On the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring – 27 September 2012 – I spent a couple of hours walking around my neighbourhood and listening. My notes became the script for a piece of sound art that provides space for the listener to pay attention to their own ambient soundtrack.
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.
FALAFELS stands for Free Art Friday Exeter St Loyes Loves Anagrams. You have to think about it a bit!
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.
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!
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.
“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.
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.
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.
It’s a toy shop that isn’t a toy shop, full of toys that aren’t toys.
I’ve finally finished my fourth and fifth “Little colouring books of climate mindfulness”. You can now get hold of “Winter Blues”, “Summertime”, “Middle Course”, “Grandchildren” and “Worst Case” in the shop.
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…
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.
My first piece in my first exhibition! The three panels of Touch:Triptych together for the first time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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. Blackberrying for beginners. Resurgence Magazine, Sep/Oct 2013.
Shortlisted essay from the Resurgence & Ecologist Nature Writing Competition.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
The Parkology group is posting (mostly) daily during Advent, focusing on ‘What gives you hope?’ Here is what I posted for #Advent 3.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Evening meal; lunchtime walk around the Exminster Marshes, and the Exe Canal and Estuary around the Turf Hotel and Topsham
Expectation can be good; having high expectations of students can lead them to do better. People in general tend to live up to or down to expectations. The problem is when the expectations are unrealistic.
The monastic practice of lectio divina allows us to open ourselves to God’s word. It can be loosely translated as ‘spiritual reading’, but does not just involve reading.
A poem inspired by Iona, and commended in Earthing Faith’s “Inspired by Creation” competition, October 2010.
This evening, I’ve been asked to talk about Prayer, I suppose because I have a practice of contemplative prayer and am about to go and live alongside a monastic community. Trouble is, how do I express the inexpressible? Here is roughly what I want to say.
An experiment in a geo-located poem, August 2010.
Poem published in Poetry Scotland, Late Spring 2010.