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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 www.crowdfunder.co.uk/moths-to-a-flame-pec

Testimonial

‘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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solar door number 1 – Turns light into electricity

What happens when you combine things that appear to be quite different?

This is what students of combined honors subjects at the University of Exeter have to do every day!

How do you balance competing demands? How do you make sense of things that could appear at first to be opposites? How do you manage your energy and stay creative?

These are questions that we considered when developing this new artwork with staff and students at the University of Exeter.

As we’ve seen through ‘Lock Down’, The future may not look anything like the past – The way we think and feel will change and we have a chance now to build a more beautiful future.

Here is a short film about this new artwork made for The Art and Energy Collective by Lauren Sawyer.

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Scrapstore solar signs

Art and energy are working on a new solar sign for Plymouth Scrapstore

We all enjoyed the first of  three workshops in Plymouth Play Scrapstore to develop a  Moths to a Flame solar sign that lights up in the evening.

Here are Jenny and Rob outside Plymouth Scrapstore and the kit they are using to test out our scrap solar cells.  Are the cells energetic enough to light little LEDs for our new signs?

Like Moths to a Flame we want to play in Plymouth Scrapstore

Our visitors made some glowing moths to add to the development of an installation of thousands going to the big Climate Change conference (COP 26) in Glasgow in November with Plymouth Energy Community (PEC).

And, like this one, some paper moths found themselves stuck to the window, waiting for the new sign.  

While developing ideas we watch and learn from those making the moths – so many colours and imaginative patterns.  Nearly as many as the real moths themselves at our windows at home.

Plymouth Play Scrapstore has welcomed us and is helping us bring something new, magical  and colourful to the area.

 

We collaged ideas for a design for the solar panel sign......

.....And we had loads of creative conversations - there is a lot of love at Scrapstore

Here are Felicity and Kate having a creative chat about ideas for projects.

Rowena said that her piece reflected the rainbow raindrops in the window and Plymouth specific nature like seagulls.  Plus  ‘the hearts in the picture are because there is a lot of love in Scrapstore.’

Naomi also recorded visitors comments about future wishes for the environment and society with the Speakpipe app. on our front page. She said that ‘Anyone can have a go and leave us a message for the planet – we would love to hear it.’

The final sign will be made out of some of Scrapstore’s reusable materials, solar cell spare pieces and recycled wires, with as little new equipment as possible.

We are looking forward to the next two workshops when we all make the sign.  There will be painting, collaging, soldering, wiring up, cups of tea and excitement.

Nudge of Union street, and Plymouth Energy Community have helped fund this project.

 

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Moths to a Flame at Illuminate in Plymouth

Solar powered moth trap - Moths to a Flame

Art and Energy want to make a new artwork for COP 26

At the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, in  2015, for the first time in human history, all nations were united in the common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. 

COP 26 will be held in Glasgow in November 2020, and the Art and Energy Collective and Plymouth Energy Community want to create an artwork that speaks of our relationship with energy, the destructive nature of our old systems and that gathers our voices together to press for system change.

We want to send a message to leaders that we are willing to participate, aware of the consequences of inaction and understand the importance of the individual in making positive change.

Plans for a solar powered art installation made by hundreds of people in the South West of England

In our first steps to develop this new artwork, we developed an installation with Plymouth Energy Community Volunteers for the Illuminate Festival in Plymouth (26 Nov – 2 Dec 2019).

Participants helped us to make 160  Moths  which were suspended around a solar powered moth trap. The moths’ wings decorated in UV paint revealed colours that were only visible under black light. 

Over the next year, we would like to develop a much larger installation bringing together the voices of people from the South West and asking our policy makers for system change around energy, to save us, our natural world and the planet from our dependence on the energy systems of old.

Please get in touch with our team if you can help us realise this ambitious piece.

Moths to a Flame - Participants making glow in the dark moths
Feedback for Moths to a Flame at Illuminate in Plymouth 2019
Feedback for Moths to a Flame at Illuminate in Plymouth 2019

This project has been generously supported by Plymouth Energy Community, PEC Pals and our wonderful friends from LaserCutz

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Dads make solar panel artworks with their kids!

Throughout October and November this year, a small group of dads and their kids worked with Art and Energy at Kaleider Studios in Exeter to make their own solar panel artworks.

This project was made possible with the help of Exeter Community Energy who supplied the tools that enable Art and Energy to deliver workshops for all sorts of groups.

How do you make a solar panel artwork?

Session 1: The first step in making a solar panel artwork is to create your design – choose where you want your solar cells to go and the draw or paint of the surface of the glass to create a mask that hides the tabbing wires.

Rather than spend ages planning it out, our group had a think about things that remind them of energy, and they dove straight in.

Session 2: The second stage of making the solar panel is very delicate work, soldering tabbing wire to the solar cells took lots of team work for the dads and their kids. 

Once all the cells have tabbing wire attached to them, a sheet of EVA glue holds them in place on the glass and more soldering is needed to connect all the cells together in a circuit.

Only then can you finish encapsulating all the circuit in more EVA glue to stop it getting wet and protect it a little from breaking.

Session 3: The final stage of building the artwork requires testing with our grow lamps. Once you know the solar panel is working, it can be put into its frame  and then connected to a converter which ensures that you have 5V of power which allows you to plug in a USB.

Our team of makers created 4 new solar panel artworks and they learned more about how solar panels are made.

My favourite bit was soldering” Hector

It is very good” Felix

There was a lot of electrical stuff” Aidan

It was amazing” Ada

Ada and I thoroughly enjoyed every stage of making our solar panel artwork” Bruce

“Truly Unique and also a lot of fun with a working product at the end. Loved it!” Simon

How do I make a solar panel?

