“in all the falling, flawing, failing. there is the grace of learning. of shedding an old life. for a new. let a new life happen to you.”
Sometimes on Sunday mornings in the Cathedral, during the sermon slot, I find myself thinking about what I might have said if I were up there in that pulpit. It might have been something the preacher said which sparked my train of thought. More often, it’s something I noticed in the readings.
You need not do anything. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, just wait. You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet, still and solitary. And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. — … Read moreFranz Kafka
“Minecraft my home” is an ongoing activity as part of my “Working with Gold” programme of public art in St Loyes. It is a re-creation of St Loyes as a world in the Minecraft game. During Art Week Exeter, I held a meetup to explore the world together, share what we have been creating, and build more stuff.
Art Week Exeter is a go-go! And it turns out that I had a bit more in show than I thought. The main event (for me) is “Minecraft my home”. The Minecraft St Loyes world is available to download and play online, and on Saturday 26 May I’m holding a meetup to share our explorations and creations.
Create giant sculptures in your neighbourhood
Pave the streets with gold
Turn your home into a castle
Subvert urban design: cover it with flowers
Recently I received through the post a small package from the Blood service: a letter, certificate and badge to mark my 25th blood donation. I didn’t expect to feel so honoured and proud.
when creating. be kind to your doubt. hear it out. thank it for its concern. and reassure it that you are an artist. and risk is essential. — when creating
There are times for everything under the sun. Times for sleeping, times for waking, times for planting, times for reaping, times for getting stuff done, times for taking a step back.
This is a slightly longer version of an article I wrote for Exeter Cathedral’s monthly magazine, the first in what is hoped to be a regular feature focusing on the prayer lives of members of the Cathedral community. There are as many different understandings and types of prayer as there are different people.
A bit of fun. Some of them are more favourite than others!
The sound of axes being ground is deafening, whether it’s the right-wing press incensed that the UK spends any money on overseas aid, or the UK government seeking to undermine an effective advocacy organisation. UPDATE: If you would like to help the people who Oxfam helps, see the comment for points you can make to your MP.
FALAFELS stands for Free Art Friday Exeter St Loyes Loves Anagrams. You have to think about it a bit!
“Hope imagines the future and then acts as if that future is irresistible.”
If there is a problem with loading any of the code in the “Game of Life” blog, this is a companion blog of example videos.
The Game of Life is a pretty standard coding exercise. But what if Life is no longer seen in black and white, and instead in shades of grey? Update: Or in technicolor? And what happens if we tweak the rules?
Pop over and take a look at the new website for “Working with Gold”, or get in touch and get involved with the programme on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @workingwithgold.
I had so much fun with generative poetry in 2017 that I wanted to continue with the coding, so I embarked on a FutureLearn course with Monash University. Here’s some outputs I did earlier.
Clare is seduced by the sunshine symbol on her weather forecast app into going for a bike ride around Exeter. She plans to drop in on the FLOW tree planting on Exe Mill Field and the Ziggurat painting on Paris St to see how they are getting on.
My “Green|Blue” tiny tears were on sale in the Art Vending Machine during November and December. I’ve just had an update from The Vendor, with news of sales so far and some upcoming appearances.
In the spirit of sharing the uphill struggles as well as the good times…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of … Read moreMarianne Williamson
One of my undertakings as Artist in Residence with Digby Community Association was to write about my work for the “Digby News”, that is published each November.
I should have been mowing the lawn, but instead I created my entry for the 2017 Turnip Prize. Early viewers of the work immediately grasped the referencing of Magritte and its significance, which prompted a vibrant cultural debate.
In their second album, Antiphon presents world premiere recordings of three choral works by Michael Walsh: an unaccompanied Mass of the Holy Trinity; a full-scale Requiem Mass; and The Way of Love, a setting of five love poems by Rupert Brooke. We recorded it in July 2017 in the crossing and Lady Chapel in Exeter Cathedral.
The Art Vending Machine is a fun installation that sells playing card-sized art to the regular punter. “Green|Blue: Drop Slow Tears”, the mini mirror tears, are one of eleven different multiples during the 2017/18 season.
Culture & Review is the monthly round-up of cultural activity in Exeter. My Cathedral Chapter House show was reviewed back in June by presenter Josie Sutcliffe, musician Emma Welton, and playwright Emily Holyoake. Five months later, I’ve managed to get hold of the recording!
Way back in the mists of time, during Art Week Exeter 2017, I had a conversation about patterns with Veronica Gosling of Studio 36. Five months later I’m singing 20th century classics and knitting on stage.
I’m delighted that Exeter City Council have agreed to part-fund “Working with Gold”. The money is a Grass Roots Grant, which comes from the Community Infrastructure Levy.
I’ve been having a play, and come up with a logo for “Working with Gold”, and I think a working design. Hope you like it!
Question: “Is it easier to forecast the weather, which obeys the laws of physics, or the economy, in which the actors are swayed by the forecasts?”
“Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.”
“In this environment, the task of the prophet is not initially to lead a movement toward social renewal, but to lead the people in creative, artistic, public lament.” – Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination
Greenbelt is a festival of arts, faith and justice, held over the August Bank Holiday. The programme is huge, so to help me manage it I often choose a theme. This year I didn’t, consciously at any rate, but it became apparent as the weekend unfolded that I’d ringed quite a lot of talks relating to contemplation and action
Twas on the day of the autumn equinox that Diana and I decided to walk the Northbrook from mouth to source.
Further to yesterday’s post about my five-minute talk “Working with gold, weaving with data” at Exeter City Futures, I thought I’d share more of the talk content.
Exeter City Futures’ Connect events are an opportunity to share ideas on the big problems that they believe Exeter needs to solve as it transitions towards becoming energy independent and congestion free. At the Autumn Connect, I presented my developing vision for a programme of art in St Loyes, aimed at nurturing a sense of place and building community.
I’ve been playfully exploring my local area for a number of years, its history, geography, biodiversity, archaeology, and myth – some invented! This Kaleider Lunchtime Talk was a shout-out to anyone with an interest in any aspect of place-based art and/or who lives in St Loyes.
The Church Times editor was kind enough to pop round… and not once but twice, as I was still setting up the first occasion. So I thought it was quite likely I’d be in the review, but it was still nice to see my name in there.
