interested in inviting the Art and Energy team to run an event in your school or community group then please contact us!

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Peg Moths – Creative fun!

One of the makes you’ll find in our #MothsToAFlame activity pack is clothes peg moths. They’re pretty simple, using materials that you will find in most homes. Here Zoe is to show you how much fun they are!

Zoe particularly enjoyed playing with her moth next to a lamp to cast shadows. This lead to a great conversation about how moths are attracted to light, and the many benefits of turning our household lights off when we leave a room.

Download your FREE activity pack here.  We would love to see your peg creations… share them with us at or via social media using #MothsToAFlame.


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Watch Moths some more?

Watch Moths (to a Flame) with us!

Early on in the face of the Pandemic, when we couldn’t sit side by side to contemplate all that Moths To A Flame could mean we were given funds from The Arts Council and Plymouth Energy Community to support a series of broadcasts about moths and energy.  We called these broadcasts Watch Moths. 

We didn’t know for sure how successful it would be, but we knew we wanted to reach out and show how the natural world, our energy system, the future of this planet is all connected.  We wanted to engage more people, perhaps some that we wouldn’t reach otherwise, to have conversations about moths and energy.  We knew that, although the Virus wasn’t going away, neither was the Climate Emergency.  We wanted to do something positive and creative that would help people feel less powerless and keep their own energy up in the face of change. 

Chloe Uden has been enjoying making moths from homemade Oak gall ink prints.

We have been amazed at the interest in moths.  We have found some watchers who haven’t even noticed moths much before, others that want to record more and be useful in doing so.  We have found artists and poets who have been caught up and inspired by Moths.  And we have encouraged amateurs to notice what moths might fly into the bathroom at night or settle under a cardboard box till morning.  Dave, from Lazercutz of our Art and Energy collective moth-team has even designed a flatpack Moth trap! 

Moth-ers and infinity 

Moth-ers come from a wide range of origins.  Some have been interested in nature since they were 5, others love the outdoors and have been identifying moths for a few years.   There are even artist Moth-ers who are curious about the infinite variety and evolution that has taken place on the planet to create a very specific life cycle of a species of moth. 

This Buff Tip is by Sarah Gillespie, an artist Moth-er who specialises in mezzotints – see more on her website: You can see Sarah explaining some of her work in our August Watch Moths

Our amazing Moth-ers include Devon Moth Group members Amy Walkden, Barry Henwood, all round entomologist and artist John Walters, Butterfly Conservation specialist Richard Fox, nature lover Simon Bates and birder as well as Moth-er, Will Scott  and Wilding Ecologist, Dave Barker. 

Treble Lines – a delicate moth found in Richard Fox’s garden.

Our last 2020 Watch Moths

During our last Watch Moths we flew across the country to Glasgow, where the delayed COP26 is due to be held next November. 

Moth-ers from around the country joined us while we experimented with the technology. To connect us all together.  The energy in the  chat on zoom seemed enough to power a whole new series! 

There was Dan Forman from Swansea University, who entertainingly philosophised about inter-relationships between all living things Dave Hodgson in Cornwall with his dog, Director of Exeter University Centre for Ecology and Conservation, he has been moth trapping and writing music during lockdown – check out Antipodeans . There was a wide spread of RSPB moth-ers and representation  Rutland, the smallest county in England, Rob Cooke as well as Sarah Shuttleworth from Somerset (Mighty Moth Girl). 

The night was wet and cold, but we still had a few jewels who were attracted by the light.


The star of the show with several Merveille du jour (this one found by Viv in Bedfordshire.)

The youngsters from the Baltic Adventure Playground, Glasgow made their own moth trap with Ella Wright, but didn’t catch any moths where the rabbits were kept – better luck next time! 

Next time, next year, in 2021, we hope to come back for more broadcasts like Watch Moths, with new and renewable energy.  See you then!

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Solar Stars : unveiled!

In August we wrote about an exciting project we were working on in partnership with Knowle West Media Centre and the wider Filwood community…. well we’re thrilled to announce that the resulting solar stars are now installed at Filwood Community Centre!

They were revealed at a fantastic Walk of Hearts and Stars event, complete with socially-distanced lantern parade and brass band!


We ran a workshop  through Zoom, where members of the community painted their own designs onto perspex stars. We then added solar cells and LEDs to create solar-powered illuminated artworks. During the day the solar cells charge a battery. At night they twinkle with colour changing LEDs.

