Comments – “Up in the Air”

Here are a few of the responses to “Up in the Air” left in the comments book:

Super interesting. Innovative & inventive. Love it!

Brilliant concept and presentation – more excellent ideas on how to present data clearly and creatively!

Love it – particularly simple yet simply complex!

Weird in a good way

My chemical eyes needed opening – & this has done it! Many thanks

This is so simple and yet so effective, the colours really contrast and it is very bold and interesting! Love it!

Gentleness in strength!

Fascinating — make sure you don’t miss the axes!

You’ve got me thinking again – thank you

The last was one of a few comments that showed the exhibition provoked thought, which was particularly pleasing.

In case you were wondering, here’s a video explaining how you make a booklet using saddle stitch, and here are all the comments…

Up in the Press

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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.

On the same day, Chemistry World published an article entitled “Weaving is believing”, which mentioned Particulart among other means of representing chemistry in yarn. Chemistry World is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, “bringing you the latest chemistry news and research every day”. Can’t get much more illustrious than that!

If you’re still inclined to see knitting and needlework through that stereotypical prism – all Women’s Institutes and tea cosies – you’d better wake up. Knitting is radical. Just look up guerilla knitting, or yarn bombing: textile-based graffiti of a sort that deserves to give street art a good name. Its potential to register gently subversive protest has inspired two artists in the West Country [alright my luvver!], under the name Particulart, to knit molecules implicated in air pollution and climate change: you can download the patterns and make your own cuddly molecules, should you wish.

And the exhibition was featured in a nice post by Nicky Shobeiry on the Glorious Gallery blog.

‘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!). With a background in science, economics, energy and the environment, Clare’s ‘Up in the Air’ exhibit is one with a very particular message about our climate. Below, I speak to her about it all – including the importance of squishy knitted molecules.

Photos – Knit your own carbon dioxide workshop

Diana helped with a workshop mid-exhibition. We had a great time learning a few new knitting stitches and techniques, and though we didn’t finish a whole knitted carbon dioxide molecule, we did manage to make one out of pompoms!

The conversation flowed over a whole range of ideas and issues. Chloe Uden from RegenSW told us about the SWIMBY musical about the Transition movement. It’s going to feature someone knitting in a corner throughout!

Composer Emma Welton brought some hi-tech equipment to record the sound of knitting. Her interest is also in energy generation, so she has been recording wind turbines, hydro-electricity, and large-scale power stations. Looking forward to hearing what she creates out of it all.

Photos by Clive Chilvers.

Photos – “Up in the Air”

Photos of the exhibition in the Glorious Art House, Exeter, from 11-24 July 2015.

The gallery on the second floor became the Earth’s atmosphere, as particles hung in space around an inflatable globe. But the particles were also hung according to three pieces of data. So the gallery was also effectively a 3D graph. It even had axis labels, because if one is going to be a data geek, one may as well go the whole hog!

The posters around the room supplied the salient data about each particle, and the particle structures and the data also provided the material for some games – Turn Up Trumps and Fair Weather Friends – based on a couple of family favourites. There was a wordsearch too, all available to play nestled among the cushions in the games alcove.

And finally, there were leaflets about the exhibition and knitting patterns available to take away. You can find out more about the issue of climate change and what you can do, and download the patterns and games, on the “Up in the Air” exhibition page.

Photos by Clare and Clive Chilvers.

There’s something in the wind…

Amidst all the excitement of “Particulart: Up in the Air”, let’s not forget our origins, critiquing the Incinerator. In the 16th July edition of Express & Echo, there was a short update on Recycling in Exeter.

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Diana and I couldn’t let this pass. I was particularly struck by the nonsensical “contributing 3MWh per hour of operation to the National Grid”… which just means the Incinerator’s generation capacity is 3MWe, and tells us nothing about the number of hours of operation and how much electricity it has actually generated. Diana is currently trying to get hold of some data for generation and operating costs. In the meantime, I have compared it with the capacity and cost of wind generation.

OK, so according to its communications [ is now broken], the Incinerator was expected to cost £45m, and has a capacity of 3MWe. That’s £15m per MWe. The cost of generating each kWh is to be determined.

Let’s take offshore wind, which the UK is quite good at. Each turbine in the London Array, commissioned in 2012, has a capacity of 3.6MWe. At the moment, the average cost of capacity is 2.5-3.0 million Euro/MW, or up to £2m per MWe; and the average cost of generation is 161 euros ($208) per MegaWattHour, or 11p/kWh.

