Full circle

Having been inspired to reintroduce cyanotypes to my Harena Now project, I have made my first five ‘frames’ using embroidery hoops.

I quickly placed them on a white wall in my house to give me an idea of impact and size (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Example display

Compared to the display by Hannah Perrine Mode featured previously (and below in Fig. 2), I feel I have much scope with this method. Her images are 15″ x 15″ in size, while mine vary from 7″ x 7″ to 12″ x 12″. If I can source any hoops at a larger size, I may include one or two more bigger pieces.

Fig. 2: Mode, 2018. Installation view of Europa (Pouring In From Taurus) 

I have another five to make. I may or may not include the first line of the William Blake poem Auguries Of Innocence (circa 1803) To See a World in a Grain of Sand – I have tended to avoid its use as it is such an obvious choice, yet it really is quite an apt choice with its comment on the human impact on nature and each other and how our species will effect the world in which we live.

I will make the final decision once I have created some test pieces.

The following images (Figs. 3-5) show examples of the cyanotype fabric made with sand and seawater laid out to aid with section choice, and once placed within the embroidery hoops.

Fig. 3: Purcell, 2018. Choosing sections of cyanotype.
Fig. 4: Purcell, 2018. Five chosen cyanotype fabric sections.
Fig. 5: Purcell, 2018. Close-up of cyanotype section.

Once completed the work will be pressed and the excess material removed to allow for a smooth wall placement.

I feel this is decision is a great compliment to the bright, multicoloured Harena Now ‘lumen’ prints.

We do after all live on a ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and the colour blue seems to constantly be the world’s favourite colour according to various polls such as a 2015 YouGov one – although in 2017 a ‘teal’ was chosen as the winner in a Hull City of Culture and paper merchant GF Smith competition.

Blue, in all its shades, will add a fresh element, allowing for almost an opposite of calm and frenzy between my own pieces of Harena Now.

It will be interesting to see what people are drawn to, and why. And if either type of non-documentary style will spark further interest in the sand crisis topic.


Figure 1. PURCELL, Josie. 2018.  Harena Now

Figure 2. MODE, Hannah Perrine. 2018. Installation image from Europa (Pouring In From Taurus). hannahpmode.com [online]. Available at: http://www.hannahpmode.com/recent#/europa-pouring-in-from-taurus/ [accessed July 8, 2018].

Figure 3. PURCELL, Josie. 2018.  Harena Now

Figure 4. PURCELL, Josie. 2018.  Harena Now

Figure 5. PURCELL, Josie. 2018.  Harena Now


MODE, Hannah Perrine. Available at: http://www.hannahpmode.com/recent#/europa-pouring-in-from-taurus/ [accessed July 8, 2018].

KNAPTON, Sarah and Rozina SABUR. 2017. ‘The results are in: world’s favourite colour revealed – but is it green or blue?’. The Telegraph. [online]. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/29/results-worlds-favourite-colour-revealed-green-blue/ [accessed July 15, 2018].

JORDAN, William. 2015. ‘Why is blue the world’s favourite colour?’. YouGov. [online]. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/05/12/blue-worlds-favourite-colour/ [accessed July 15, 2018].