Knit-your-own chemistry

Particulart is the art of knitting, chemistry and gentle protest. I and my collaborator Diana Moore wanted to engage people with environmental and social issues and challenge the status quo through the power of knitting, science, and public art. It’s about raising awareness, provoking reflection, starting conversations, and encouraging action, but without being all shouty.

The Particulart exhibitions comprised 3D knitted representations of a series of related particles, together with other activities such as a knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop. The particle design follows the ball and stick model and the CPK colour scheme: for example carbon is black, oxygen is red, chlorine is green, and sulphur is yellow. We stuffed the atoms with those plastic bags that charities keep dropping through the letterbox, and stiffened the particles with coat hanger wire. You too can now knit your own chemistry using the patterns below.

Atoms and bonds   Download pattern
Exhibition Issue and particles  
“Particulart” Exeter Incinerator and air pollution Download pattern
“Stitch in Time” Climate change, water and greenhouse gases Download pattern
“Up in the Air” Climate change and greenhouse gases Download pattern
“Greenhouse Effect” Climate change and greenhouse gases Download pattern
“Exhausted” Vehicle exhausts and air pollution Download pattern
“Ozone Day” Ozone depletion chemistry Download pattern


If you feel really ambitious, there are bajillions of other issues and molecules out there. How about neonicotinoids and other pesticides that are killing our pollinators? Or sugars and saturated fats?