So the Incinerator has a smaller capacity than one wind turbine, and costed 7.5 times as much per MW!!

Here’s the Incinerator equation for garbage in, garbage out:

(carbon content of waste + rest of waste) + oxygen + other reactive gases
   → carbon dioxide + other flue gases + flyash

Some estimate the carbon content to be 27% of the total waste, which means that incineration of 1 tonne of waste would produce approximately 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. Others put the carbon content at nearly 50%, which means 1 tonne of waste in, nearly 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide out.

The Incinerator is designed to accept up to 60,000 tonnes per year of waste. That means 60,000 to 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Exeter has a population of about 120,000. Ignoring the carbon footprint of building the Incinerator and offshore wind, and of other operations such as waste delivery, flyash removal and maintenance…

The Incinerator adds 0.5 to 1 tonnes of carbon dioxide to every person’s annual carbon budget. Offshore wind is zero carbon.

Furthermore, that is 60,000 tonnes of waste that has not been reduced, reused or recycled. It is not very surprising that recycling rates in Exeter have gone down, since the Incinerator needs feeding.

Now let’s turn to Diana’s main concern…

Food waste makes up about 36% of the waste input to the Incinerator, and it could instead be be composted or processed more efficiently in a anaerobic digester to produce biogas. The point about the garden waste scheme is not relevant regarding food waste, as the scheme really does only collect garden waste.

Diana thinks the point about the cost of food waste collection is a cover up for the fact that Exeter City Council’s negotiations with Teignbridge and East Devon District Councils on food waste collection have recently collapsed.

Here’s another article from Monday’s Express & Echo, which makes the arguments over the cost of collection academic.

2015-07-20 E&E p7

So if food waste is rightly diverted away from the Incinerator, where will all the waste to feed it be sourced?

Photos – “Up in the Air” set-up

Clare managed to get in to the Glorious a couple of days early, so has already set up. Difficult to take photos of the whole room with only a smartphone – need a proper camera with a fish-eye lens! But hopefully these give a flavour of the transformation of the gallery into the Earth’s atmosphere and a 3-dimensional graph via the medium of knitting and chemistry!

Knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop

A5 leaflet - Up websiteAs part of the Up in the Air exhibition, Diana Moore of Particulart and Knit-Stop will run a free knit-your-own carbon dioxide workshop.

It will be held on Saturday 18 July from 10am-12 noon, in the gallery on the second floor of the Glorious Art House at 120 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ. Refreshments will be available for purchase from the café.

Materials will be provided, but do bring your own needles and yarn if you would like. You can view and download the patterns used to create the particles in your own time.

Places on the workshop are limited, so please let us know you’re planning to come.

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Download the press release as a pdf

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Embargoed until Tuesday 7th July 2015

An innovative art installation goes on show this week to bring alive the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change [1]. Local artist Clare Bryden has been knitting larger than life versions of the particles and making card games. The exhibition [2], 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.

Clare said: “This year is vital, as governments are meeting in Paris in December, and hopefully they will come to a ground-breaking agreement on the climate [3].

“Exeter is home to two world-class climate research centres at the Met Office and the University. They are advising the government on how human activity is changing the climate, and what reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need to make to avoid dangerous climate change.

“The government also needs to hear the concerns of the ordinary person in the street. But because the climate is changing over such a long time-scale and the potential impacts are so huge, it’s difficult to talk or even think about it [4].

“Climate change is happening up in the air, and the outcome of the negotiations in Paris is up in the air too. Knitting and making card games are my ways of bringing it all back down to earth.

“I wanted to appeal to the different ways that different people take in information, both through words and numbers, and through the senses of sight and touch.

“This exhibition is a creative way of getting a serious message across. I have knitted carbon dioxide and methane amongst others and I urge people to come along and have a play! We will even be holding a workshop [2] where you can knit your own carbon dioxide.”

‘Up in the Air’ is supported by a Small Arts Grant from Exeter City Council and sponsorship from the Diocese of Exeter.



[1] The Met Office has produced an infographic exploring the difference between weather and climate, what drives our climate and how our climate is changing – see

[2] ‘Up in the Air’ is running in the gallery on the 2nd floor of the Glorious Art House in Fore Street, Exeter from Saturday 11th to Friday 24th July. There will also be a knitting workshop run by Diana Moore of Knit Stop from 10am-12noon on Saturday 18th July. For more information and booking, please see

[3] “Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks” at

[4] “Why your climate conversations always go wrong, and how to make them better”
[Now at]


Clare Bryden
07794 505707