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What's happening with
Weathering Earth

What's happening with Weathering Earth -
a way to create with earth and your local weather

The STEM program for primary schools is now underway and we have some wonderful creations coming in!

We are now able to show some of the weathered sculptures as we receive photos.


More Midlothian Schools are participating in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for more photos.


We are excited to have members from the Edinburgh Ceramic Workshop who will add their creativity and experience working with clay and the forces of weather through November and December 2021.


There are now almost 600 sculptures created and released to the elements of the weather and there are many more to be created with the elements of the weather between January and March 2022.

The Midlothian Primary Schools

The Midlothian Primary Schools that participated during October were: Bilston, Tynewater, Newtongrange, Paradykes, Woodburn, Stobhill, Moorfoot, Lasswade, Loanhead, Strathesk, Gore Glen and Rosewell. The children who participated did a wonderful job moulding their pieces of clay and the weather continued their work through working with re-moulding the clay into new shapes and forms. The unexpected arrival of heavy rain, which brought floods to Hawick and Dumfries, left its mark on many of the sculptures, and even washed some of them away. Weather can at times be overzealous at weathering!

The Climate Beacons

We are delighted to see the work being done by Fife Climate Beacon and Inverclyde Climate Beacon. Fife Climate Beacon worked with Levenmouth Academy developing sculptures in time for Storm Arwen. Their original forms survived the storm remarkably well!

The Inverclyde Climate Beacon has commissioned Brody Mace-Hopkins to create a fabulous 2kg clay sculpture reminiscent of fungus, lichen, marine invertebrates and human body parts. This beautiful sculpture is now with the weather and we look forward to see how it relates with the weather of Inverclyde!

The Edinburgh Ceramic Workshop

Two climate change and clay sculpting workshops took place at the Edinburgh Ceramic Workshop, where ceramic makers and the public who came to the Edinburgh Ceramic Workshop Open Market in December made sculptures. These were put outside and were unexpectedly weathered by Storm Barra. Surprisingly many of the sculptures remained in tact, while others became very much transformed. There seems to be no way to predict how the weather will interact with each sculpture. 

The National Mining Museum Scotland and the Midlothian Climate Beacon

The Weathering Earth Exhibition was launched 18th November 2021 by the Scottish Cultural Minister and included a moment of forming clay sculptures for the opening. These sculptures were placed outside in time for the first winter snowfall.

More sculptures were made by the Queen Margaret University Drama students who are taking part in a drama residency for the Midlothian Climate Beacon. We are looking forward to hearing more from them in March when they will be preparing drama works around the theme of Climate change within the space of the Victoria Colliery.

Finally, the Weathering Earth Installation will open by mid January. At the moment Nicole Manley is preparing and arranging the top floor of the Memorial Centre in the National Mining Museum, to display the hundreds of sculptures made by human hands and worked upon by our local weather. Clay sculptures that are made in other parts of Scotland and cannot be transported to the Mining Museum will be photographed or filmed and these will be projected in the Memorial Centre.


Nicole Manley, has placed over 700 sculptures in the top floor of the Memorial Centre in the National Mining Museum, Scotland. It is open for free for anyone who wants to go and see the sculptures. Victoria Robb will be taking round all the schools who took part in clay making to see their sculptures among many others.

23rd March 2022 - British Geological Survey

In March scientists in the British Geological Survey, based in Edinburgh also took part in clay making over lunch. It was a moment to discuss and reflect about their work and climate change, while they created their clay pieces. Climate change was discussed beyond work and about how it affected daily life, like the change from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Their clay pieces were taken to the National Mining Museum to weather through the weekend and became part of the Weathering Earth Installation.

24th March 2022 - Dalkieth Arts

Members from Dalkieth Arts arrived to the National Mining Museum on a beautiful sunny and warm day. It was so warm we decided to take the clay out to the picnic area and do some clay making on the picnic benches. It wasn't long before there was need for adding water to the clay, as it began to dry out. Being outside in the sun provided the perfect opportunity to talk about climate change and the weather. It was hard to believe that it had been snowing only a few weekends ago. The discussed topics were wide and varied from deciding which cake was best to how bell pit mining was an early method for mining coal in the Midlothians. The creative clay pieces were also as varied as the conversation and were left to the weather to do its work over the weekend. The pieces were added to the Weathering Earth Installation.

2nd April 2022 - Midlothian Beacon closing event of Weathering Earth Exhibition and unveiling of outdoor sculpture: In Memory of Lepidendron.

The Weathering Earth Exhibition came to an end in the special exhibition room in the National Mining Museum, Scotland and this was followed by a day of unveiling an outdoor clay sculpture and seeing the performances created by the drama and performing arts students from Queen Margaret University who took part in the Midlothian Beacon residency.  In the morning the 6 m clay sculpture of Lepidendron - a tree that grew during the Carboniferous and became the originators of much of the coal in Scotland, was unveiled. This sculpture will now be left to the weathering elements and once the clay becomes almost part of the ground, the area will be turned into a heather garden. Click here for more information.

In the afternoon we enjoyed two excellent performances created by Queen Margaret students, who carefully considered climate change in relationship to the mining museum and todays difficulties in trying to make sense of climate change and how we live with environment today.

The Weathering Earth Installation and the Lepidedron sculpture are still open for anyone to come and visit.


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