Thursday, 16 October 2014

Rust Retreat

With a month since my last post you won't be surprised to learn that we have been away.  The leisure part of being away featured our annual pilgrimage to St Ives, more of which in a later post.   The less leisurely but equally enjoyable part was a weekend working retreat with Alice Fox organised by the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild.  Winter School, as it was called, was based at Alston Hall in a beautiful part of Lancashire.  

The venue was ideal, comfortable, bright rooms and excellent food.  I think we all came away a few pounds heavier.

There were two workshops going on, Philippa Naylor with machine quilting and Alice Fox exploring rusting on fabric and paper.  In addition a group of ladies came to concentrate on their own work as a retreat.  

Alice Fox was my chosen tutor and she proved to be a supportive and inspiring tutor.  We started by exploring rusting with various agents but most particularly tea of various types and red wine.  

Very quickly we accumulated a growing collection of fabrics wrapped around rusty objects of all shapes and sizes.  Papers were also treated and in some cases used as drip sheets for the damp parcels.

You can probably imagine the sense of impatience we all felt waiting for the packages to dry and the rust reaction to happen.  In some cases wet parcels were brought home and several days allowed to elapse before they were unwrapped.

Where the fabrics had dried we unwrapped with bated breath.

 Above, prints on cartridge paper.

This piece above had been previously dyed with seaweed and was wrapped around an old ratchet.  The biggest effect is the sculptural creasing that has happened.  
 I am delighted with this lovely vintage hanky which was folded around washers.  There are some beautiful marks from the washers and some delicate flow marks from the liquid.

 I think the piece above was hacksaw blades.

 Silk noil wrapped round a chain-linked necklace.

 These strong marks have been formed where a strip of fabric was wrapped round a strip of metal and clamped with mini bulldog clips.

This piece is very delicately marked after red wine was dribbled over old cotton wrapped round an exhaust pipe.  

After dyeing various fabrics we looked at applying stitch both before and after dyeing.

 This piece above is all paper and still requires more stitch.

 This piece above frayings of thread couched down and then the piece rust dyed.

Finally we explored concertina book making incorporating the dyed papers and scraps of fabric and stitch.

I really like this little book, which needs further work but has lots of potential.  The patterning on the paper came from fine wire wool arranged on the paper.  

I have previously worked with rust and always got the strong orangey marks from it but rust promoted by tea gives softer marks and a range of colours is achievable.  It is also likely to be less toxic than the orangey kind.  Alice's workshop gave the illusion of running at a very sedate pace but we achieved a lot and had time to think where this technique might lead.  I've alreadybeen shopping for some wired wool and rustable hardware. I've got a good collection of rusty bits found in the street, on the beach and in gardens but I am always on the lookout for more.  It will be very pleasant too, to sit and stitch into some of the pieces made at the weekend.  Thank you, Alice and all my classmates for a great working weekend.


Heather said...

You have built up a wonderful collection of interesting marks and patterns on your fabrics and papers. What a fantastic weekend in a beautiful venue. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it all, and I love the concertina book.

Gill said...

Some fabulous pieces - I'd love to take a workshop with Alice!!

Jackie said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Lancashire, although by the look of it you wouldn't have had much of a chance to see outside.Isn't the food at Alston Hall fantastic? We have our felt group meetings quite near there, which is why I passed by on Friday. If only I'd known!

Maggi said...

What a fantastic collection Julie. Looks like you are hooked.

Iz said...

Oh this looks such fun! Haven't done any rusty stuff since City & Guilds, but still have my strange collection of barbed wire and washers, so you've inspired me. Never would have thought of using tea or wine, though - did you also use vinegar or salt, or just the liquids?

Su said...

I love all the rusty stuff - am now inspired to try some here :-)

Emma said...

I'm so envious of your w/s - I'd love to be guided by Alice - you've achieved beautiful marks. Following these with stitching is so satisfying.

Amanda said...

Ahhhh I see what you mean! Wow!! Fabulous results there. I'm only a very beginner but it's a huge area isn't it. My keys are almost ready for another go so I will think on your wonderful weekend!

Gina said...

What fabulous samples Julie. Lucky to have a whole weekend with Alice. I've just treated myself to one of her pieces of work.

Margaret Cooter said...

Your book is delightful! Of the samples, I rather covet the hacksaw-blade one ... looking forward to seeing what you do with it...

Anonymous said...

Those are just gorgeous fabrics and papers. Makes me want to go and play with my rusty quilt pieces again! The tip about tea was interesting and definitely something I'm going to experiment with.