Since its inception in 1982, Pyramid Gallery has promoted British made art and crafts. All suppliers to Pyramid have some connection to the UK, though there are a few have moved their studios to France and two who are currently located in New Zealand.
We believe that where possible, luxury goods should be produced locally. This minimises the transport emissions between the producer and the shop.
Most of the work on display in the gallery arrives via post or courier. We try to minimise the environmental impact of deliveries by:
- using York’s own bicycle courier www.green-link.co.uk/york.html
- re-using all packaging materials and recycling those that we cannot use
- dealing with artists who live in regions of the UK that we regularly visit, to minimise the impact of collecting large items (eg framed pictures)
The raw materials for jewellery and bronze sculpture inevitably come from other parts of the world. We are currently looking at ways of minimising the effect of using base metals
GOLD for jewellery is purchased by our jewellers from just a handful of bullion dealers, such as Cooksons. Most of this metal is now recycled (Cooksons currently use 70% recycled gold and are looking to get as close to 100% as they can).
Pyramid Gallery uses electricity for heating and lighting. Over the past 10 years, we have gradually introduced low energy bulbs, where it is feasible. As yet, we are not convinced of the suitability of such bulbs for our first floor exhibition room and have a policy of switching those off when not in use. We hope soon to be able to switch to LED spotlights when suitable bulbs become available.
Heating is kept to a minimum due to the nature of the building (which has very few external walls). In winter, we have a policy of shutting the front door, except on mild days.
In September 2007 Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett took some time out of the business to start a course at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) Machenllyth, Mid Wales. The course is known as Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (AEES) and could have led to an MSc if the thesis option was taken.
Terry took this course out of interest having previously been a keen advocate of all things environmental (in the years between 1987 and 1994 he was an active Greenpeace fundraiser and campaigner and on the Greenpeace payroll for a couple of years as Local Groups Coordinator for Warwickshire)
He has taken the decision not to do the thesis for the course because the challenge of running Pyramid Gallery during a recession does not really allow enough time to commit to such an undertaking.
However, the course itself is very rewarding for many reasons. Particularly from a personal development perspective. It also imparts highly respected and informed opinion on the issues surrounding energy use and global warming. More details about Terry’s personal experiences of this course may appear here – in time. For the moment Terry would just like to acknowledge the person who made the course such a success in its concept and such a remarkably rewarding pleasure to undertake as a student. His name is Mike Thompson and it was he who took his AEES students out of the campus at the University of East London (UEL) in the early nineties for site visits to CAT and made the decision to never take them back. The course took root at CAT and evolved into one of the most highly respected courses of its type in a new educational facility (W.I.S.E.) that opened in 2010.
The Design Module June 2008
To give a brief impression of some aspects of the AEES course, here are a few images from one of the 5 day modules that was spent on a design project. Mike Thompson took Terry’s group to visit a mountain, at the foot of which a derelict cottage became the theme for a group project
Terry (foreground) listening to Mike Thompson (right background) describing the process of preventing a slate slag heap continue to overwhelm an old cottage that he intends to rebuild.
Mike (hand on head) describes the principles of cooling applied to the extraction of cool air from the base of a heap of slate to cool a store room or wine cellar
How deep? Inside the mountain above the cottage after the slate miners had abandoned the seam. A stone thrown in here falls about half a mile
The finished design produced as part of group project work. Not quite the rustic feel that was intended, but time was limited and realising a design on a computer programme takes much trial and error.
read the finished report about this project here
Terry would like to thank Mike and his partner Annie, plus all the tutors and staff involved in the AEES course at CAT for providing such a wonderful experience.
Mike Thompson has now retired from the AEES course at CAT, but being an irrepressible pioneer, has recently founded a MSc course with the UEL that will be located at the EDEN PROJECT in Cornwall. The course starts in september 2011 and is known as
MSc Environmental Adaptation and Sustainable Engineering (EASE) and details can be found by clicking HERE or at the UEL Website
Anyone reading this, who might be considering embarking on an MSc related to environmental studies, would be well advised to look at the course that Mike has put together. At the Eden Project, the course will take advantage of the facilities offered by one of the most exciting environmental centres in the world.
It is maybe worth pointing out here that in order to undertake an MSc course such as AEES or EASE, prior experience or qualifications are not necessarily a requirement. It is up to the course director to make a decision as to whether or not you are able to undertake such a course and there are some mature students currently completing who have never studied at higher education level before. The courses mentioned here offer a fantastic opportunity to anyone who has a mind to take one or the other on.
Read an essay by Terry Brett relating to the use of straw as a building material, with particular reference to the EcoDepot at York. This is a 2 storey office building constructed using laminated timber frames with straw bale infill panels. A very interesting project that was completed in 2006 and at the time one of the most innovative sustainable buildings of its type.