Shifting sands

Even though I only stumbled across the sand crisis environmental issue earlier this year, I feel a strong connection to it, perhaps due to my coastal location and because I often work at the beach – I feel bound to help raise awareness.

And it is because of the words of one writer in particular that I feel such a strong bond.

Harena Now has been significantly inspired by, along with others, journalist Vince Beiser and filmmaker Denis Delestrac. But it has been the words of Michael Welland, author of Sand: a journey through science and the imagination, that have helped me to form a stable foundation for this project.

Therefore, I am truly saddened to discover only today (October 20, 2017) via the event page for the Symposium ‘The Abundance and Scarcity of Sand’ taking place next week in Eindhoven that the man behind the book that has taught me so much in such a short time about sand, has died.

I can not yet find anymore detail and can only presume his death is recent as a news article in design magazine, Dezeen (published on October 11) states he will be speaking at the event.

Having emailed Vince Beiser this week to introduce my work, my schedule included emailing Welland and Delestrac over the weekend.

Vince Beiser replied with supportive words for the project and asked me to keep in touch; I am sure that he may well have known Welland in some way (geologist Welland was such a well-respected authority on sand) so I truly hope my timing of the email did not cause any upset.

And it was as I was conducting further research I came across the Dezeen article, which led to the event registration page that states:

We want to dedicate this symposium to the memory and passion of Michael Welland, British geologist and author of the award-winning book ‘Sand’, who had a profound poetic understanding of life and the natural world. He was the man who inspired and guided us to set up this symposium. He would have loved to be here with us in person, but will never leave us in spirit and neither will his words.

Keynote speaker Denis Delestrac, award-winning filmmaker, and director of ‘Sand Wars’ (2013), will kick off the conversation. The lecture that Michael Welland prepared for the evening will then be read in his honor.”

Learning of Michael Welland’s death has made me more determined to use this work to help to raise awareness of this topic – although I didn’t know him and never met him, I hope it is something he would of found intriguing.

As part of my #365cyanotypechallenge and for Harena Now, I made the cyanotype below in this evening’s dying light, with the brewing storm’s raindrops moving the sand scattered on top. It may not be a masterpiece but it will signify for me how our lives shift as the sand.




Eventbrite. Available at: [accessed Oct 20, 2017]

FAIRS, Marcus. 2017. ‘Sand becomes “increasingly scarce and expensive”, threatening glassmaking and construction’. Dezeen. Available at: [ [accessed October 20, 2017]