For Creationtide 2017, EcoChurch Southwest has produced a series of prayers and short reflections on the theme of ‘Inspiring Earth’. You can sign up to a daily email with ideas and resources each morning between the 1st September and the 4th October. I contributed one of the reflections.
I heard management guru Charles Handy speak at Greenbelt on the need for second, third fourth… curves to living a fulfilling life.
I had a wonderful time showing Green|Blue at Greenbelt… mostly! It just wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t cursing how complicated and time-consuming it is to set up my art stuff, especially when I only had 3-6pm on a Sunday afternoon to set up, show, and take down.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been part of a group assembled by the force of nature that is Veronica Gosling at Studio 36. We’ve been bouncing ideas around and exploring inspirations on the theme of “Patterns”, and working towards a performance at St Sidwell’s Community Centre on 21 October.
“If you are not optimistic about change, why be involved in the first place?” — Interview in the Church Times
My ideas for an artist’s residency in St Loyes Exeter are gathering momentum. I’m close to putting in my first grant application, and on Friday 28 July Rosie King kindly joined me on a walk around the ward. It’s an area ripe for an artistic response!
In past years they’ve kindly supported my mad-cap safari concerts. Now Digby Community Association, within St Loyes, is another key supporter of “Working with Gold”.
I’m in the middle of three evenings recording another CD with Antiphon. This one is of music by the contemporary composer Michael Walsh.
Really honoured and excited that “Green|Blue” is part of this amazing line-up that will be “On Common Ground” at Greenbelt 2017. I’ll be showing once again in the Allotment Shed gallery, on the Sunday afternoon. Come and find me!
Clare Bryden. Label-free. The Porch Magazine, May/June 2017.
Who am I? I can and do slap any number of labels on myself. I am not alone. Other people slap labels on themselves. We slap labels on each other. Then the labels I give myself and others affect how I see myself, how I see others, how I expect them to see me, and how I interact with them.
There are those of us who talk about what we’d like to happen and those, like you, who act to ensure it does!
Today, my “Little colouring books of climate mindfulness” popped up in the Exeter University Forum alongside “Green|Blue: Exe”. I was doing a colour-by-numbers activity as part of “Think…Art”, a day of free fun artistic activities linked to the University’s research themes.
Now that my Cathedral show and “Primordial Soup” at Fringe Arts Bath are over, here is the two minute video I created for the latter and included in the former.
“Green|Blue: Exe” is showing in “The Observatory: perspectives on landscape, society and spirit” in Exeter University Forum. It’s on until Sunday 18th June, and open 10am-5pm each day.
Spacex commissioned Juneau Projects to create “Makers of the Multiverse”, presenting work as multiples, by multiple artists, for the duration of Art Week Exeter and beyond.
I’m very much looking forward to performing this evening in the Music Room at Powderham Castle.
After Art Week Exeter, I had a week to turn around and prep the next outing for “Green|Blue”. And it was my most high profile yet: a solo show in the Cathedral! Featuring work previously shown at Dartington Garden Room Gallery, work coming up at Fringe Arts Bath, and new “Patternings”.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour — Auguries of Innocence
Today’s the day when I got into the Chapter House to set up my new show. It’s fair to say that I’m really happy how it’s turned out.
I’m showing “Green|Blue” in the Chapter House at Exeter Cathedral, and would be delighted if you would join me for a Private Viewing.
One of the brill things happening during Art Week Exeter 2017 was the AWEsome Art Show featuring work by most of the participating artists.
For Art Week Exeter, I thought I’d open my newly-painted garage studio up to the world. Complete with kettle and lots of cake. It was a chance to show some of my work since 2014, and to ask for ideas for art in St Loyes.
This was my second trip to Pint of Science. In 2015, I took “Particulart” into The Ship Inn. In 2017, it was the turn of both “Green|Blue” and “Little Colouring Books” in the Exeter Phoenix workshop room. With a small bar in the corner, pints were assured.
Along Broadfields Road in St Loyes, the roads are named after English composers and it’s always summer. A goodly number came and joined Sine Nomine in serenading the neighbourhood with the music of each composer on their eponymous street corner.
Three days to the start of Art Week Exeter, 13-21 May 2017, and I’m burning the midnight oil prepping contributions to an installation and an exhibition, one concert, one talk, and two days of open studio. So here’s a nice soothing sunset…
My map is a comfort blanket. Its grid lines are a safety net that give me the confidence to stride out. It gives me a sense of being in control.
I’m delighted that “Green|Blue: Exe” has been selected to show in “The Observatory: Perspectives on landscape, society and spirit” in Exeter University Forum during 11-18 June 2017.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: Reflections on death, and that even in the darkest places and the fiercest storms, there is always hope.
The Garden Room Gallery is a lovely space for a show, just down the hill from the main buildings on the Dartington Hall estate. It was a first opportunity to show my new framing of “Green|Blue”, together with “Drop Slow Tears”.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: Images are extraordinarily powerful. Those able to see, see before we learn to read, and orient our world by sight. They can convey truth, and they can manipulate, so should we be hopeful or despairing?
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: During 82 seconds on Wednesday 22 March, Briton Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing and injuring more than 50 people; fatally stabbed an unarmed police officer in New Palace Yard; and was shot and killed by an armed police officer. Over the next fortnight, these were some of the responses.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: Hope can come from unlikely sources… What would be the most unlikely and surprising source of all?
“Kuuki : the things we take for granted, but cannot live without” is a response to climate change and other environmental concerns, and a statement on the desperate need for social change.
I’ve just received an email to say that “Green|Blue” has been accepted for the splendidly-entitled Fringe Arts Bath show “Primordial Soup” at the equally splendid-looking Cleveland Pools, to appear 26 May to 11 June.
“The three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.”
Liz McGowan and I have been hard at work today hanging our joint exhibition in the Garden Room Gallery at Dartington Hall. We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to the show, which runs from Thursday 30th March to Tuesday 18th April.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: Sometimes it’s easy to lose hope, but sometimes hope can come from unlikely sources.
I’m delighted to be showing my work “Green|Blue” at Dartington Hall. I will be sharing the space with Liz McGowan, who will be showing “Will-a-Wix”, and we would like to invite you to a Private Viewing.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: Music has played an important role in many social movements, bringing hope to millions, fostering community, and encouraging perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
I’m delighted to announce that “Green|Blue” will be appearing in the Chapter House at Exeter Cathedral from 28 May to 4 June.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu got together for a week to talk about the challenges of living a joyful life. The result was “The Book of Joy”.
