I’ve finally unwrapped the bundles I made at the old fishing station, shaking out the dried up seaweed, stow-away sand and rusty bits and pieces.

The most successful marks were from the bundle containing seaweed and rusty screws. The seaweed colours are fairly subtle but some of the marks from the screws are great.

Unwrapping it like this and allowing the wrinkles and creases to keep some of their shape leaves a lovely 3D sculptural feel to the silk, even where there isn’t much colour.

This bundle just had various rusty objects and no seaweed:

This was a piece of wool felt that I wrapped round some limpet shells and bound tightly. I wanted to see how much the shell would emboss its texture into the felt. It has taken the shape of the shells but there is only a little of the surface texture.

The felt bundle that had seaweed in didn’t take much colour, but I do love the marks you get on the outside from where the threads were wound round.



I took a couple of my ‘old fishing station’ bundles back there towards the end of the week to unwrap them and see what results I would get from the experiments I’d set up. They had definitely developed over the few days they’d sat on the veranda, colour seeping through in various places. The top one of the bunch had just sea weed in it, wrapped in silk. It seemed right to return the seaweed to where I’d found it. The others I wanted to bring home to give them longer to develop.

I was intrigued to see what would have happened to my rust prints that I’d left in the hut. When I got there the one on the shelf was just as I’d left it with some nice marks transferred from the rusty bits and pieces onto my paper.

The cows had been into the hut over night (probably to get out of the rain the previous day) and crashed about a bit. They had left their mark in various places amongst the ropes and ‘stuff’ on the floor. They’d also knocked my other paper off the box I’d left it on. There were marks on it from the rusty nails but also the odd foot print!

I unwrapped the thread that was binding my bundle tight then unrolled the silk, shaking out the bits of weed that I’d wrapped up a few days earlier.

The different types of weed left different marks and colours, some with quite distinct patterns from the veins and fronds.

As the silk unwound it flew in the breeze like a flag. I carried it to the edge of the water to rinse out the last bits of weed.

The silk dried quickly in the warm breeze and sunshine. I wet another small piece of wool felt and wrapped it around a big limpet shell, binding with linen thread. This one was to go home with me, along with a jar of sea water with a few of the rusty nails I’d found for future use.



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 gathered up bits of sea weed from the receding water and wrapped them in the wet silk.

I did the same for some salty wet wool felt.

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…

and this lovely little chap, later to be identified as a masked crab carapace. I’m always amazed how such a delicate thing like this can find its way from the waves onto the beach and remain intact.

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.

>inspired to bundle

>As soon as I’d finished writing my review of Second Skin last week I was itching to do some dyeing. I had a couple of bags of eucalyptus leaves that I’d had sitting waiting for quite a while. One was from a tree in my parents’ garden, that I’d brought back from a visit ages ago and hadn’t got round to doing anything with. The other were a little bundle from South Africa.

When I visited there 18 months ago I’d painted these leaves and had a little stash waiting for something. When I painted them they were fairly freshly fallen and the colours were more varied and vivid. Now they’re older and brittle and much more dull but still with variation in their pinks and browns.

I took a piece of wool felt, some silk habotai, silk gauze chiffon and a piece of silk/viscose velvet I found left over from various college projects. I made up a series of bundles, bound with wool and made a last little wrapping of more of the wool round a few leaves.

These all got the steaming and sitting treatment and as they sat the colours really developed. I undid them yesterday as I noticed there were patches of mold forming on the surface of the damp parcels. I unwrapped them, rinsed and hung them to dry in the sunshine.

The African leaves have made beautiful impressions on the felt and the silk pieces have taken on a generally uniform orange with patches of more intense colour.

It felt so good to be doing this again.

>stitched folds

Before I was selected for the graduate showcase at the Festival of Quilts I had already committed to entering the mini quilt section of the open exhibition. My entry is slowly taking shape.

I’m using a piece of silk that was printed with my sketched building site screen at college. Using these dots to help me…

I’m bringing four points together to make these little corners with walls in between.

I have a vague idea of how I want it to look but I’m pretty much making it up as I go along. I’ve tried stitching along the bottom of the little ‘walls’ to give them more definition but am not convinced that it is right.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of having ‘windows’ inserted in some of the compartments…

but I don’t think they work. The combination of the print and the structure of the manipulated fabric is enough, windows are a step too far, but sometimes you have to try things out to find what works and what doesn’t.