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Crowdfunder Success!

In November 2020 Plymouth Energy Community and Art and Energy CIC launched a Crowdfunder campaign to hold free Moths to a Flame creative activities in Plymouth throughout 2021. Ours was one of seven within the Plymouth Climate Challenge hosted by Plymouth City Council. We not only raided our £25,000 target, but also completed our stretch target, raising an amazing £45,189!

These funds will enable workshops in schools and community groups, online events, solar artwork making sessions and more… We’ll post further details on our website and social media in the New Year.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported, pledged, and shared this with their networks. The rewards are on the way to pledgers!

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Time to evaluate!

CIF partner logo

As a small and relatively new organisation we at Art and Energy can be guilty of rushing from project to project… a bit like our Marny the Moth in ‘A Moth’s Whisper’.  (One element of our Moths To A Flame project).

When we think about the pressing need for change in the light of climate change, urgency can seem like the only way forward… and yet slowing down to evaluate is a vital part of any project or organisation – how else can we optimise our message and plan future projects to have a positive outcome? 

Plymouth Culture host a Cultural Investment Fund, a collection of NPO’s based in Plymouth. They’re supporting us to undertake a series of activities to look back on our work to date. In particular, we’re interested in how creativity can give participants the opportunity to pause, think and find solutions – to encourage collaboration towards a greener, cleaner, fairer society.

We began by creating a questionnaire that we emailed out and shared on social media. Thank you to the 62 respondents who gave us fantastic feedback and recommendations. If you have feedback on your interactions with us to date, or ideas for future actions then please don’t hesitate to email us at hello@artandenergy.org.  We are always interested to hear your thoughts.

Our next step is to have conversations with some of the organisations that we are working with and aspire to work with. We are particularly interested in the idea of using creativity to talk more, make ideas happen or take action about our energy systems and other environmental issues.

Questionnaire Results

Here are just a few of the results that we collected….

We asked for three words to describe Art and Energy. We are thrilled with these beautiful words. They are displayed here in a wordcloud showing terms used 2 or more times across the results and the size of font set by frequency of use.

Creative : 14 

Inspiring/inspirational : 13

Innovative : 10

Energetic : 4

We asked respondents to describe their relationship with Art and Energy. ‘Friend’ was overwhelmingly used the most. We like to think of the Art and Energy Collective as being friendly!

We asked people to tell us whether we’ve made a difference to them. In particular people reported

  • an increase in interest and understanding of renewable energy, the climate crisis & COP26, and moths.
  • Being inspired to be creative.
  • Feeling better and more hopeful
  • and connecting people in conversation.

We’ve also encouraged people to make tangible changes such as changing to LED lightbulbs, and repairing instead of buying new.

The majority of respondents recognised Eco-anxiety as being a problem for people they knew.  More than half said that they suffered from Eco-anxiety themselves.

We asked what people liked about Moths to a Flame.  Nearly everyone mentioned participation, collaboration and involvement. The ‘Wow’ factor and the aesthetic of the project were also important, as was the climate theme.

We were overwhelmed by how many respondents generously offered their time, support and expertise. 

The Art and Energy Collective is just what it says on the tin… a collective! If you would like to get involved then please drop us an email at hello@artandenergy.orgWe’d love to work with you!

This project has created as part of the Cultural Investment Fund, with the support of:

CIF partner logo
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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 www.plymouthartweekender.com

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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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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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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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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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