This Spring, I was delighted to be awarded a creative commission for the Climate Action Fund Bristol. I will be focusing my work on the techniques of Craftivism. Craftivism is a gentle act of protest, where you create and gift something beautiful, handmade and personalised to a decision-maker, in order to highlight an issue and ask for constructive action to help make the world a better place.

I am working craftivisticly across six communities in Bristol and citywide through zoom sessions creating work to encourage adults and politicians to make good choices for the environment.

Sitting at the heart of my role with the Climate Action Fund I am motivated by the BBC Newsround survey which found that 61% of children aged 14-16 think adults are not doing enough to prevent climate change.

My first craftivist session was based on asking for clean air back in June. using the simple message Love Our Lungs, It encourages people to create a botanical sun catcher based on the shape of human lungs and send them as a gift to a local decision maker. For me personally campaigning for cleaner air is not just a “green” issue but one of postcode based health inequalities, social and climate justice.

As a parent I became involved in campaigning for cleaner air about five years ago and as I delved into information there were many frightening and shocking discoveries. The most shocking was the permanent damage and stunting of capacity to young growing lungs.

If you want to join in our LOVE OUR LUNGS craftivist activity follow the activity on this Youtube Link and consider posting your work to either a local councillor or MP. Let them know why you personally were moved to make it. If you need help writing a letter there are some pointers in this document.

Personally , I find Clean Air Day in June a token gesture. When talking to authorities about dirty air, it is often suggested doing a Clean Air Day activity would be constructive. Trivialising such an important issue into one day is challenging. It makes it really hard to get past the well documented car use conversation and onto the health impacts of dirty air and how unequally it’s felt across the city of Bristol. We need every day to be a clean air day. Join in this activity whenever it’s a good time for you.

As I write this, since the start of the pandemic 626 people in Bristol have died of Covid which represents 13% or all deaths during this time and there is a lot of chatter about acceptable levels of death in the media. In Bristol during an ordinary year the average amount of deaths due to air pollution is 300 per year representing 8.5% of deaths. Is this really acceptable?

My own children, especially when they were younger would describe feeling the petrol and diesel fumes on the school run hitting the back of their throat, hurting it and sometimes making them sick. They noticed their eyes stinging and they would cough and wretch in the fumes as they walked past chugging cars on the way to school. They were luckier than other classmates who were regularly hospitalised with asthma attacks.

I don’t think tackling air pollution is easy for local politicians and it’s great that some steps such as cleaning the emissions from Bristol’s busses have been taken but we need bolder action. Children who walk to school deserve more than plastic Travel Tracker badges as rewards. The children are not the ones deciding how they should get to school. A true reward for those who walk every day would be air equality and a safe clean walk to school. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if every school in Bristol had School Streets recognition, regardless of how busy the road outside it is.

Last week , Bristol’s Clean Air Zone was pushed it back for another year. Other cities outside London are beginning to deliver, cleaning the air and reducing the carbon emissions of their citizens in the shortest possible time. I look forward to concrete action (no pun intended) from Bristol.

Further Information

More info about the Bristol Community Climate Action Project:https://bristolgreencapital.org/project_cat/community-climate-action/

Creative Commissions of which one is my Climate Craftivism project: https://bristolgreencapital.org/creativity-climate-and-community/

National climate craftivist activity is being led by The Craftivist Collective.

#canarycraftivists: https://craftivist-collective.com/blog/2021/06/canarycraftivists/

 

I was shocked to find out that what we do online accounts for around 3.7% of global emissions which is akin to the same amount of carbon produced by the airline industry. We don’t think about our digital life having a massive carbon output but it does and we can reduce it easily while sitting down.

There are lots of mind boggling numbers and vagueries about how many grams of carbon your daily email traffic costs our planet and much cleverer people than me have done the sums and their links and resources are below.

My latest craftivist YouTube activity for Bristol Green Capital Partnership is here. Feel free to join in and pass on the knowledge….when you know ,you know.

https://youtu.be/I83-4xebxXQ

Download the pdf of QR codes here….https://www.thelamplighters.org.uk/about-3

Here are some tips…

  1. Delete old email accounts that you no longer use – you don’t need them.
  2. Delete old social media accounts.
  3. Delete emails that are over 2 years old.
  4. Unsubscribe from all those annoying companies cluttering your inbox.
  5. Go through your digital videos and photographs and delete all the ones you hate, those that feature your thumb and the floor and those you took for someone else and have already sent.
  6. Storing photos and documents on your hard drive has a lower carbon footprint than storing on the cloud.
  7. If like me you need fast access to images on the cloud – swap to cloud storage powered by renewables- an easy guide is located in resource 2

Maybe you could spend a rainy afternoon decluttering your digital life.

