The Tempestry Project
|Founders||Emily McNeil, Marissa Connelly, Justin Connelly|
The Tempestry Project is an ongoing collaborative fiber arts project that presents climate change data in visual form through knitted or crocheted artwork. The project is part of a larger "data art" movement.
Tempestries are produced by knitting or crocheting a single row in a specified color representing the high temperature each day for a year, and multiple works are typically displayed together to show change over time. The project began in 2017 in Anacortes, Washington, US, and has since spread throughout the country and around the world.
The word "tempestry" is a portmanteau of "temperature" and "tapestry."
In January 2017 Emily McNeil, Marissa Connelly and Justin Connelly founded the project in Anacortes, Washington to encourage other fiber artists to produce "striking visuals that communicate changes at an intimate, local scale." According to Justin Connelly, "The science articles talk about what's happening at the poles. For many people, that's not their experience and so they don't relate to it in a powerful way...but even here [outside Seattle], in a temperate place, you can see stark change over the last 40 years or so. It puts it in their backyard." The project name is a portmanteau of the words "temperature" and "tapestry."
The concept was inspired by a similar fiberwork concept called a "temperature blanket", an afghan- or bedspread-sized project commemorating a particular year by working stripes or bands of colors representing each day's high or low temperature for a year.
As of December 2018 projects have been created by fiber artists in nearly every U.S. state and in 20 other countries.
Each tempestry is knitted or crocheted, one row each day, in the specified color for each date's high temperature starting on January 1 and ending on December 31 for a given year in a single location to form a banner the size of a scarf that graphically represents a year of daily high temperatures in a single location.
Colors for each five-degree temperature range are standardized and temperature data is collected from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration so that collected displays of work by different artists working in different locations and on different years can be interpreted as direct comparisons.
Tempestry banners are typically hung vertically, the first row (representing January 1) at the bottom and the final row (December 31) at the top, in groupings of two or more to show how daily high temperatures have changed year-to-year.
Faculty at North Central Michigan College produced a similar exhibit in 2018 inspired by The Tempestry Project. Pennsylvania State University professor Laura Guertin contributed a poster to the American Geophysical Union's 2017 Fall meeting displaying similar works for January through April 1917, 1967, and 2017. In 2015, University of Georgia marine scientist Joan Sheldon produced a scarf illustrating average yearly temperature from the 1600s to the present using one row per year.
Some fiber artists have created banners similar to The Tempestry Project's, but using daily low temperatures.
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