Part 3 Workshop 7 De-constructing and disintegration.

Since May 2015, and this workshop in mind I have had some cotton fabric wrapped in two iron grate covers that I liberated form the old workhouse buildings in Sheffield. I wanted to see if the rusting iron would corrode the fabric over time. I have in the back of my mind the story of my ancestors journey from Scotland and affluence to poverty and a life in the workhouse in Sheffield, and how I could tell the story through my textile studies with the OCA. I also collected distemper that was coating the walls of the Receiving house building. This was the portal all inmates of the workhouse would go through. I had no idea how coating cotton and muslin fabric with it would change the fabric over time. I wanted to find a way to capture a past lifetime and meld it with my life in the 21st Century. Nine months later I unwrapped the fabric and hung the distemper caked fabrics to dry. I couldn’t see any areas that had rotted completely away, but It was certain that some echo of the past was encapsulated in the fabric.

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The bowl that has been home to the cotton, rusted grate covers mixed initially with vinegar and salt, then left out in the elements for 9 months. There was a growth of something that originated from the iron. It looked like a spongy fungus like with tendrils.

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The reflections on the water as I took the photograph also intrigued me, because of the shadow of me taking the picture. My mind is on shadows because of the workshops of part 3.

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Above is a smaller grate cover which had a small amount of cotton fabric around it. This fabric had become attached to the iron by the rust.

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The odd growth was determined to stay adhered to the iron rust.

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The fabric fresh from the bowl hung up to dry.

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Below is he dried cotton fabric. The colour is quite vibrant which doesn’t show on the photograph. Most pleasing.

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The fabric with the distemper ground into it, I can only assess after it is dry I feel. I wonder how much of the distemper will fall away? Again I left these outside open to the elements to hopefully help any decay along.

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I had no idea what the outcomes would be or, if it would be possible to use the results in some way, but I knew it would be a good exercise in looking at a variety of ways fabric could be manipulated.

 

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