Stool pieces ready to slot together

Absorbed in making

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris

Japanese Dogwood

Japanese Dogwood

When I moved to Exeter, one of the first things I did was to plant a tree. This year it’s gone ‘berserk’ and many of my neighbours have remarked on it… Which has led me to take more notice of it too.

Hanging umbrellas

Working title: “The application of weather forecasting techniques to health forecasting”

In a past working life I conducted a thought experiment, looking at the different aspects of numerical weather prediction and weather forecasting at the Met Office, and asking whether these techniques might have an analogue in health forecasting. At the time, I thought there might be a paper in it. It never came to be written, so this is how I am keeping the idea alive.

3D printed nodding donkey

Nodding donkeys

The nodding donkey is a grotesque distortion of circular natural seasonal fecundity into linear exploitative extraction. The donkeys are nodding to capitalism’s exponential growth message, always looking down even when their head is high, never looking up to reality or the future.

Xray of lungs. Photo credit: Adam Ciesielski on FreeImages.

Migration can kill

Since my wander around St Loyes with Rosie King, I’ve been continuing to think about migration patterns. The daily migration of workers on Sowton Industrial Estate became particular obvious to me during “The Birds of Sowton Industrial Estate” as it emptied of cars at the end of the working day. How do we make this migration pattern less harmful? How can we persuade people out of their cars and onto their bikes/feet?

Kite flying. Photo credit: Sandra Morais on FreeImages.

Catching the wind

Mucknell Abbey, Worcestershire, 10 March 2011 – The anticyclonic frost and cold of the beginning of March has become cyclonic bluster and low cloud. I take advantage of the force 5-ish sou’westerlies, and reach for my kite.

The world is my ostrich. Photo credit: cocoparisienne on Pixabay.

Pitch Me!

I had this little idea of Paying It Forward during 2019. I’m offering up to 3 hours of my time to help you with something inspiring, worthwhile, bonkers, thought-provoking, or maybe even useful. So it’s not wholly altruistic, as I want to have fun too!

NASA Space Apps 2018

1D, 2D, 3D, Go!

This weekend I was back at the Met Office for the NASA Space Apps Challenge, and joined the 3D Earthlings team to play with visualisation of data on a 3D representation of the Earth. Historic meteorite landings… BOOM!!

"Listening to Silent Spring"

“Listening to Silent Spring” audio

“Listening to Silent Spring” is a piece of sound art, based on a listening walk around east Exeter on the 50th anniversary of publication of “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. The sounds I noted became the script for the piece. The work is mostly silence, which allows the listener to become aware of their own ambient soundtrack.

Game of Life in greyscale

Game of Life

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?

Lynn Bailey: "The Works IV" from the "Regeneration" series

Regeneration with Lynn Bailey

Yesterday I had a great meeting with print artist Lynn Bailey, who had come to Kaleider to hear my talk on Working with Gold. She had produced work responding to Mincinglake Valley Park for the dissertation part of her Fine Arts masters.

Particulart is rife with pattern, from knitting patterns, to chemical representations and rules of the game.

“Patterns” at St Sidwells

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.

Star field. Photo credit: Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash.

Wiggle Room in the Universe

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.

"Artist Toys", Berlin 2016. Image credit: Rekha Sameer and contributing artists.

“Little colouring book: Winter Blues” in the “Artist Toys” exhibition

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.

Both side of the Soul Cube

World Origami Day

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.

Global graphical web. Photo credit: geralt, Pixabay.

Graphical Web

This week I’ve been geeking out at Graphical Web, “an annual, global conference that showcases the many new open source technologies available for presenting visual information on the web.”

Ghost Bees at Teignmouth Recycled Art in the Landscape

Knit your own bee

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.

Ploughed field in Ludwell Valley Park

Talks, sermons, lectures and media – Climate and environment

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.

2,3,6,7-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin

Knit-your-own chemistry

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.

Didcot Power Station - where else with those cooling towers? Photo credit: Forester2009 CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

“Energy infrastructures inhabit our interior landscapes” for Power Culture blog

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.

