Rust never sleeps!

Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.

Yes, we have now proved that Neil Young was right!

This weekend I spent two full days at Leith School of Art participating in an experimental textiles workshop. The process under investigation was rust transfer dyeing so we took piles of iron objects, scrubbed them clean, covered them in salt and vinegar, sandwich them between wet fabrics and papers, tucked them up under electric blankets and left them to sleep. But of course they didn't sleep - instead they transformed the papers and fabrics by laying down a layer of iron oxide on the surfaces that dyes the fabric and prints on the paper.

The workshop was led by James Donald, a weaver to trade but open to exploring all sorts of textile practices. His enthusiasm for trying things out was quite infectious and the small group of textile adventurers were encouraged by this to push the techninque in new directions.

I'm personally very pleased to have been introduced to this process as it offers the same kind of tension between control and randomness that I find in felt making. I think it will offer the way into a new body of work on paper and book construction that I've felt drawn to with out knowing where to start. Oh and I'll make some scarves!

That's me in lifting the paper in case you hadn't guessed. The scattered nails print was my first planned image. There are a number of photos on my Flickr account if you want to see more. See the Experimental Textiles Set


  1. I have to try this rustdying too, looksso interesting!


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