Clare Bryden. Wiggle room in the universe. The Porch Magazine, October 2016.
“Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society that you wanted. How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now!” – Paul Goodman. Clare Bryden embraces Rebecca Solnit’s vision of Hope in the Dark.
A series of things that interest me which have a TED or TEDx angle: The data and statistics that are being collected about us reflect our selves and the way we see the world.
Armageddon outta here…
“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals”
A series of things that interest me which have a TED or TEDx angle: Reflections on Susan Cain’s TED talk “The Power of Introverts” and lessons from “Watership Down”.
Written for TEDxExeter 2017 “HOPE”: What was the last line we saw Carrie Fisher (albeit a CGI-reconstructed ever-youthful Carrie Fisher) deliver in a movie before she died?
Last week, I received the good news that “Green|Blue” has been selected for showing in the Garden Room Gallery at Dartington Hall. Today I got confirmation that the dates will be 30 March – 18 April 2017.
Fantastic coverage of both the “Little colouring books” and “Freefall Climate Graffiti” in the Winter issue of Green Christian.
This was a follow-up project to my consultancy work in 2009/10 on energy and climate change work in Exeter Diocese, to analyse progress based on evidence from Archdeacons’ Articles of Enquiry, and write a report for presentation at Diocesan Synod.
The idea for the “Little colouring books” originated partly in the games I made for my “Particulart: Up in the Air” show. It seemed a natural progession to create more playful engagement with climate change. Although the maps are of the UK, they can be applied elsewhere, and I am very happy that they have made their way to other lands.
Particulart features this month in the “What is Art?” issue of Average Art Magazine, 1 December 2016. In its use of knitting as a medium for a message, Particulart is an example of ‘craftivism’. But is it art?
“What will you do now with the gift of your left life?” — Snow
Clare Bryden. Particulart: the art of knitting, chemistry, and gentle protest. Average Art Magazine, “What is Art?” issue, 1 December 2016.
I created “One Fish, Two Fish, RGB Fish” in response to an invitation from Wool on the Exe and Theatre Alibi to participate in a community project benefiting Knit for Peace.
I introduced my new work and together we explored “GreenlBlue”, which uses flood risk data from the Environment Agency to question our knowledge and power in the face of uncertainty and the force of nature.
In modern times, origami has been used as a beacon of hope. I created the origami “Soul Cube” to help me get past that powerful critical voice in my head and access the deeper nurturing wise voice that speaks words I need to hear.
A series of things that interest me which have a TED or TEDx angle: The benefits of collecting so many statistics on the number of times a talk is viewed and the related web pages are accessed.
The launch of a new magazine providing a space for slow conversation about beautiful and difficult things; a message from the editor, Gareth Higgins; and news that I have a piece in it!
In 2007, the Turnip Prize disqualified Banksy from competition for “trying too hard”. In 2016, I think I probably tried too hard.
A series of things that interest me which have a TED or TEDx angle: There are myriads of reasons why people watch TED and TEDx talks, and myriads of outcomes.
Clare Bryden. Notes for a small island. Church Times, 28 October 2016.
As sterling wobbles, Clare Bryden investigates revolutionary approaches to money and economics
An anonymous note from ‘A concerned neighbour’ and my response.
Five of the eight “Ghost Bees” I knitted for TRAIL and three of Cleo’s four remained at the end of the summer. My five are currently appearing in a gem of an exhibition at the Barnfield Theatre.
“Fun Palaces is a movement campaigning for culture by, for and with all – with a firm belief that community belongs at the core of all culture – and an annual weekend of events… Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist.”
“Believe the compliments you are given. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Don’t doubt the benefits of being the brightest shade of you on the spectrum.” — Take Up Space
I’m delighted that my Ghost Bees are going to appear during October in the Barnfield Theatre gallery.
It’s a toy shop that isn’t a toy shop, full of toys that aren’t toys.
I was at the Greenbelt Festival over the August bank holiday. As part of a fantastic weekend, I gave a Pecha Kucha talk about my art work, and “Particulart: Up in the Air” popped up in the Allotment Gallery.
For the second time, I was at Greenbelt giving a PechaKucha about my artwork. Last year it was about “Particulart”. This year I was showing “Particulart” in the Allotment Shed gallery on Sunday, and my PechaKucha on Saturday was about my work and motivations more generally.
I’ve finally finished my fourth and fifth “Little colouring books of climate mindfulness”. It’s been six months since I first got my hands on the pilot booklet of “Winter Blues”. Over the summer, I added “Summertime” (of course) and “Middle Course”, and now you can also get hold of “Grandchildren” and “Worst Case” in the … Read moreFive “Little colouring books” went to market!
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which … Read moreHenry Ford
You are welcome to download my instructions for making “Ghost Bees”, which includes a knitting pattern for the body, a size guide for cutting out the wings from milk cartons, and instructions for assembly.
This summer, if you happen to be wandering along the Teignmouth sea-front, you will happen across twelve “Ghost Bees” hovering in the flower bed between Pavilions and Pier.
A series of things that interest me which have a TED or TEDx angle. First up, Brexit and young people and how to get them to vote.
Some people suggested they would like to buy my artwork. So I have set up an online shop, where you can get hold of prints and greetings cards based on “Touch:Triptych”, “Green|Blue”, and “Little colouring books”.
The overall aim of Particulart is to engage people with environmental and social issues and challenge the status quo through the power of knitting, science, and public art. In addition, “Exhausted” aimed to promote public awareness and provoke reflection on urban air quality, through a quirky display enabling playful interaction. It appeared at “Test Drive the Future”, an exhibition of electric vehicles, that will help solve the problem of air pollution.
The overall aim of Particulart is to engage people with environmental and social issues and challenge the status quo through the power of knitting, science, and public art. In addition, “Greenhouse Effect” aimed to promote public awareness and provoke reflection on climate change and the underlying science, through appealing to different ways of accessing information – words and numbers, sight and touch – and enabling playful interaction.
This weekend, there are going to be not one… not two… but yes OK two Particulart events in Oxford as part of Low Carbon Oxford Week, and they’re both brand new exhibitions and both FREE!!
Whenever I have approached them, Reconnect have always been really helpful with publishing my news. Here’s their snippet about “Freefall Climate Graffiti”.
I confess to getting slightly confused by Exeter Life, Exeter Living, Devon Live, Devon Life … but we made it into a glossy!
