Last week a friend invited us to a preview of the items she has collected in her garage for a sale next month. She is planning to move house soon, so she has been clearing her house and attic of all the things she has decided she can live without in her next home. As she has been a museum curator and the wife of an antique dealer in past lives, the items for sale make a very interesting collection, especially for those of us who are addicted to weird and wonderful – and sometimes useless – artefacts from the past. So the question is: Do we have room for a full-length sabre in its sheath or two replica Cromwellian helmets or a 12-foot long wooden paddle for putting loaves of bread into and taking them out of the baker’s oven? Well, perhaps not, but I may just find a home for a wooden hat block in the shape of an old-fashioned bonnet and I do have room for a large old iron cooking pot on legs, which has a layer of rusty iron pieces in the bottom. And my husband will certainly find space on his bookshelves for two volumes of British history, especially as the date inside them is 1794, making them very old books indeed.
So what possible use will I have for this large iron cooking pot?
Well, first of all I shall remove all the rusty bits of iron from the bottom and put them in a large container and fill it up with a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part clear vinegar. This will then be allowed to stand for a few weeks and then become my next supply of iron water.
This image shows the pieces of rusty iron ready to be made into iron water.
As for the pot itself, I shall first check that it’s waterproof. If it is, when the weather is warmer it will be the basis for some outdoor dyeing experiments to see the effects of dyeing in an iron pot, using unmordanted wool.
And if it’s not waterproof? Well, that will be a shame but I’m sure the pot will look quite impressive with some plants growing out of it.