Some ideas for new digital habits…

  1. Sending attachments has a bigger digital footprint than sending a link to documents.
  2. Emails that Cc and Bcc unnecessary people multiply the co2 emissions by the amount of recipients 
  3. Sending really long email trails has a bigger co2 output than a short email.
  4. Lots of emails in a day to the same person have a bigger output than one email so really think about your communications before you press send.

Computers, Mobiles, Tablets and other Devices

We are beholden to big tech companies who stop updating software for older phones but as a consumer we do have power.

  1. Only replace your device when it cannot be repaired 
  2. When replacing your phone, consider a fairphone.
  3. Powering up a desktop and a laptop uses much more energy than a phone or tablet – if you can do it on a smaller device then do it.
  4. Switch off devices completely when you are not going to use them for several hours.

Resources and Sources.

1.

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think

2.

https://www.climatecare.org/resources/news/infographic-carbon-footprint-internet/

3.

Phttps://www.fairphone.com/en/

I was delighted to be asked to run some workshops and create a mini film to inspire the communities around Emerson’s Green and Lyde Green to join in with the fancy dress parade for Linking The Greens Festiival on 25th September 2021.

This blog post is a one stop shop for those in the community who couldn’t make it to the workshops.

The YouTube link for the inspiration film is here

If you wish to download a template they will be the correct size when printed at A4.

If you find it helpful you can view links to my previous YouTube content on headress making from waste materials on my youtube channel here

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-LjUgcOkUS1zR2yMK-7wFw/videos

Enjoy and join in….

Many thanks to The Three Greens Festival and South Gloucestershire Council for commissioning this piece of work.

This craftivist intervention is just a gift for you or a friend. It aims to make the most of small growing spaces and is a bit of instant joy crafting.

Bristol recently achieved a Gold for sustainable food. Growing at home is a great way to create a positive impact on the environment.

You could plant, herbs, salad leaves, strawberries or beautiful insect friendly plants.

To follow the film and join in you will need An old pair of jeans, Scissors, hot glue or a needle and strong thread, peat free compost, plants and some plastic bottles from your recycling.

Just click here

Recently St Paul’s Carnival, Bristol, UK got in touch to ask me to make a headress workshop film for people wishing to dress up for the online St Paul’s Carnival event this summer. I worked alongside recent UWE Bristol graduate ShadiaHussein to create the film. You can check out the film Here

and or follow the instructions below.

Tropical Headress
I also used double sided sticky tape in the videos.

Firstly I made a headress base from an old cereal packet and some emery boards. Download the templates, Cut them out and then checkout this Video with your stapler and emery boards at the ready.

Then dilute some PVA glue by 50% with water and create some textured paper.

Be generous with the glue mixture, laying colours of tissue paper and shiny chocolate wrappers ensuring that you create some beautiful textures. Cover both sides of the paper and leave them in a sunny or warm spot to dry. I like to work on top of a sheet of bubble wrap to make it easy to turn the pieces over. Check out this video Here

It will take about an hour for the gluey papers to dry, while you are waiting check out these two flower making videos. First check out the one for the orange flowers which I made around a stick I collected from the local park.

Secondly check out the large oversize Pink flowers video I created to give a feeling of decadence.

Once those flowers are created you need to think about cutting out the leaves. This video will help. Make sure you cut out a large variety of shapes and sizes of leaves to create texture. Folding either way down the spine will give them a great shape.

Lastly, watch this videoto get some inspiration to assemble the headress. The emery boards are great because they allow for a real carnivalesque height, you can staple into them or use neat PVA glue. If you have problems attaching bigger pieces, I used a little tape and then covered it with leaves.

When you are done apply either more leaves to the rear of the headress or a tissue paper and water application similar to the paper making. Add elastic to keep it on your head and join the party online at St Paul’s Carnival FaceBook page.

Enjoy the make and if you like he work check out ARTS ENLARGE and The Lamplighters

Click here for the full story…

The Lamplighters have been commissioned by Bristol Women’s Voice to produce a lantern parade as part of the centenary celebrations of (some) women gaining the voting rights.