“And to me, if you really want to rediscover wonder, you need to step outside of that tiny, terrified space of rightness and look around at each other and look out at the vastness and complexity and mystery of the universe and be able to say, ‘Wow, I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.’ ” — … Read moreKathryn Schulz
Just had confirmation that my new Ghost Bees are going to be appearing in Teignmouth Recycled Art in the Landscape… yay!
The visible results of Freefall Climate Graffiti at the Exeter Phoenix will be ephemeral. Have a drink in the café outside seating area, and ponder the graffiti climate maps of the UK, before they’re painted over. Help yourself from, and add to, the woolly wall. Pick up a booklet about the project from the Phoenix box office.
Repainting Exeter Phoenix’s graffiti wall with UK Climate Projections, with Miss*C and the Freefall Youth Group.
The other TED. The Exeter Daily bills itself as “your Daily: You make the news”, ie you contribute and write the news. I’m not sure how many people read it either, but it seems worth including in the press release list. So here’s something I wrote earlier…
Finally on the Saturday we could get down to the real painting. It was brilliant to see most of the Freefall group join us for a session outside their regular Thursday evening slot.
A nice piece on p19 of the Express and Echo. Pics of Cleo enjoying herself clearing up, and of me up a ladder in my paint-spattered oldest of old clothes, appropriately next to “Model agency searches for the next star”!
Making the stencils was a big job, literally. We are going to build up the images from a base layer of the main colour, and add the other colours as layers on top. It means we can be canny re what stencils we need.
While the Freefall youth group took it in turns to bluewash the Phoenix graffiti wall… the Met Office knitting group gave the others a crash course in crafting, and much crochet and more pompoms were created.
A few greenhouse gases and accompanying information are currently winging their way over to Wallingford. They will be popping up as part of an event under the Oxfordshire Artweeks umbrella.
This week and the next two weeks Cleo Heard and I are running workshops with the Freefall youth group in preparation for painting the Phoenix graffiti wall with the UK Climate Projections during Art Week Exeter. As well as climate science and street art, Workshop 1 also covered design for colour blindness.
Free Art Friday is a worldwide movement that has existed for many years. I started Free Art Friday Exeter in July 2015, and collaborate with other artists in leaving pieces in public places to be discovered and taken for free.
I’ve been working on a set of 21 images of flood risk around the south coast of England, from Sussex to Bristol. What has emerged is a beautiful forest of sometimes fragile, sometimes twisted trees.
“In prosperity, may you grant perseverance to will one thing Amid distraction, collectedness to will one thing In suffering, patience to will one thing.” — Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing
Clare was honoured to be able to show Particulart at TEDxExeter 2016, in between a nice lot of Particulart-relevant talks(!) such as Danny Dorling on different ways of mapping the world, Alan Smith on how statistics are about Us, and the video of Al Gore’s latest TED talk on climate change.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: Even in football, it is possible to have dreams of community, to play as a team instead of individual starlets.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: How we can help shape the place we live, through local government and at the grass roots.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: Martin Luther King dreamed of a better world, and he had been to the mountaintop. And yet it wasn’t about the mountain, but about the view over the mountain to what lies ahead.
“Here’s the thing, if we have goals and dreams, and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets. The point is to not hate ourselves for … Read moreKathryn Schulz
On 14th May, the route between the Exeter Phoenix arts centre and Exeter Library will be transformed, as the Freefall Youth Group wield spray cans and stencils to create a new graffiti artwork. The work, called Freefall Climate Graffiti, will feature maps of the UK showing how our climate could change in future decades.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: Some individuals have forgotten the songlines. They have become alienated from the land and cannot bear too much reality.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: What is your dream? Are you willing to let it upend your reality?
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: In his dreams, Einstein imagines many possible worlds, set in the towns of his homeland, in the valleys of the Alps, on the banks of the River Aare
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: When you wish upon a star, you’re a few million lightyears late. That star is dead. Just like your dreams.
That’s nothing to do with the 1980s pop group, but the Festival of Weather, Art and Music. The 2016 event was all about “Extreme Weather and You”, and there were loads of activities on the programme, from print-making to climate roulette.
The fantastic folk in Fore Street Exeter are holding a Cheese and Wine Fundraiser for Refugees, to include a raffle of artworks and craft. I am donating a carbon dioxide molecule, also under the aegis of Free Art Friday Exeter. Further donations from artists and makers still very welcome.
Exciting news! From nugget of an idea to almost fully-funded project in less than a week! Clare and Cleo present… Freefall Climate Graffiti.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: Tread softly because you might be treading on others’ dreams… or your own.
Clare Bryden. A hymn to bees. Third Way Magazine, March 2016.
As the first shoots and blooms appear, Clare Bryden welcomes the returning buzz of bees, and takes a year-round look at the complex threats to these and other pollinators so necessary to the interconnected web of creation.
Today I p-p-picked up a pilot from the University printshop. I am very excited to see my idea for presenting the UK Climate Projections 2009 as a colour-by-numbers booklet coming to fruition! So, I present to you…
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: For Carl Jung, dreams were a window on the unconscious, enabling the dreamer to communicate with and come to know the unconscious, and tap into it as a source of creativity.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: In the UK, the dream of suffrage has been succeeded by the dream of full equality for women.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: “All we need to begin with is a dream that we can do better than before. All we need to have is faith, and that dream will come true. All we need to do is act, and the time for action is now.”
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: An introduction to the series… Once upon a time, the Old English dream meant “joy, mirth, noisy merriment” or “music”.
“Start a new project, set a new goal or find a way to inspire others, on your own terms. Don’t just use your talent, give it away at every opportunity. To share it is to feed it.”
“Something Wonderful in My Back Yard – The Musical” was originally conceived by producer Chloe Uden, and written by poet Matt Harvey and composer Thomas Hewitt Jones. The musical songbook features “Particulart” and the pattern for knit-your-own carbon dioxide!
The Holy Ground service happens once a month in Exeter Cathedral. The evenings very often engage in social issues, which is why this December it was held to coincide with the Paris climate negotiations, and why the “Up in the Air” pop-up made a special appearance.
Exeter Cathedral is hosting an “Up in the Air” video installation for the duration of the Paris climate negotiations. I’m proud that it is part of ArtCOP21, the global climate art festival.
“Oh God! May I be alive when I die.”
