In light of the Covid-19 pandemic’s visible impact on lowering world pollution emissions Carbon Synthesis is a trans-disciplinary project which proposes to reveal rhythms and markers of climate change by linking art and science; revealing the effects by visualising the (in)visible.

2021 marks the beginning of a year long artist residency with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, City of Trees and Carbon Landscape which will link Little Woolden Moss in Greater Manchester to a wider international collaboration with artist’s Dr Sarah Robinson and Dr Donna Franklin (Perth, Australia) and research teams at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Finland.

Carbon Synthesis is an international investigation into the possibilities creative practice offers translating current understanding and developing technological capabilities transforming perceptions of our global wetlands.

I am hugely grateful for the opportunity this residency period offers and look forward to sharing our discoveries along the way.






‘matter resolves itself into numberless vibrations, all linked together in uninterrupted continuity, all bound up with each other, and traveling in every direction like shivers’

(Bergson, 1990:208)


As my official residency period ends I have been reflecting on the experiences and relationships walking in this space have given me.

December and January were months of heavy skies, often still with smells and sound hanging with the cloud over the ponds.  Everything feels soft and quiet – the moss is in deep winter slumber.

There are several threads, which have been developing over this year of walking, the recording of colour, the overnight UV cyanotypes, the recording of peat levels, and the creation of a cloud archive. These observations have given me a new insight into this unique landscape; it feels like a privilege to have had the time and opportunity to share these rhythms and cycles.

Donna, Sarah and I have continued our conversations, walking and making remotely, connected through carbon and wetland ecology.

The first of our propositions to weave these thoughts together was accepted to the Carbon Border Voices project:

Carbon Synthesis: Archive of Species, examines deep time and its human/non-human connection through carbon. Καιρός (Kairos) is a Greek word meaning Time (Ancient Greek) and Weather (Modern Greek) specific to surroundings and yet revealed in fleeting experiences. As global climatic systems reach tipping points, how much can the chemistry in the air and below the surface tell us about climate conditions? Conversational exchanges inform each artist’s creative response, inviting encounters to reimagine and challenge existing notions of climate change.

Each artist investigates Καιρός in relation to their own practice, weaving together through making and response.

How to Hold A Cloud in your Hand was created as a direct response to my time on Little Woolden Moss. Recent research and climate models have shown an uncertain behaviour of clouds. In some climate models, clouds strongly amplify warming. In others they have a neutral effect or dampen warming slightly. To avoid exceeding a certain level of global warming, the world needs to limit how much carbon is emitted.

Global warming is expected to cause changes in the amount of cloud cover, the height and thickness of the clouds, shifting the balance between the effectiveness of the cloud feedback.

Aerosol particles are critical for cloud formation, and different types affect how the clouds will behave. For example, when CO2 levels rise, some low-lying clouds become unstable and break up. When these clouds break up, they no longer shade the Earth’s surface, triggering accelerated global warming.

So in response to this research I began a cloud archive, collected during walking journeys, my clouds are drawn at a scale relative to what I see and can imagine holding in my hand. The measurement reflecting the presence of my own body as it moves through the landscape.

These hand-held clouds are drawn using ink created using carbon powder; the carbon is mixed with water and applied to a film surface. The suspended carbon acts as a seed to create the liquid cloud. As the water evaporates the carbon is laid down as a trace of its suspended state. If the day is warm, the evaporation is swift and the drawing is gestural and dark, if the day is cooler the suspended carbon has time to settle in gentle reticulations, affected by subtle wind and movements in the atmosphere.

The clouds become a trace of the day’s environmental conditions as well as a record of the time taken to seed the imaginary clouds themselves. Aesthetics, material interactions and καιρός intertwine with current thinking around geo-engineering, imagination, and scientific manipulation of atmospheric rhythms, to create this durational series of works. The resulting archive is a provocation to consider a future re-imagining of our skies without clouds, a planet devoid of a protective membrane.

You can see and read the full proposal here – –

We will continue to develop our thoughts and artworks over the coming months,

Sharing our journeys as we go.

I will continue to visit Little Woolden Moss observing its unique rhythms and markers of life.

