Rust dyeing

I haven’t been doing much lately as we had all our downstairs wooden floors replaced, which meant clearing out absolutely everything from those rooms, including all my craft stuff. It’s been worth it as they are beautiful and make everything much lighter. Here are a few before and after shots.

Sitting and Dining Room partially cleared

As you can see it was quite dark. That sitting room carpet sucked the light. The room is north facing anyway. It also used to show every dog hair! 

Our lovely new floor

Hall and looking through to the dining room

We had new skirting boards throughout, which is lovely as they were pretty chipped.

Balancing on joists 

So this is how it looked when work was underway. We couldn’t have done this when we still had our lovely dog.

We included insulation under the floor, so it should be toasty warm next winter. The flooring is engineered oak.

So what has this got to do with rust dyeing you ask. Well, while the floor was up I was collecting lots of nails.

Rusty treasure

Today I finally got down to a little rust dyeing. These are inspired by something I’m working on for our exhibition next year.

Rusty fish


I’ve been inspired by a story ‘The Bones of Djulung’  from the Lilac Fairy Book, which is edited by Andrew Lang. 

Illustration by H.J.Ford from the Bones of Djulung

In the story the bones of the fish grow up into a tree with an iron trunk, leaves of silk,  flowers of gold and fruit of diamonds. So, my thoughts turned naturally to my rusty nails.

Another rusty fish

This was another fish, where I tried to control the spread of rust by not soaking the fabric, but instead wetting the nails, washers and other rusty bits.

These were all just experiments to see how easy it was to create an image rather than just random patterns. I’m not sure what to do next,  so any suggestions will be gratefully received. Meanwhile, I’ve been pursuing other ideas, which I’ll save for another post. 

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