The names at the centre of each star are community members who were nominated for going above and beyond during the Covid lockdown this summer.


We were particularly impressed by the variety, vibrancy and love that had clearly been put into each of the 28 painted star designs. Lush!


This year has been very tricky in terms of running creative workshops, so we would like to say a huge thank you to Fiona and her team at The Factory at Knowle West Media Centre who gave us this chance to further develop our socially distanced offering. 

If you are interested in running a similar project then do get in touch. Alternatively check-out the ‘Make your mark’ and ‘solar art workshop’ rewards in our crowdfunder


‘Collaborating with Art & Energy has been fantastic, resulting in a really engaging and informative online workshop session with accompanying workshop packs that were very well received by the participants, and the finished decorated Stars with their solar-powered lights look AMAZING! They have been so flexible and easy to work with throughout the whole process, and really got on board with the community co-design element that was so integral to the project.’ (Fiona @ KWMC)

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Plymouth Art Weekender

On the 25th to 27th September 2020 Art and Energy took part in Plymouth Art Weekender. We exhibited a range of our work to-date including solar artworks.

We particularly focused on #MothsToAFlame, with an installation of UV moths in the aptly named ‘caterpillar room’. The community-decorated moths were accompanied by a soundscape created by Art and Energy Collective’s Ali Pym. She combined poetry by Matt Harvey and Thom Boulton along with music by Dan Morgan to create an immersive atmospheric experience.

We had planned a makers table for visitors to get creative, but were unable to do this due to the Covid situation. Instead, visitors were able to chose a moth to bring to life using the Quiver Vision AR app, and to takeaway a free  MTAF activity packs to explore at home.  Download your free activity pack here and create an AR moth here. 

In this year or social distancing leading to increased isolation, we particularly loved meeting so many  people who were enthusiastic to add their voice to the whisper heading to COP26!

Find more ways to get involved through our crowdfunder here.

Our participation in the weekend was made possible by funding and support from Arts Council England and Plymouth Energy Community.

We were thrilled to be awarded soup funding by Plymouth Art Weekender, enabling us to giveaway lots of Moths to a Flame goodies. The pollinator-plants were particularly popular, thank you to Sarah for  generously donating them.  

We are grateful to Plymouth Octopus Project whose funding enabled us to adapt our offering to the Covid-situation.

Last, but certainly not least, we couldn’t have done it without the support of our amazing hosts for the weekend, Nudge Community Builders.

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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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The Moth’s Whisper

New moth inspired artworks emerge from lock down cocoon in Devon ready to respond to the climate emergency.

Exeter based writer and Illustrator Miranda Barlow has been busy during lockdown writing a new picture book called ‘The Moth’s Whisper’ and it will be publish this Friday with a public reading via Zoom at The Art and Energy Collective’s free Watch Moth’s event.

‘The Moth’s Whisper’ tells the story of Marny, a newly emerged Yellow Underwing moth as she looks for the moon and discovers the world of humans.

Have a look inside the book!

As we are all returning to the world from our cocoons of isolation, we might also see more clearly how energetic and distracting our civilisation is and how much needs to change for us to respond to the climate emergency.

This lovely illustrated picture book is “A strong and clear encouragement for young people to get involved to make a change for the better.” – Steve Voake

What to expect at August’s free Watch Moths zoom celebration

This month’s online ‘Watch Moths’ Zoom event will take place at 8-9pm on Friday the 21st August and 8-9am on Saturday the 22nd August. You can book a place online.

The free family friendly event will explore real and imaginary moths of Devon and includes:

  • Moth trapping with experts from Devon Moth Group
  • New Moth-er Dave Neale who will show how he made his own moth trap
  • Fabulous artworks from Sarah Gillespie,
  • Poetry from Plymouth’s poet Laureate Thom Boulton and the newly formed Mandy Moore Band Club
  • A free augmented reality colouring sheet that you can print off, colour in and get to flutter around your room with the QuiverVision app
  • As well as an invitation for you to participate in the creation of a Mass Participation Art Installation called Moths to a Flame for COP26 (The UN’s conference on Climate Change that’s due to take place in the UK in November next year)!



We invite you to join Miranda and the ART and ENERGY Collective to hear the story of Marny the Moth and find out how to join in this Friday’s Watch Moths Zoom event coming from locations all across Devon.

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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!