Abingdon is my home town, so I took the opportunity to be a visiting speaker at the Carbon Cutters monthly meeting.
My talk at Abingdon Carbon Cutters tonight receives some advance publicity in the Oxford Mail.
Antiphon’s “O My People” is “A collection of sublime 20th and 21st century a cappella choral music, including several world première recordings.” We recorded it in August 2015 in the magnificent acoustic of the Lady Chapel in Exeter Cathedral.
Exeter Pound is the city’s own currency, aimed at supporting independent enterprises and promoting a more flourishing local economy. From 2015-16 I served on the Board of the Exeter Pound Community Interest Company.
Written for TEDxExeter 2016 “Dreams to Reality”: In 2016, we want to encapsulate the idea of movement… that grappling with humanity’s toughest questions requires first a vision, a dream, and then action.
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
— Job 38:36-37
Drawing on my work at the Met Office, on the Shrinking the Footprint campaign in the Diocese of Exeter, as an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, as a member of Transition Exeter, and while living in the eco-monastery at Mucknell Abbey.
Clare Bryden. When the world acted for the good. Church Times, 2 October 2015.
Agreements on ozone show how countries can do the right thing, says Clare Bryden
“I did what I could, where I was, with what I had.” — Paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt
“Up in the Air” popped up for a second time at the Relight My Fire festival of energy and the arts run by RegenSW. Indoors this time, and slimmed down without roof or games area. It just about fit in the space.
Released on Ozone Day 2015, knitted representations of the three main stratospheric ozone depletion equations: the breakdown of CFC-11 in sunlight releasing a chlorine atom, and the cycle of ozone destruction catalysed by this chlorine.
Clare Bryden. More tea? Yes, and do take your time. Church Times, 11 September 2015.
A quick coffee might suit some, but there is no substitute for ritual, Clare Bryden discovers.
Exeter Green Fair on 5 September saw the debut of my new “Up in the Air” pop-up. Under a blue gazebo (the sky), I suspended eight pale blue hula hoops (clouds), and from these the eight greenhouse gases.
PechaKucha is a new way of doing Powerpoint presentations. There are 20 slides, which must be images only, and they change automatically every 20 seconds, so the talk is only 6 minutes 40 seconds in total. It becomes more of a performance than a presentation.
As part of the publicity for “Up in the Air” in July, I gave away my prototype for Particulart, the carbon dioxide that ended up a bit too big and time-consuming to knit. It was a bit of a wrench!
Particulart is the art of knitting, chemistry and gentle protest. It’s about engaging people with environmental and social issues and challenging the status quo through the power of knitting, science, and public art. You too can now knit your own chemistry using these patterns.
“An artist is not a special kind of person, rather every person is a special kind of artist.”
Particulart has been mentioned in Chemistry World, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Can’t get much more illustrious than that!
Hospiscare does amazing work in caring for terminally ill people and providing respite for their carers, and relies on the generosity of many people to continue this work. I have had a surprising number of connections with them, through friends, family friends, work, church, and singing. So I wanted to do something to help.
RegenSW asked me to write for its new blog “Power Culture: exploring our energy generation through the arts”. It took me 44 years to learn to follow the energy, so here’s the story of how Particulart sparked and took on its own energy…
I am almost certain that Didcot Power Station’s looming bulk sparked my interest in energy and shaped my environmental interests and career. But I am not the only person which it has sensitised. Many regard it as a blot on the landscape, many others have seen its sculptural appeal. A guest blog for Regen SW.
The overall aim of Particulart is to engage people with environmental and social issues and challenge the status quo through the power of knitting, science, and public art. In addition, “Up in the Air” aimed to promote public awareness and provoke reflection on climate change and the underlying science, through appealing to different ways of accessing information – words and numbers, sight and touch – and enabling playful interaction.
I didn’t know whether Up in the Air would be picked up by the local press, but the 23 July edition of Express and Echo gave it a couple of inches in What’s On, just before the end of the show.
“Sulphur hexafluoride’, ‘Tetrafluoromethane’ and ‘Fluorform’ [sic] might not be words you expect to see as part of your everyday art exhibition, but then again, Clare Bryden is not your everyday artist (if there even is such a thing!).”
As part of the Particulart: Up in the Air exhibition, Diana Moore of Particulart and Knit-Stop ran a knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop.
An innovative art installation goes on show this week to bring alive the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. Local artist Clare Bryden has been knitting larger than life versions of the particles and making card games. The exhibition, which will be on display from 11-24 July at the Glorious Art House in Fore Street Exeter, is designed to be a playful way of sparking people’s interest in the science and issue of climate change.
Buy a coffee and cake from the Glorious café on the ground floor, and wander up to the second floor gallery for 3D knitted molecules floating in the Earth’s atmosphere!
My first piece in my first exhibition! The three panels of Touch:Triptych together for the first time.
“Creativity takes courage”
On Monday 18th May, I took “Particulart” into the unfamiliar territory – The Ship Inn in the middle of Exeter – as part of the annual worldwide Pint of Science festival.
Clare Bryden. Knitting and other revolutionary acts. Third Way Magazine, May 2015.
As competing political voices reach election crescendo, could it be that artistic, home-spun forms of activism are more positive and quietly persuasive? Clare Bryden hails the rise of ‘Craftivism’ and explains how knitting can change the world.
I got some excellent news this morning. Exeter City Council have approved a small arts grant towards my next Particulart exhibition.
Written for TEDxExeter 2015 “Taking the Long View”: There’s an old African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Also a tribute to the wonderful TEDxExeter team.
Written for TEDxExeter 2015 “Taking the Long View”: From Clause 40 in Magna Carta to HIllary Clinton via the suffragists and suffragettes – the long struggle for women’s political rights, and a call to vote on 7 May [sigh].
During Lent 2015 – 18 February to 4 April – the Church of England in the South West ran a Carbon Fast. It was 40 days to reflect on how we affect our planet and consider what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. “A Stitch in Time” ran roughly concurrently, showing 3D knitted representations of a series of greenhouse gases that are implicated in climate change.
Written for TEDxExeter 2015 “Taking the Long View”: The short-termism of deforestation, and some hopeful examples of the long view of reafforestation.
“Happiness takes effort. Also, courage. It’s incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don’t create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created.”
Written for TEDxExeter 2015 “Taking the Long View”: The Guardian’s campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground, a Lenten Carbon Fast; and how I take the long view in my knitting and arts practice.
