Great Basin Cyanometer
Great Basin Cyanometer

State of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection



22 x 22 x 0.25




Copyright All Years. Utah Division of Arts & Museums. All Rights Reserved.

View all works by: Virginia Catherall

A circle knitted in wool of various blue colors with a hole in the middle. Starting at the top of the circle and going clockwise, the colors change gradually from white to blue-black. The artwork can be seen as a form of wearable art worn as a cowl. As part of the documentation and ephemera of the artwork, a pattern was written on how to knit it up.

A cyanometer is an instrument for measuring the blueness of the sky. It was invented in 1789 by scientist Horace-Benedict 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. This piece was created as an Artist-in-Residence at Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area.