A couple of days after exploring the inside of the old fishing station I returned and started a few experiments. Having read in India Flint’s Second Skin about the value of dipping fabric in seawater before other dyeing processes I popped a few bits and pieces into the waves and gave them a good soaking. Some were left to dry on the pebbles.
I took a few rusty nails from inside the hut and added these to one of the seaweed bundles to see what difference it would make to the potential colours. This bit felt very scientific – some with and some without as a control!
I wrapped one piece of silk round various rusty metal objects without any weed in there but with plenty of salty wetness! I then put some pieces of paper from my sketchbook into the waves to thoroughly wet them (this is the point when anyone else on the beach might have started to wonder what the hell I was doing, but these Scottish beaches are so un-crowded that the nearest people were probably totally oblivious to my odd potterings). I then placed my wet paper underneath some of the rusty stuff in the hut to see if I might get some interesting rust prints.
The paper seemed to start to dry pretty quickly with the breeze and the fact it was a fairly nice day so I poured a bit more sea water on to these little setups a few more times through the day to keep them damp for as long as possible.
I then left them to it with the intention of returning a few days later, taking my bundles with me to sit and develop with time. What might I find when I returned? Would my paper be removed by a fisherman wondering what on earth people had been doing in his hut?
A few more beach treasures…
There were various different sea urchins on this beach, including a number of little sea potatoes (or heart urchins – sounds a bit more romantic!), the smallest of which was about the size of my thumb nail. That one was too fragile though, and as I went to pick it up it crumbled in my fingers.