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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 jenny@artandenergy.org. 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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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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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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Thrive Renewables Open day!

“The artworks the children made with Art and Energy will be part of a display that shows the learning our pupils are enjoying about green issues and sustainable energy.

Thank you and your team for such great and well prepared activities.” Teacher

Over the course of an hour and a half, we worked with 30 children and their teachers to deliver three activities that we had prepared to support a creative connection with the awe inspiring wind turbines at Thrive Renewables Avonmouth site!

Activity 1: My dream community mural

The youngsters made drawings of their dream houses and inside, they wrote some of their hopes for the future. 

Each house was placed in a mural landscape and the children drew energy lines from the wind turbine to their house, connecting with other dwellings and adding a range of other things they’d like to see in their community too.

This display was left in the marquee so that the visitors expected later in the day could see and also add their own dreams to the mural too.

Activity 2: A collaborative selfie artwork

Each youngster learned how to make their own 8 pointed windmill that incorporated Thrive Renewables’ colours.

The children added their windmill to a collective artwork that can we used to frame a face.

This was challenging and it was really great to see the young people so surprised that they actually COULD make something that looked quite tricky.

Activity 3: Make a windmill to take back to school with you!

It may be exactly what you would expect from a visit to a wind turbine, but making and decorating your own windmill is still really enjoyable!

It took us a few attempts to get just the right design so that it would be sturdy enough to cope with being swung about!

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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.

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Solar charger making workshops in Totnes this September

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC)’s  aim is to empower the local community to develop and control its own renewable energy supplies and to ensure that the maximum value resulting from the development of local resources is retained by the community.

So it’s really exciting that they’ve invited Art and Energy to run two solar charger making workshops for TRESOC members and the wider Totnes community this September.

September 16th – Solar Charger Making Workshop – TRESOC members and friends

September 28th – Solar Charger Making Workshop – TRESOC members and friends

 

During these 2 x day long workshop which will take place at The Pulse in The Mansion in Totnes, you will get hands on with solar power.

  • learn how solar panels work,
  • explore what goes into making one,
  • handle the tools and components involved
  • test your device

At the end of the day you will be able to take home your own solar panel to charge your devices.

All materials are included and no experience is necessary.

Sensible 10+ year olds are welcome if they are accompanied and supported by an adult.

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Art and Energy at the International Festival of Glass 2019

23 – 26 August 2019

The International Festival of Glass celebrates the spectacle, drama and excitement of glassmaking every two years across the Stourbridge Glass Quarter.

Since its inception in 2004 the Festival’s aim has been to celebrate and showcase the skill and innovation of the glass industry and makers, both historic and contemporary, local and international

We will be showing examples of our first solar panel artworks and a demonstration of how we made them and how they work.

Please come along and see us at Ruskin Glass Centre, The Glasshouse, Wollaston Road, Amblecote, Stourbridge, DY8 4HF

We will also be running two workshops.

TEENAGE SKILL UP Extinction rebellion! Powerful teenagers

23rd August, 2019 at 10:00am – 4:00pm

During this day long workshop you will work with solar panel artist Chloe Uden and master glass craftsman Ian Hankey to make a solar artwork on the theme of Extinction Rebellion.

The solar panel artwork we produce will be displayed throughout the rest of the festival. You can collect your artwork at the end of the festival to take home. 

 

WORKSHOP: Pretty Useful! Make your own solar panel artwork

25th August, 2019 at 10:00am – 4:00pm

Join solar panel artist Chloe Uden and make your own simple solar panel artwork that you will be able to take home at the end of the day to charge your phone.

During this day long workshop you will

  • Learn the basics of solar energy
  • Work on the surface and reverse of the glass to create a unique solar panel design
  • Tab up solar cells
  • Connect the electrical components
  • Test your pieces