Centre Congregational Church hosts ‘Tempestry Project’

BRATTLEBORO — For the month of April, Centre Congregational Church, at 193 Main St., is displaying The Putney School's Tempestry Project. This is the beginning of their 88 Tempestry Project, as 14 tempestries (a combination of words temperature and tapestry) have been completed thus far. These beautifully colorful temperature gauges demonstrate each year's temperature in a knitted or crocheted piece of art.

“The Tempestry Project is personal and collaborative fiber art, environmental education, and climate activism through data representation all rolled into a sprawling community of friends, artists, crafters, teachers, scientists, nature lovers, activists, and more,” according to a news release.

The Tempestry Project was begun in 2016 by Emily McNeil, Marissa Connelly, and Justin Connelly, using climate data from the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Washington. Having read about climate scientists trying to preserve climate data, the friends joked that there should be a return to more concrete forms of data, and thus, the Tempestry Project was born.

Each tempestry is a knitted or crocheted bar graph of the daily temperature for one geographic location, running from January 1 through December 31, of a given year. Each row represents a specific day and the color of the yarn represents a specific temperature range of 5 degrees.

“As of December 2018, crafters have created tempestries in nearly every U.S. state and 20 other countries,” project organizers said.“All tempestries use the same same yarn colors and temperature ranges in order to create a visually cohesive narrative across a wide expanse of makers, places, and eras. This consistency is an important aspect of the project.”

The Putney School's work with the Tempestry Project began in 2021 as a faculty-student project and was then brought to the wider community in 2022 at the school's annual Harvest Festival.

According to the school, the goal is to knit one tempestry for each year the school has been in existence, with an ultimate goal of (1)88 tempestries. These will be displayed in the Currier Gallery during Harvest Festival 2023.

The large display will allow the community to visualize how climate change has affected Putney in the nearly nine decades since The Putney School was established in 1935. All tempestries are being knitted or crocheted by current students and staff, along with alumni, former employees, and local community members.

The tempestries displayed at Centre Church represent just a portion of the tempestries that are under construction. They are still seeking knitters and crocheters who'd like to help create a tempestry. Those interested in participating in the project may contact Putney School Librarian Sarah Wiles at [email protected].

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