Wednesday, 6 February 2013

eucalyptus uses + studio placements

the genus eucalyptus yields so much more than just dyes
timber, honey, paper, oil
a very useful trick for cleaning rust from tools

i bought this lovely implement when i was working on costumes
in Yamaguchi, Japan
nearly seven years ago

it had been lost for some while
and then i found it again. rusty and in need of care

knowing that eucalyptus leaves yield acids and oils when heated in water
and that those acids work to assist a rust reduction whereby the red rust
[ferrous oxide] which is quite hard
is turned black and soft [ferric oxide] and is then easy to remove from the tool

i boiled up my little cutter in eucalyptus and water
after tying some string around the handle in case of accidental patterning
[those are not my paws]

after an hour or so
the blade was as black as its shadow

so i dried it and honed it
greased it with lanolin from a scrap of wool

and waxed the handle
so now it's as good as new

+    +    +

which brings me to the second part of this post.

studio placement.

it's the time of year when i am deluged with requests from people who want to come and stay so that in a few short weeks i can teach them everything i know. they say that in return they will help me with my work.
it's kind of y'all to offer

i already have all the help i can handle

 and in case you were wondering
the liquid left over from cleaning the tool
...perfect as an iron-rich mordant.


  1. Its clear that Martha is happy you are around! ( and I dig your tool!)

  2. yeah, i love that tool, also. i "resonate" with losing something precious...and then having it resurface. what an alchemistress you (and martha) are.

  3. I have studio helpers also... My Baby Cakes will lay on ANYTHING I am working on. I made an assemblage in a grape box (wooden, rough, etc.) I turned my back and BC was laying in the box, just like it was soft and comfortable! I joking say the cat hair is free!

  4. You have a beautiful studio assistant!

  5. Gorgeous studio assistant... and thanks for the explanation of what was to me only a black mystery, in the absence of any real understanding of chemistry.

  6. I love your assistants....and to be able to visit you here is a gift in itself. I have ordered your second book and it should be delivered tomorrow. Cat hair is an accessory in my humble household. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

    1. thank you for buying the book. it helps feed the cats


  7. I'm left lusting for eucalyptus.........

    1. i read that with a Japlish accent
      ....rusting for eucalyptus [with apologies to my Japanese friends but secure in the knowledge you all have excellent senses of humour]

  8. Well I didnt know that............thank you!!!

  9. Miss pretty (but then I'm just silly for torties...)

    Anyway, THANK YOU for the tip/clarification btwn ferrous and ferric oxide. I've been oggling some cloth I wanted to be gray/black, NOT my normal red after rusting and wondering if it was just our iron oxide here.

    Now I know and I'm off to get some Pulverulenta (the only species I think I can get around here...) and experiment.

    ThankYouThankYouThankYou! XOXOXO Treena

  10. love the tip for the tools - now if only we can conjure up where my grandfather's rabbit hoe was left (I'm blaming my farmer husband who 'borrowed' it a few years ago..... grrrrrrrr) *sob* I miss my favourite hoe....

    1. i'm betting it was the rabbits. they don't like being hoed...

    2. From the photos I saw of textile artist's studios some years ago it is clear that a moggy is a well nigh indispensable studio assistant / muse.

    3. this one is accustomed to fame...having been featured in a Japanese book about "artists and their cats" [which should probably have been called "cats and their artists"] some years ago