Didcot Power Station dominated the landscape of my childhood. I am fairly sure that its looming bulk sparked my interest in energy, and possibly shaped my environmental interests and career. It has also generated a surprising level of artistic response.
Written for TEDxExeter 2015 “Taking the Long View”: Taking the literal view of the Long View, a smattering of quite interesting factoids about the origins of the telescope and its name; the transit of Venus and Cook’s voyages; and the Interplanetary Scintillation Array and other more modern telescopes.
You’ve probably heard of Lent fasts: giving up chocolate or biscuits or swearing for the 40 days before Easter. The Church of England in the south west is going to be running a Carbon Fast this year, and Particulart is going to be involved through a new exhibition in Bristol Cathedral.
Written for TEDxExeter 2015 “Taking the Long View”: The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta was the inspiration behind the 2015 theme. Why we chose that and not the 50th anniversary of the Sound of Music.
Last night, at somewhat short notice, I stepped into a breach and gave a St Michael’s Lecture. I liked the title so much, I adopted it for the work.
During Lent 2015, EcoChurch Southwest is promoting a Carbon Fast, focusing on water. You can sign up to daily emails containing an action, bible reading and reflection. I wrote about rain as a blessing for today’s reflection.
Particulart is all about knitting. It’s also all about the Exeter Incinerator, which was inaugurated on 16th October 2014, and about waste management strategy, and monitoring emissions, and the environment, and health, and transparency, and visual impact, and chemistry.
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ at the Temple, otherwise known as Candlemas. Was establishment of the Feast linked to a volcanic eruption?
“Just start… Don’t wait for perfection. Just start and let the work teach you.” — The Blue Sweater
Clare Bryden. Cultural highlights of 2014: The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. Third Way Magazine, February 2015.
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
The original “Particulart” was a collaboration between Clare Bryden and Diana Moore, exhibiting in the Exeter Real Food café during autumn 2014. Knitting and emitting particles was our way of telling other people about the Exeter Incinerator and its potential impacts.
I explore where our treasure lies in today’s world for the Bright Now Blog run by Operation Noah.
It’s difficult to choose my cultural highlight of 2014. It has been a good year so far, and it’s not over yet!
Good news! The Real Food Store has given us three more weeks, so you will be able to view the Particulart exhibition there until 29th November.
The complaint I made to the BBC for refusing to include the Green Party in the general election TV leader debates.
Today is Blog Action Day, and in 2014 the theme is Inequality. I’m afraid I’m going to cheat, and post stuff I’ve written earlier. Some is a bit dated (anyone remember Michael Gove?), but I think the core message is still relevant…
I’m exhausted, but feeling exhilarated and satisfied. Diana and I have managed to hang the show, with some absolutely critical help from Naomi Hart. So we’re all set to open to the punters on Monday.
We are in today’s Express and Echo. Page 44 isn’t quite “hold the front page!” but we still got a colour photo!
An innovative community art installation goes on show this week to bring alive the impacts of Exeter’s new ‘Energy from Waste’ incineration facility. Members of the community have been knitting larger than life versions of the particles that will be emitted from the new facility. The exhibition which will be on display at the Real Food Café in Paris Street, is designed to tell people about the incinerator, encourage Devon County Council to ensure it is operated properly over its 25 years contract and think harder about their future waste management strategy.
It’s been months in the planning and making, and now Particulart is at hand. The exhibition will be in the Real Food café from 13th October to 8th November, with a launch party on the evening of 15th October.
“Never compare someone else’s outside with your inside.”
Clare Bryden. What the frack? Third Way Magazine, October 2014.
Depending who you ask, hydraulic fracturing – fracking – is either a panacea for our energy crisis or an environmental apocalypse in waiting. Clare Bryden drills through the propaganda in search of some answers.
Clare Bryden. A Spirit of Our Time. Resurgence Magazine online, September/October 2014.
Clare Bryden introduces Simone Weil, whose life and philosophy were one and the same.
BP has been found “grossly negligent” in the lead-up to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I wrote a series of haikus in response to the original event, and other oil-related events past and imagined,
Many of my Facebook friends have changed their profile picture to the Arabic letter N. It stands for ‘Nazarene’, or Christian. ISIS is drawing it on the houses of Christians in Iraq, to indicate who to target.
When one hits mid-life, one is obligated to have a crisis, right?
Introducing the TEDxExeter 2015 theme of “Taking the Long View”: asking about the responsibilities the past places on us, and how taking the long view into the future can shape the way we live and the decisions we make.
“I am a novice in every new moment of the day, each of which presents possibilities unknown and untried. Why not embrace that fact and see what happens? … [W]e all live at the intersection of our small worlds and the big one around us. If we want to serve others, we must attend to … Read moreParker J Palmer
On the 3rd Sunday of each month, Holy Trinity Church Exmouth runs a Hard Questions Café, where tough life questions can be explored in a frank and non-judgemental way. Here are the stories and questions I used.
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it? Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better? Will I ever be able to sing, even the … Read moreMary Oliver
Written for TEDxExeter 2014 “Ideas Without Frontiers”: Access to the World Wide Web, being overwhelmed, information security, and is Google making us stupid?
Written for TEDxExeter 2014 “Ideas Without Frontiers”: The value of focusing attention and how boundaries inspire creativity, as well as pushing the frontiers of knowledge and Interdisciplinary sparks.
Written for TEDxExeter 2014 “Ideas Without Frontiers”: More about the reality of some physical frontiers, while pollutants do not respect national boundaries.
Written for TEDxExeter 2014 “Ideas Without Frontiers”: More about pilgrims than immigrants, and how our planet is bounded whereas our imaginations aren’t.
Written for TEDxExeter 2014 “Ideas Without Frontiers”: Forex flows, international debt, tax avoidance, respiratory illness metaphors, and where there is a frontier that needs dismantling.
“I would ask you to take a walk on your own (where and at what time of day is up to you) for at least half an hour. I would like you to walk ‘as’ the last human survivor of a zombie apocalypse.”
“Begin everything you attempt with the earnest prayer that it will be brought to perfection.” — Prologue to the Rule, Mucknell Abbey
Clare Bryden. Ethics on hold? Third Way Magazine, November 2013.
Is the smartphone in your pocket fuelling violence on the other side of the world? Clare Bryden asks some uncomfortable questions about our complex relationship with gadgets – and investigates new ways to connect more ethically.
