Tempestries (2021)

Performance of work in progress at the B2 Center for Media, Art & Performance in the Atlas Institute at Colorado University Boulder, Sat 6th Nov, 2021. 

This performance of Tempestries was programmed to coincide with the COP 26 Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. With strands of choreography, performance, live green screen interaction, creative writing, shadow play and projection, Tempestries explored how art practice can ask questions differently in our time of climate emergency. With the Irish peatland bog as theme and metaphor, Tempestries evokes the story of a woman lost in the bog in the 7th century, and discovered in 2005 during mechanical peat digging. She is found with her clothes preserved, and we use this science to embody glimpses into her life and what her story tells us about femininity, ecology, power and the warming of the world.  

This is also the mosses story: In their slow and patient way, the mosses wait their time and come to make the bog itself – slow, dark as hunger, thick with memory. Chasing after the threads of textiles and botany, Tempestries explores native Irish dyestuffs and uses costume as green screen to make connections between the moss that makes the peat bogs, the historic and current mining of peatland for fuel and female identity –  

Here she is now, falling into one of the brown black pools. She stumbles and tries to raise herself, but the wet clings to her clothes and it’s cold. Fear is a canopy just beyond her great cloak, covered in tufts of wool. And then she falls again, and this time the boggy pool is larger and she won’t be able to rise from its embrace for a thousand years and more.  

The name ‘Tempestries’ comes from The Tempestry Project and is a play on the words tempest, tapestry and temperature. 

Production Credits: 

Jools Gilson  Director / Writer 

Ondine Geary  Dance Artist / Collaborator 

Chrissy Nelson  Dance Artist / Collaborator 

Anna Pillot Dance Artist / Collaborator 

Brad Gallagher   Artistic Technical Direction / Sound Design 

Sasha De Coninck   Costume Design 

Gretchen LaBorwit   Video Production 

Lily Gabriel  Loom construction and performance 

Shanel (S) Wu   Tempestry 2020 knitting 

Gary McCrumb   Lighting Design 

Thomas Gaither Stage Manager 

Kerouac Awbrey Light Board Operator 

Justin Dean Electrician 

Adam Yoder Electrician 

Alexandre Collin Videographer 

Megan Middleton House Manager 


For Atlas: 

Steven Frost   Faculty Director, B2 Center for Media, Arts & Performance 

Ondine Geary   Managing Director, B2 Center for Media, Arts and Performance 

Bret Mann   Technical Manager and Broadcast Engineer 

Gary McCrumb   Performance Production Manager 

With Thanks to: 

Department of Theatre and Dance, CU Boulder 

Unstable Design Lab, Atlas Institute, CU Boulder  

Justin Connelly, Marissa Connelly of The Tempestry Project 

Beth Osnes 

Laura Devendorf 

Steven Frost 

Bret Mann 


Lily Gabriel (she/they) is an undergrad student who frequently works in the Unstable Lab in the ATLAS building. Watching their mother constantly knit throughout her life, they became fascinated with textiles and wearable art. With a background in sewing, her focus is more on fiber and textile construction, working with a wide variety of mediums such as knitwear, crochet, lace, and fiber dyes, specifically heat-reactive dyes for cotton and wool, allowing for clothing to react to its environment. 

Brad Gallagher is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Intermedia Art, Writing, and Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. His practice-based research interrogates philosophical posthumanism through creative writing and coding. These writing practices enable traffic between creative writing, electronic literature, interactive installations, sound, and video-based work. Within these domains, he is interested in how generative systems and artificial intelligence distribute creative agency between human and non-human actors. 

Ondine Geary is Boulder-based choreographer, dancer, collaborator, and improviser with a subtle Southern twang and a really good biscuit recipe. She is Managing Director for the ATLAS B2 Center for Media, Arts & Performance and a consistent dancer in works by Michelle Ellsworth. 

Jools Gilson is a Fulbright Scholar hosted by Theatre & Dance at CU Boulder for Fall 21. She is an artist scholar with a longstanding interest in textiles; a choreographer and writer who also makes work for galleries. Her current exhibition Mapping Climate Change: The Knitting Map and The Tempestry Project is at the Berman Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. She is Professor of Creative Practice in the School of Film, Music & Theatre at University College Cork in Ireland. www.joolsgilson.com 

Sasha de Koninck is an artist and researcher from Santa Monica, CA. She holds a BFA in Fiber from MICA and a MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from SAIC. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance. Her work is centered around the undoing of labor; the relationship between the body and the garment; and dissolving.  

Gretchen LaBorwit is a Colorado dancer and dance filmmaker. In 2020 she received her MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her most recent work “Coil & Web” was produced in collaboration with Evolving Doors Dance and High Fiction which premiered in the San Souci Film Festival. Gretchen has a deep love for dance and is on a mission to make it more accessible through film. She is thrilled to be given the opportunity to work on Tempestries and looks forward to more chances to bring dance to the screen.  

Chrissy Nelson is a dance artist, movement educator, and physical therapist. She is a Lecturer in Dance at CU-Boulder, serves as the facilitator of the Theater & Dance Wellness Program, and co-directs The Field | Boulder. Chrissy’s creative research involves body-centric work that spans unplugged improvisational solos to large scale evening-length dance | theater | media work, including the collaborative ATLAS residencies cLementines & cHocolate (2012) and The Pain of Becoming (2014), and her graduate thesis project, Skin & Pulp (2013). Most recently, Nelson premiered in the backyard (2019) which was inspired by the work of performance artist, William Pope.L, and poet, Gwendolyn Brooks. 

Anna Pillot is a movement artist, choreographer, and adventurer currently in pursuit of her MFA at University of Colorado Boulder. She holds a BA in Dance Performance and Choreography and Spanish from Hope College, and has performed and shown choreography throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. An accomplished aerialist, Anna has worked for Cirque du Soleil, Marquise Productions, Seano’s Circus Theatricks, and as a freelance performer. Anna was a teaching artist at Union College from 2015-2020 where she coached dance students studying the aerial arts, and is the founder of Emerging Choreographers Project, based in Albany, NY.  

Shanel (S) Wu is a PhD student who researches design for sustainable smart textiles. S started knitting as a hobby during their physics/computer engineering bachelors, and eventually they also added crochet, spinning, and weaving as other stress-relieving fidget activities. In addition to their academic research, S currently works in the craft industry (art name: Piper Nell) as a handknitting pattern designer, editor, sample knitter, course instructor, and writer to support diverse crafters and advocate for intersectional discussions of race, gender, ability, and climate justice in contemporary crafting practices.