I would like to thank LWT, City of Trees and all the amazing individuals who have taken the time to share their insights and knowledge and for the opportunity to spend so much time learning to see what is often invisible.


‘Seeing the world as mere object implies its exploitation: seeing it, or feeling it, as a mirror of the self is more or less an ecological position, may imply a sense of caring and of living in relation to rather than exerting power over worlds’.

Malcolm Miles


The landscape of a peat bog is muted especially in winter, but on closer inspection there is a fantastic array of colours in this landscape.

There has been a marked drop in temperature this month. A change in cloud cover also often brings a change in the sonic landscape. Some days the hum of the boundary motorway is very invasive but on other days you barely notice it and just focus on the birdsong.

Early morning walks early in November bring with them heavy dew. Drops sit on the ends of the grass like jewels glistening in the light, soaking your legs as you walk.

Dew days reveal unseen rhythms of the grass and the spider’s lines linking the trees and heathers.

This month saw the Beaver Moon – the beginning of hibernation months.

A late sprinkling of snow changed the moss from autumnal colours to a landscape in monochrome.

Networks of Fox and Hare are mapped across the bunds.

Observations and recording have become more than a weekly exercise, they have begun to take on a life of their own, reflecting my presence as much as the weather and landscape. My studies reinforce my connection to this place. Within the first few months of the residency multiple ideas took shape, threads weaving in and out of each other, of me, and the landscape itself.


Much of this year has been about noticing small details, strange patterns, colours or just one particular view changing with the seasons.

October was very much a threshold of the changing seasons. Peat levels began to rise again as leaves and vegetation begins to fall and die back.

Umbers and Ochre’s are everywhere. It is very pleasant not to need insect repellent. Buzzards regularly dance overhead. The first half of the month was generally very still, large clouds and low sun bathing the moss in a golden light.

The moss seems to be slipping into a more relaxed state as we edge towards Autumn.

Fungi are appearing everywhere; colonies of beautiful shapes and colours embrace the dampness.

Walking in the rain revealed a low drumming as the rain hits the dry leaves. When wet the moss deepens its colour palette to rustic reds and browns.

Towards the end of the month the time spent walking feels particularly precious again. As life returns to pre-Covid times, work and family commitments squeeze my time.

As my residency time nears its end, I consider the responses this landscape inspires.

I look closely, I look again and again.

I walk, I pause. I look. I hear. I touch. I smell. Relationships build, I draw and I collect. My visits are a repetitive process which build connection.



Unseasonal weather this month, extremely warm and dry.

Often the walks on the moss were under cloudless skies. The air heavy and still and the water levels very low.

Heather was in full bloom and the trees are beginning to turn colour. It is a quiet time but with an impending change of season.

The still warm conditions have created perfect conditions for the dragonflies, which have been fabulous this month. Walking later in the day is the best time with them traversing the pools and edges of the moss.

“Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonable clear on the location of Australia, and the Outer Hebrides. Such maps abound. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life….”

Alexander McCall Smith.


This place is magical; it is created in every encounter that takes place in it. Created through the living forces, which pass through it and reside within it. Each crossing paths, weaving in and out of each other. Places are made and remade in our mind and memory, in our imaginations and re-imagining of what they can be.



This month was challenging for visiting the moss. Between having to self-isolate and trying to grab a few days holiday I feel I have been absent for long stretches.

The absences have meant that seasonal changes have been dramatic, the settled summer quietness of July was replaced by a dynamic heavy sky which sat unmoving over the long moisture laden grasses.



“A walk marks time with an accumulation of footsteps. It defines the form of the land. Walking the roads and paths is to trace a portrait of the country…”

– Richard Long, Selected Statements and Interviews, Haunch of Venison Press, 2007


Every time I walk on to the moss it seems like there is an unlocking of something unexpected. There is a reconstruction of hidden stories and lines. I decode, map and collect sensory experiences, connecting and reassembling threads of non-human lives, which weave across my walking path.

The air busy with dragonflies and insects of all sizes made it difficult to walk without colliding.

Subtle colour changes indicate that a transformation is coming, the impermanence of the land connecting place, past and future – no two journeys or walks are ever the same.