Clare Bryden. How Place Shapes Prayer. Reform Magazine, November 2013.
Clare Bryden explores the spirituality of place in a Benedictine community in Worcestershire.
Clare Bryden. Far more than two’s company. Church Times, 11 October 2013.
Crowdfunding is one way of raising finance which can benefit church and community projects, and offer ethical projects for donors and investors, Clare Bryden discovers.
Yesterday was the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment. So it’s appropriate that I spent the afternoon walking with Phil Mythogeography Smith in search of sacred and pseudo-sacred spaces.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That fostered the brightness of day. Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself. — A Blessing for One Who … Read moreJohn O’Donohue
Clare Bryden. Blackberrying for beginners. Resurgence Magazine, Sep/Oct 2013.
Shortlisted essay from the Resurgence & Ecologist Nature Writing Competition.
It happened! Possibly not one of the daftest ideas I’ve had, but must be one of the dafter ideas I’ve pursued.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is 70 years old. Here’s my version reflecting the hierarchy in the UK and US.
A list of the Twitter accounts of Devon County Councillors in Exeter wards.
I have been impressed in recent weeks at the usefulness of Twitter in engaging with councillors and other movers and shakers in and around Exeter City Council. Within limits, though, as you’ll be able to see from my list arranged by political party.
Look up post boxes on the internet, and you stumble into a strange and fascinating place.
Finally, on 3 September I received a letter dated 21 August in response to mine of 2 August. But I have some comments…
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Just a bit of humour…
I have a dream of a mix of local retail, local business, charities and social entrepreneurs, artists’ studios and housing.
Clare Bryden. An appeal to inner values. Church Times, 30 August 2013.
Good causes will get further by emphasising their intrinsic worth rather than external rewards, argues Clare Bryden.
I’ve not yet received a direct response from Hugo Swire MP to my letter about the family from Clyst St George needing to walk 11 miles to Exeter Foodbank and back.
How we name our streets and public buildings is a reflection of the values of history and our values today. It subconsciously and subtly affects our self-worth.
How is it that in a country as wealthy as the UK, more than 500,000 people are reliant on food parcels? Please represent your constituents, and do something to address food poverty, injustice and inequality.
“If governments knew how subversive is contemplative prayer, they would ban it.”
It was a hot bright day during the 2013 summer heatwave. I approached from below through the gardens recently planted with exotics from even hotter climes. I passed through a circular seating space, an antechamber, through a narrow door into a low and dark space stoppered by light in front and behind, and opened out suddenly into bright height.
Last year, I did the first half of a walk down the 1800s route of Woodwater Lane. I managed the western half as far as the Retail Park, before giving up due to the rain. Exactly one year later, I completed the journey.
OrganicARTS, based at West Town Farm near Ide, has done a lot of work with pottery using clay from the Farm, natural materials and dyes, and it has been an ambition to encourage writers too.
Now is the time when we most need our pollinators, and our pollinators need wildflowers to thrive. So I have been feeling sad over the last few days about the acres of wildflowers in the verges in Exeter that are being strimmed, and took it upon myself to protest a little…
Clare Bryden. Review of “Counter-Tourism: The Handbook” assembled by Crab Man. Third Way Magazine, June 2013.
“Trade with the gifts that God has given you.”
Clare Bryden. Digging where we stand. Third Way Magazine, June 2013.
Driven by restless searching, our modern world often seems to undermine the very community we crave. But Clare Bryden believes that’s an invitation to dig deeper for the roots that truly sustain us.
Clare Bryden. As if people mattered, 40 years on. Church Times, 24 May 2013.
E. F. Schumacher’s ideas still need to be reckoned with, argues Clare Bryden.
Oh dear, I was writing about Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, then I was writing about modern criticism of the book, then I was writing about environmental regulation vs economic freedom, then I was quoting George Osborne, and it all went downhill from there. But I enjoyed the rant 🙂
In the 3 May edition of the Church Times, Bishop Anthony Priddis wrote an article extolling thorium: “Thorium: it’s green, nuclear, safe”. I have just sent a Letter to the editor in response, questioning his underlying assumptions.
My electricity monitor usefully shows how much I’m using, without me having to dig out the key in order to read the outdoor meter. I also want to know how I best I can use my lovely solar electricity.
It’s impossible and unhealthy to live with heightened anxiety over a long period of time. And scaring people and making them feel guilty are rubbish motivators of behavioural change.
Blackbird perched precariously in pyracantha, picking at plentiful berries. #ventriloquismforbeginners
There are several possible origins for the word ‘religion’ and its modern senses. None of these need imply certainty and rule out doubt. I want to go back to the etymological origins of ‘religion’, and ask a few questions. In the spirit of the TEDxExeter 2013 theme of Living the Questions, I’m not expecting to answer them.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Self-explanatory, really.
Like many, one of my most vivid memories of infant school was the ritual of drinking our morning third-pint of milk.
I intended to spend the morning re-reading Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but instead spent the morning reading around it. So after lunch, I allowed the sun to call me out for a walk down by my very own Tinker Creek that is the Northbrook.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Stop trying to solve negative things, and work with positive things instead.
Clare Bryden. Visit a mythical land – our own. Review of “Mythogeography: A Guide to Walking Sideways” by Phil Smith. Reform Magazine, April 2013.
“There’s so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way, and it doesn’t need to be painful or empty. You need to … Read moreEmery Allen
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: “The neurotic is a person who worries about something that did not happen in the past. He’s [sic] not like us normal people who worry about things that will not happen in the future.”
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Throw away your satnav, experiment with deliberate lostness and reconnect with where you are.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: You’ll just have to read it.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: OK, actually about climate change: why Doha was so important, how it has been forgotten, and what you can do.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Inequality – estimated, actual, and ideal – and what we can do about it.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Allowing Paul Gauguin to ask the questions, and invite contemplation of the meaning of life.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Quite possibly one of the world’s best musicians on the street corner, or a myriad other things.
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Moving from Rayleigh scattering to why children keep asking why, and why many adults stop.
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Written for TEDxExeter 2013 “Living the Questions”: Trying not to define myself by my job or any roles, the labels the world would like to slap on me, or any of my mind, emotions or body in isolation from the rest.
Today is the feast day of St John of the Cross, Spanish mystic and poet. Here’s an English version of his poem “Tras de un amoroso lance”, which beautifully captures a number of types of hope.
