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26Jun
Blog

Why Caddis?

Our floating work of art is called CADDIS – why?

Caddis or caddisflies are group of insects that spend part of their life cycle living underwater in streams, ponds, and canals and then emerge as adults to live above the water. The larval part of their life cycle is spent underwater and some species make cases that they live in to protect their bodies. The case is carefully made by the larvae from specially chosen materials that it finds in its underwater environment. The different species make identifiably different designs and the materials vary in size, from grains of sand to quite large twigs. The materials are fastened together by a material that the insect produces, similar to silk. Caddis cases are true works of insect engineering and act to funnel oxygenated water and food to the insect as well as providing protection and camouflage.

If you have ever been pond dipping as a child or with children (or if like me, just for kicks as an adult) it is likely that you will have found one of these creatures quirkily hauling its usually roughly tubular case around with legs protruding at the front.

When the idea of the project was first discussed at Playful Anywhere we were really interested in the metaphors that this clever and industrious creature brought to mind – using found local things but selecting and designing what we made, the idea of metamorphosis – change from an underwater form emerging to life above water, and this is a creature that lives in the very water-bodies that our project sought to explore. So we set out to build something a bit like the structure a Caddis larvae makes but made from information, collected stories, flood data – all things that we aimed to seek out and find from our local environment of Kirkstall.

I was lucky to be go along to an event by a group of Liverpool-based artists, Hwa Young Jung, Glenn Boulter and Ross Dalziel, collectively called Domestic Science for one of their OK Sparks! Events at Wray Castle back in May. The castle is a National Trust property that has had a fascinating range of uses and OK Sparks! sought to look at engaging people with the history of the place by re-presenting the science that had been part of the various tenants work. One occupier of the place had been the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA). Wray Castle is on the shores of Windermere and formed a perfect base for the society. They are now based on the opposite side of the Lake but have actively taken daily measurements of the lake for many decades to create a data set that provides great insight into how Windermere and climate has changed.

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Not Kirkstall

The OK Sparks! event that I attended was focussed on the FBA’s work and showcased many types of practical freshwater science including a hands-on introduction to may of the invertebrates that live in freshwater. By a very happy accident I met as this event the world authority on Caddis, Dr. Ian Wallace. Unbelievable!

Dr. Ian Wallace, world Caddis expert.

Dr. Ian Wallace, world Caddis expert.

 

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OK Sparks!

Ian told me many very interesting things about Caddis and his admiration for the insect was contagious He also agreed to classify the type of Caddis that we make! I must remember to take him up in this offer, but I think in its current incarnation it could be one of these.

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Lepidostoma hirtum

 

Caddis

Caddis  Lepidostoma hirtum?

 

 

 

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22Jun
BlogCurrent ProjectsFlotsam and Jetsam

Building Caddis

Today, Caddis artist Gemma Latham and the amazing chaps from M3 Industries installed the first stage of the workboat, Lady Brenda’s metamorphosis into Caddis and she is a treat to behold. We owe M3...

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20Jun
BlogCurrent ProjectsFlotsam and Jetsam

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One of the tough nuts to crack for an organisation called Playful Anywhere is how to inject an element of playfulness into collecting responses to an event like flooding. If you have been impacted, its...

Flotsam and Jetsam
18Jun
Current ProjectseventsFlotsam and Jetsam

Join us on the water

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18Jun
BlogCurrent ProjectsFlotsam and Jetsam

Creating Caddis: Collecting Reactions to the Boxing Day 2015 Floods

The next few blog posts will tell the story of how the Flotsam & Jetsam team have collected recollections, reactions, advice, objects and data about the floods that occurred on Boxing Day 2015 to feed...

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17Jun
BlogCurrent ProjectsFlotsam and Jetsam

Data Made Manifest

Today I popped along to ODI Leeds for one of their Friday lunchtime lectures to see a live-streamed talk by Giles Lane with the title “Data to Stimulate Your Senses”. Giles has been working with data...

17Jun
events

Digital Making and Craft Workshop

2015 - 36
16Jun
Blog

Would your community benefit from a Playbox?

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Playbox in Cardigan fields
16Jun
Blog

What is Playbox01?

   

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09Jun
events

Free Making Workshop with Gemma Latham and Seagulls Reuse