Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Great Basin Cyanometer

This is only one of three pieces I finished during my 2-week residency in Black Rock Desert. It is a circular cowl that doubles as a cyanometer. I have talked a bit about cyanometers on the blog with my Lakeview scarf, but here is a quick rundown of it. A cyanometer is an instrument for measuring the blueness of the sky. It was invented in 1789 by scientist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure who correctly surmised that blueness was dependent on the amount of water vapor suspended in the atmosphere. In the Great Basin of the American West, the dry desert air makes the sky rest firmly in the bluest area of the cyanometer.

Cyanometers have been on my mind recently because my work as a curator of education at an art museum. We are opening an exhibition this week from the National Museum Wales on British Landscapes. I was able to curate a companion hands-on exhibition of Utah landscapes that teaches how artists construct landscapes. 

Within the exhibition, I designed a cyanometer that people can take with them around the museum to compare the sky in the art to the colors on the instrument. We will also be making our own out of watercolor for a family activity.

Because I have been planning all these cyanometer activities last year, the blue sky in the desert inspired me to create my own knitted version. It was very fun to knit and satisfying seeing the ombre effect grow.

The pattern will be coming soon when I release all the patterns from my artist in residency at Black Rock Desert.

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