The Parkology group is posting (mostly) daily during Advent, focusing on ‘What gives you hope?’ Here is what I posted for #Advent 3.
Counterpoint choir has just released a new CD of music as ancient and deep as time itself: the most beautiful expressions of the joys and sorrows of the Christmas narrative and Incarnation.
The Women Bishops Measure was lost in the House of Laity, by six votes. It might not be a rejection of women bishops, just the enabling legislation, but it sure feels like a rejection to me.
The Great Britain Family Names website allows you to find out where your surname comes from, and how many people share it. Bryden isn’t that common, but what interests me is the geographical spread.
Blog Action Day falls within Congo Week, and “The Power of We” is beautifully exemplified by the Congo Calling campaign.
Clare Bryden. Peril of eating all the pie. Review of “The Price of Inequality” by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Church Times, 12 October 2012.
Clare Bryden studies an analysis of the economic crisis.
“The progress of any writer is marked by those moments when she manages to outwit her own inner police system which tells her what is permissible, what is possible, what is ‘her’.” — Adapted
Brueggemann: “the yearning for land is always a serious historical enterprise concerned with historical power and belonging. Such a dimension is clearly played upon by the suburban and exurban real estate ads that appeal to that rapacious hunger.”
There’s a rowan tree planted beside the bus stop on Grecian Way, and this autumn it’s laden with bright red berries.
In honour of Silent Spring, I spent two hours wandering around my neighbourhood and listening. Listening not just for birds, but for everything, including all those sounds we usually tune out.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. In its honour, I am spending a couple of hours walking around my neighbourhood listening for bird song. In the meantime, here are three short posts I wrote a year and a half ago, reflecting on the book.
Today was the first time ever, at least for years, that I’ve seen another deliberate blackberrier in Ludwell Valley Park.
It was late afternoon when I walked down to Ludwell Valley Park to pick blackberries. I’d just started, around a kink in the hedge and mostly hidden from the gate, when I heard lads’ voices.
A response to Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost and the BBC programme A History of Art in Three Colours, Blue.
The house martins were gathering and sporting on the wing, prior to departure for warmer climes, and Mark Lane from Wilderness Guide kindly popped over to see what plants we could find in Woodwater Lane in September.
Malbork Castle in Poland, built in the mediaeval period by the Teutonic Knights, is the largest castle in the world by surface area, and the largest brick building in Europe. I visited with a friend in 1992.
During 2009/10 I worked as a consultant on the Shrinking the Footprint campaign in the Diocese of Exeter, and the following year lived in the eco-monastery at Mucknell Abbey.
I cycled to the dog-walkers’ field above Ludwell Valley Park. I found blackberries. I picked blackberries. I cycled home. I made blackberry water ice.
A response to Phil Smith Mythogeography: a Guide to Walking Sideways.
Sometimes the mystery and the not-knowing are more satisfying and enjoyable than solution.
I’ve always had a problem with buses. Mythogeography tells me to get on a random bus, and see where it takes me for a set number of stops. But I’m able to end up here there and everywhere, even when I’m just trying to get home.
I was away from Exeter for a couple of weeks, and when I returned (though I returned) I remained absent. It was several days before I remembered it was ‘high summer’ and there was free fruit to be had in Ludwell Valley Park and along the suburban margins.
Much of the stone used to build St Loyes Chapel looks as though it came from Heavitree Quarry, but there were many other types of stone there.
Clare Bryden. It’s the equality, stupid. Church Times, 30 July 2012.
Measures of wealth and poverty are complex and subtle; but there is one simple factor, argues Clare Bryden.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that… Clare is brilliant
When did the Heavitree quarries stop being worked? The old maps provide some evidence.
Maybe I just wanted to be a mythogeographer when I grew up.
Seeing the stone in St Loyes Chapel made me want to walk back up Quarry Lane and look for evidence of the quarry.
It’s a pleasant little segment in Rifford Road, set in a garden surrounded with metal railings. There is a bus-stop in front, and it is very ease to miss St Loyes Chapel altogether if you don’t know it is there.
Once upon a time I saw a very old OS map of Exeter in the Treasures of the British Library exhibition. Now through the miracle of Google, I know that it was the Drawing for the first edition Ordnance Survey map of Exeter. 1801 Maps OSD 40.(3).
In Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment, there is no way of knowing the state of the system without opening the box. Hence to the outside observer the cat is both living and dead, smeared out in equal parts.
I spent a day immured in the office at the computer, feeling wintry-cold while it rained and rained. By night-time, I was completely frowstie at being stuck indoors. As the rain had pretty much dried up, I decided on some mythogeography. Going for walks at odd times, like 10.30pm, follows mythogeographical principles, after all.
I found this marvellous book from 1892 in the Westcountry Studies Library, now Devon Archives and Local Studies.
As a birthday treat, I promised myself a walk down Woodwater Lane, from home to water to wood to home again. A satisfying experimentation in exploring the present day.
“Keep buggering on”
Yesterday, cycling down a section of Woodwater Lane, I noticed a corn cockle in the bank. It struck me that I have cycled down the lane many a time, walked down it occasionally, picked blackberries at that time of year, but I have never really paid attention to it.
It was a happy accident that the house I bought when I moved to Exeter is very close to Ludwell Valley Park. It is my slice of countryside in the city, where I can wander down enclosed lanes, through fields of nodding purple grasses.
I find writing a blog slightly weird. Well, not so much writing it, as thinking about who’s reading it. Something strikes me, I write a post and publish it. I’m just writing about stuff that interests me. It’s weird to think that this might interest other people as well.
I’ve been watching some of the highlights of the Euro2012 football tournament. The online clips, at least on the BBC website, all start with the flowery Euro2012 logo and a burst of five notes ba-da-ba-bup-ba.
Clare Bryden. A fresh way to share good ideas. Church Times, Issue 7786, 8 June 2012.
TED talks are spreading in influence. The Church can learn from them, says Clare Bryden.
This week I am happy because “my” house martins have returned. It happened on Tuesday. As I was sitting at my desk, suddenly there was a rush of gurgling and chuckling, and I looked out of my window to see madcap aerobatics.
My post responding to Andy Robertson’s TEDxExeter talk was cut off. Here’s what I can remember of the rest.
At TEDxExeter the talk I found the most difficult was Andy Robertson about “Sustainable Perspectives on Video Games”. But for that reason, it was the talk I thought I most had to re-watch and engage with.