Was the Feast of Candlemas linked to a volcanic eruption?

Candlemas-ology

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?

Eating pie and ruminating on economic inequality

#BAD14 #Inequality

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…

BP has been found "grossly negligent" in the lead-up to Deepwater Horizon. Credit: skeeze on Pixabay

Petroleum

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,

What apocalypse lies behind frosted glass?

Zombie Apocalypse

“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.”

Yes, it's a pic of books in a library. Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash.

Exeter Library Square

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.

Food sorting. Photo snaffled from Exeter Foodbank website.

Letter to Hugo Swire MP

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.

View of St Michael's Mount from the top of James Turrells' Tewlwolow Kernow at Tremenheere Sculpture Parl

Tewlwolow Kernow

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.

Forget-me-nots on the verge of Ludwell Valley Park... now wantonly strimmed!

Wildflower whispers!

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…

Blackbird singing. Photo credit: Alexander Wallnöfer via Free Images.

Must. Not. Get. Sarcastic. Ach failed again.

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 🙂

Living the Questions: What is true freedom? How can we be bound together again? Photo credit: geralt via Pixabay.

Living the Questions at TEDxExeter 2013

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.

-den means pasture, usually for pigs. Photo credit: Fran Linden on Free Images.

Surname migration

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.

Ploughed field in Ludwell Valley Park

Buy this

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.”

Blackbird singing. Photo credit: Alexander Wallnöfer via Free Images.

Silent Spring

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.

Malbork Castle. Photo credit: Pawe³ Windys via Free Images.

Counter-tourism memories

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.

Blackberries. Photo credit: Benjamin Stangland via Free Images.

Smash and grab

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.

Blackberries. Photo credit: Benjamin Stangland via Free Images.

Summer fruits

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.

Old Heavitree Quarry face on Quarry Lane

Heavitree quarries

When did the Heavitree quarries stop being worked? The old maps provide some evidence.

Woodwater Lane by night

Woodwater by night

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.

Digby Water Tower on a Woodwater wander

Woodwater wander

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.

Local explorations triggered by a corn cockle

From wood to water

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.

A common house martin in the nest. Photo credit: HTO under GFDL licence via Wikimedia Commons.

The migrants’ return

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.

On speed

On 29 September, Phil Hammond, the then Transport Secretary, proposed increasing the speed limit on motorways to 80mph. We may as well, mayn’t we? After all, Department for Transport figures show that as many as 49% of drivers currently flout the current 70mph limit.

I have the same dream. Photo credit: Jerónimo Bernot on Unsplash.

Values going viral

People don’t make decisions based on rational assessment of facts; they make decisions according to how they fit with their values and identity. Psychologists classify values as either extrinsic, which concern status and success, or intrinsic, which concern relationships and benevolence. How can we make intrinsic values go viral?

A pile of fresh vegetables. Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash.

Food #BAD11

Thoughts around the L of the LOAF principles – Local, Animal friendly, Organic, Fairtrade – and how you apply these principles when confronted by a bewildering array of choices.

During 2010-11, I lived alongside a Benedictine community as they moved into the eco-monastery at Mucknell Abbey. I created a series of articles and factsheets about Sustainability for their website.

Sustainability at Mucknell Abbey

During 2010-11, I lived alongside Mucknell Abbey, a mixed Benedictine community in the Church of England. Early in the period, the community moved in to their new eco-monastery. I supported them in establishing a pattern of sustainable living, which included creating a series of articles and factsheets about Sustainability on their website.

"Climate Change, a new prophetic ministry for Anglican Religious?" Written while living in the Mucknell Abbey eco-monastery.

Climate Change, a new prophetic ministry for Anglican Religious?

Clare Bryden. Climate Change, a new prophetic ministry for Anglican Religious? Mucknell Abbey, March 2010.
“The world’s faith communities are among the oldest and most enduring of institutions. You can, and do, inspire people to change. As we take the final steps on our journey to Copenhagen, that inspiration is critical.” — UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.