If you’re interested in making your own solar panel artwork please come along to one of our workshops in 2020

 

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People with Power – Making solar panel artworks in Plymouth

Illuminate – People with Power An exploration of our relationship with energy, and its effect on the world around us.

We are in a Climate Emergency and it is essential that we re-connect with energy, its use and effect on the environment.

Creative energy! 

PEC and Art and Energy CIC help residents explore renewable technologies creatively.  The aim is to demystify the technology and empower creative participation in its use.

In a workshop at Ocean Studios prompted by PEC Pal Ian and organised by PEC and Art and Energy; we created solar artworks that charge devices and we are currently working on our first community installations. 

You can get involved with art and energy projects through the PEC Pals art group – please contact energyteam@plymouthenergycommunity.com

Details of future Solar Panel Artwork making workshops can be seen here

 

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Big Bang Artworks finally on display in Plymouth!

The journey of making our co-created ‘Big Bang’ solar panel artworks has been rather long and has included quite a collection of people!

We were invited to bring an activity to The Big Bang Fair by Exeter Science Park who were sponsors of the huge and bustling event at WestPoint Arena in June 2019, and over 170 young people joined us to learn how to solder tabbing wire to solar cells and add their designs of objects and items that they associate with the sun.

By the end of the day we had 7 pieces to finish.

This involved spending time at Ocean Studios in Plymouth in July 2019 to decide how to finish the artworks and to sandblast the surface of the glass; adding silver elements in a workshop in Exeter in August; and working with Torbay Climate Action Group at the EyeView shop in Paignton to paint the glass and connect the cells in September (Even local Lib Dem councillor Lee Howgate came and joined in!).

After some final testing at touching up at Kaleider, (and with support from RIO and Plymouth Energy Community) we will now be showing the finished pieces in the Ocean Studios Gallery from 27 November – 1 Dec during the Illuminate Festival.

Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) have a group of PEC Pals have been working with us for over a year now to find ways to bring people together to explore our energy systems through creativity and the group have also made their own solar panel artworks that will be on display at the same time.

The Illuminate Festival Looks like it’s going to be really good, so we hope we’ll get to see you at Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard, Plymouth at some point.quite a 

 

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Moths to a flame

For the WaveLength Festival in Torbay from the 8-10 November, Art and Energy are collaborating with people across the region to make an illuminating artwork powered by the sun. 

Moths to a Flame will encapsulate the duality of how we harness the elements for electricity and how we are ourselves captivated by light.

We know that moths share our fascination with radiance, and we know that moths are in decline because of the power systems that we are also entrapped by.

 

We would love to see you at one of the events associated with this project:

Solar panel artwork making demonstrations

  • 1st to 3rd Oct 2019
  • 10am – 2pm drop in 
  • 1st Oct – 4-6pm Torbay Climate Action Group session
  • EyeView shop, Winner Street, Paignton

Come along and see how we make our unique solar panel artworks, and tell us about your experiences of moths in Torbay! These drop in sessions form part of Torbay Climate Action Group’s work exploring energy in Torbay throughout October.

 

Moth conversations

  • 12-4pm, 9th Oct – Drop in
  • 6-9pm, 9th Oct – Moth viewing
  • 10-2pm, 10th Oct – Drop in
  • Torre Abbey

Come along and share your moth stories and help us design our moth solar panel artwork.

We are hoping to find out about Torbay moths, especially those that live around Torre Abbey and (weather permitting) will be viewing moths on the evening of the 9th.

We are looking forward to meeting moth-ers from the bay, so please do come and share your knowledge with us as we make this piece for the WaveLength Festival.

We are grateful for support from:

  • Ian Hankey at The Fab Lab Plymouth for helping us build the frame
  • LOF Solar for supplying us with colourful solar cells
  • The Solar Range for their help with the electronics in the artwork and
  • GB-Sol for helping us laminate our solar panel artworks
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Solar artwork making – Exeter

I can’t wait to take this home and show my friends and family! The workshop was outstanding  Participant

I love the combination of art and science, I wish it was like this when I was at school!” Participant

I was nervous about the art bit, because I don’t think I’m creative, but the workshop leaders were really supportive and I’m so happy with what I made!” Participant

Join solar panel artists Chloe Uden and Naomi Wright and make your own solar panel artwork that can power your devices.

(£120) Friday 24 January 2020 – 9:30 – 5:00

This workshop will be held at our space in Kaleider Studios so you will get a rare chance to see where we work and maybe even some of the other pieces we’re developing!

During this day long enjoyable workshop you will

  • learn about solar energy
  • design and create your own solar panel artwork
  • tab up solar cells
  • connect the electrical components
  • test your pieces
  • and then get charging your phone!

No previous knowledge or skills required.

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Solar artwork making – Plymouth

Join solar panel artists Chloe Uden and Naomi Wright and make your own solar panel artwork that can power your devices.

During this day long enjoyable workshop you will:

  • learn about solar energy
  • design and create your own solar panel design
  • tab up solar cells
  • connect the electrical component
  • test your pieces
  • and then get charging your phone!

No previous knowledge or skills required.

9:30 – 4:30 Friday 11th October – Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth

BOOK HERE!

£75 for the day (Reduced from £120) – This workshop is subsidised by Plymouth Energy Community (PEC).

PEC is a charity that aims to create a clean, fair affordable energy system with people at its heart.

Over the last year, we’ve been working together to offer people the chance to get hands-on with new renewable energy materials.

This subsidised session is for anyone who wants to know more about advances in solar and would like to learn new skills to create a piece of solar art for their home.

*The workshop forms part of Illuminate, Plymouth’s festival of light, during which PEC will host a solar art installation. If you would like your piece to appear, please let us know during the day.