Skip to main content

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!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The giving season!

[update: One scarf sold this season so I decided to pay it forward and made a donation of £95 instead of £9.50.  The scarves will go on sale again later in the year and if I sell more than ten I'll donate again.]

Yes it's that time again! The time when we arts and crafts folk hope you'll give creative handmade things to your nearest and dearest. I'll be giving back too -  fifteen percent of the sales of my Waterfall Scarves at Open Studios or the Arts Market will be donated to Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) who do life-saving voluntary work providing healthcare in conflict zones, at natural disasters and fighting epidemics around the world.

Hand-dyed yarns make these scarves are unique.  There are lots more colours in the collection than you see in this photo. They come in two sizes - long and narrow or shorter and wider. The fibre content is varied too - some are  traditional wool/nylon sock yarn, some are pure Merino wool and some are a mixture of…

Live nerdy knitting!

A quick blog post to let you know that I have a spot at Event Horizon 12. It's Edinburgh's monthly science fiction night and there's music and readings too. The theme of the evening is Star Trek is 50 and I guess I've been a fan for almost as long so expect some trek knits in the slide show at least.  Mostly I'll be talking about  my current projects, Botanica Mathematica and hacked knitting machines.You find  Event  Horizon in the Blind Poet pub on West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh,  starting at 19.30 approximately, on Monday 3 October. Come in and geek out -or you'll forever be a Herbert!

New Year To-Do List - Old Stuff, New Ideas!

Happy new year from Knot Unknot. I'm not one for seasonal resolutions but I've heard that setting targets is helpful. I think it's more giving hostages to fortune but I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it. To that end, I'm listing a bunch of studio-related stuff I want to get done soon. There's a lot more on the personal to-do list but, well, it's personal!
Exhibitions for Botanica Mathematica
Last autumn Jo and I sorted out all 75 trees in the Botanica Mathematica specimen collection and created taxonomy with species names.  This means the project is finally ready to exhibit so I'm making enquiries with likely hosts this month.  The main things I need for this are time and old-fashioned display cases.Learn to use new equipment
Towards the end of last year I bought some second-hand kit (a ribber for the hacked knitting machine and a linker) and a new overlocker sewing machine.  They all need a bit of setting up and some practice but once they'r…