Arctic Expedition Time!

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Blog | No Comments

In just over 2 weeks I’ll be leaving for my big Arctic adventure as part of The Arctic Circle expedition. I am finally beginning to feel ready!

My primary focus will be working on The Polar Pom-Pom Project – a project I created to engage elementary school children with art and the Arctic, in order to connect them directly with issues relating to climate change.

I have a pom-pom strategy which involves using space saver bags to compress over 2000 pom-poms into 2 large 90L waterproof bags (the 130L bags were actually too big and cumbersome). These bags will accompany me as excess luggage and will sit securely in the Oslo airport for a few days while I explore Oslo before heading to Longyearbyen. They are in waterproof bags so will survive zodiac transportation from boat to shore no matter the conditions!

I was thrilled to receive pom-poms this summer from a school in West Midlands, England as well as from Jersey (in the English Channel), and Essex, UK as well as from Australia. Since school was out for the summer, the major pom-pom production turned in-house and I imagine that when my journey is complete, I probably won’t want to make another pom-pom for quite some time! Until then, the pom-pom pile continues to grow…

Preparing for this expedition was an adventure in itself. I have extra extra batteries (they drain quicker in cold environments), lots of CF cards, external hard drives, laptop. Two cameras, two lenses, tripod, timer remote. I have multiple layers of warm clothes. At six layers I start to feel like the Michelin man, but I can add and subtract layers as needed. I have waterproof Arctic muck boots and hiking boots and a waterproof backpack for camera gear. Hats, balaclava, gloves, mittens etc. You get the picture! I have Sea Bands and ginger gum but still need to get ginger pills, and an assortment of sea sickness pills such as Bonine, Dramamine, Meclizine.

Once I fly from Oslo to 78.2200° N, 15.6500° E (Longyearbyen), I’ll be meeting all of my talented and interesting shipmates. You can see who will be joining me here. (Click on participants.) And then our big adventure begins on the tall ship Antigua. We’ll set out North without an itinerary as weather, ice and project work will determine our daily route. While on the boat I will be without internet but will post any updates when I can. If you would like to be updated please “like” on facebook or visit anytime (which is actually a public facebook page, so you don’t need to have an account).

Thank you to all those who helped me on this project including the yarn companies that donated yarn, the teachers and students at participating schools, the individuals who sent pom-poms, the generous supporters of my Kickstarter campaign, and to all those who spread the word about my project.

I am excited to begin my adventure and see what art transpires as a result!

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