Bristol suffragettes were a big part of this campaign 100 years ago. We are hosting a lantern parade from Berkeley Square at 6pm on Tuesday 6th February. Berkeley Square was at the heart of Bristol suffrage action 100 years ago. All are welcome to join the parade.

We have Workshops in lots of locations across Bristol suitable for people of every age 5 to 105.

Check out The Lamplighters website for up to date details

27th January, Bishopston Library 2-5pm

28th January, Barton Hill Settlement 2-5pm

29th January, Bristol University Students Union 5.30-8.30pm

3rd February, The Elephant, Dean Lane, Bedminster 2-5pm

3rd February, on SEVERN BEACH LINE TRAINS 2-5pm (timetable to be confirmed)

4th February, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery 11-4pm.

MAKE YOUR OWN SUFFRAGETTE PLACARD LANTERN

If you can’t come to a workshop and want to join the parade – Grab a big white paper takeaway bag and make your own (or get a friend to pick up a spare one at any of our Workshops)

Step 1.

Get hold of

a large white paper bag,

a bamboo stick,

A roll of sellotape or masking tape,

Scissors,

A LED light source – this could be a torch, a bike light a string of fairy lights etc etc…

Step 2

Write on the bag upside down and in big letters either a suffragist rallying cry, a hope for the future, or a funny and empowering joke.

Open up the bag….

Step 3

Wrap a big blob of tape round the top of a bamboo cane leaving about 2 cm or an inch spare before the end.Step 4

make a cut with a pair of scissors in the bottom of the bag. Put the stick inside and Wrap a big blob of tape around that final inch of bamboo to secure it.

Step 5

wrap a big blob of tape round the top of a bamboo cane leaving about 2 cm or an inch spare before the end.

Step 6

Tape your light-source to the stick making sure you can switch it on and off from outside the bag..

Step 7

Turn out the lights and test your creation. – See you on the 6th February at 6pm Berkeley Square, Bristol.

So it seems I am a very intermittent blogger…

 Just over a month ago I left #Bristol and travelled to Spain with #WOMAD foundation to lead the trusty Gynormous Rawkus artist team for the procession at #WOMAD #CACERES #SPAIN. The theme was one of the elements and we spent three very busy days in #artworkshops alongside the Wolfeworks artist team to create a procession. We decided to approach the elemental theme through a woodland. With a giant fiery fox puppet, earthy mushrooms, puppet birds in the sky and rain falling from it to keep the cycle healthy.

Here are some images;

img_1462img_1448

I came back from New York at the end of September with a crash into playing catch up with my ordinary working life. October was upon me and I was facilitating a week of professional development alongside my longterm colleague Alan May.

Thanks to Bedminster Winter Lanterns achieving a successful Grants For The Arts bid from Arts Council England, I was delighted to co-lead a professional development in lantern making with Alan May last October. Blessed with a fabulous team of artists from those at the beginning of their professional practice to those with many years experience we set to work designing an experience in animated lanterns.

As a team of lantern makers it was an opportunity to explore light diffusion and puppetry within lantern making and develop new ways of working with colleagues in the region.

Hard on the heels of my return fron New York City it was a fabulous chance to Experiment with some new technical skills inspired by working alongside Processional Arts Workshop last September.

Alan May and I trained fresh artists from DNA arts and Boom Satsuma in the art of delivering a fast and furious community workshop. We collaborated with Richard Headen from The Desperate Men to develop a narrative for our large structures and built 3 new animated lantern structures.

FLO the giant girl, her jar of wonders and the moth were drawn to five different lantern events between October and January. Radstock Light The Night and Bath City Farm Bonfire Produced by DNArts and The Natural Theatre Company, Devizes Lantern Parade produced by DOCA. Church Road Lantern Parade produced by The Lamplighters and of course Bedminster Winter Lanterns.

Many thanks and credit to all the creatives involved Alan May, Steph Reeves, Megan Bentall Clarke, Ali Brown, Amy Peck, Ruth Ramsay, Becky Prior, Ruth Patchett, Niamh Peace, Dik Downey, Richard Headen, Phillips Haynes and Amber and Kathleen fromBoom Satsuma.ArtsCouncil_BritishCouncil_Lockup_Black

It has been a week since this event and I am back in the uk, apologies for not posting photos earlier. All works produced with Processional Arts Workshop.

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