New books!!

You can now pre-order the next two books so get ready to get excited.

Crafting your inner self will be out in September – this is based on the highly successful series of lectures and is about unleashing the inner you in your art and craft. It also has a section on Alter Egos!

Next, in November is the much anticipated Rust dyeing book with added sections on combining it with eco dyeing too. This takes us back to the root of colouring fabric as oxides are some of the oldest form of colour and it will have you learning while you play!

To order head over to the shop where they are available at a special pre-order price of only £9.99 for a limited time. Each pre-order will be hand signed and if you request it with your order it can be made out to a specific person too.

We’re so excited we’re back off out to the dye room to play…

Another award!

Last year Jay scooped the prize for highly commended in the Madeira and ICHF embroidery competition Glimpses of… The Movies with his piece depicting Ripley and the Alien.

Jay Raven Ripley and the Alien
Ripley and the Alien – Jay Raven 2018

This year the theme was Royalty so what better way to continue with the Aliens than an image of the Alien queen herself. Jay chose not to use a movie still this time but to go with the original artwork by H.R.Giger.

The Alien Queen – Jay Raven 2019

His hard work paid off and he took first place in the machine embroidery category.

Watch this space for next years entry and a possible full series.

Crafting your inner self

As promised (after some much needed sleep) here is the slideshow from the talk at the Glasgow and NEC shows on crafting your inner self.

Here are the artworks –

Artist Unknown

Arrieta vogels
Linsey Bateman
Fallen Sniper from Deviant Art

3 steps towards self discovery

•1. working out who you are •Focus on what is inside you not outside. Forget about the need to be valued by other and focus on your own morals, goals and life values. List what really makes you happy in life.

•2. Where are you right now? •Look at our life right now. How does it fit with your  happy list? Does it fit your choice of morals and aims for yourself. How have your previous decisions affected your journey to this point in time – try making a simple time line of the major turning points in your life.

•3. Now what? •Tomorrow is a new day. You can change whatever you like in your life, whether it is not buying prewrapped veg or getting a new job. The choice is yours. The inner you needs to make the decision so it needs to understand how.

If you missed the talk and the presentation does not make sense then do not worry as the book will be coming out later this year. Watch this space to find out more and when you can pre-order.

Why environment sustainability?

I like to think it is because I wake up each day and look out over beautiful hills, but the truth is we built the workroom in the way so I cannot actually see much of the garden and hills anymore! Really it’s about the fact that if we don’t start thinking harder about what we are doing to the world there isn’t going to be much of a world left for us to look after.

In the early 20th century we were forced to be economical; to make do and mend. So as a society we had to get on with it, following austerity measures on food, clothing and even furniture. In hindsight we can see that this led to some amazing advancements in design and manufacture, but at the time it was restrictive and oppressive and society could not wait to get to the point to let down it’s hair and break free.

When the time came it went a little crazy. You can’t blame it in many ways. It is like the puppy that has been stuck in a car for several hours finally getting out in the front garden. Labour saving devices, disposable items, new chemicals, easy wash clothing, rock and roll….. (maybe we can’t blame the rock and roll).

Even power changed. We went nuclear. The thought being that technology is the answer, making things more complex is the key to improving society. But is it?

We started to find that some of these new chemicals were actually bad for us. The CFC’s that we used to make our labour saving devices and new plastics were damaging our atmosphere – the very thing that was guarding us from the UV rays that would harm us. The ingredients in our home chemicals were poisoning our animals and even us. The beads and fibres in our clothing were damaging to wildlife. The fuel for our vehicles was putting out waste products that was bad for us so we invented ad new system so it was better for us but worse for the atmosphere. The chemicals in plastics were damaging our internal systems. And so it goes on. The more we learnt the more we realised that as we thought we were making life better the more we were damaging the planet, the wildlife and ourselves.

Society is aware now that plastic takes longer to break down than paper and that we should avoid excessive packaging, yet it continues. Where there is a choice manufacturers are still taking the ‘pretty’ over ‘functional’ option as they feel society still needs this to generate sales.

The worst thing is when we look back some of these things have crept in over the last few years without us really noticing and we have just taken it for granted. For instance when did it stop being the case that you could just buy a handful of grapes in a supermarket and they have to all be pre-packaged in a plastic tub with plastic wrap over them.

We are taking this seriously here at the Inventors Asylum. Yes, we have plastic bottles for a couple of our kits as they would be MUCH more expensive in glass. However, you can buy a refill for the kit when you have finished your bottle meaning you can use it over and over again.

We use potato starch ‘cello’ packets, brown paper bags or brown cardboard boxes and look for a high recycled content in the manufacture. When it comes to postage we try to avoid bubble wrap wherever possible using shredded paper sourced from our local primary school.

Our products are made using natural ingredients and are not harmful to the environment. We are constantly looking for new ways to help you learn how to get back the idea of make do and mend but without the austere, forced feeling that was present during wartime Britain. Although we understand that this is a very real need to understand our responsibility to look after the world and help it survive for future generations we want to enjoy it at the same time.


Previous cultures have been and gone leaving their mark on the world which now we see as beautiful and mysterious. In their time they lived in a much simpler and natural manner. We need to recapture some of that history and culture and step back a little to a time when life was less complex and technology did not rule the world.

Just imagine when this is the mysterious landmark being explored by future generations as a symbol of the life we lead now. Does it say what you want it to say about how we live? Do we need to change?

Inmates now welcomed at the Inventors Asylum

Memberships to the Inventors Asylum are now on public release at last. To sign your life away and get certified go to the memberships page.

You get access to an Inmates only section of the website and receive your certification and inmate badge all for only £5 a month (or more if you choose)

Who wouldn’t want to?

Papercutting new items and a video!

We’ve added lots of new papercutting downloads to the site this week and will be extending the collection each month so keep checking back to see what is new. You can either have the single items or we have bundled them together for even better value.

As you can print them yourself you have control over how big you print them so you can make a range of sizes for bunting, baubles or more.

The license on these files is for personal use only, however if you should want something for commercial use then contact us and we can make you something just for you.

All the downloads come with a set of full instructions as well so do not worry if you have never done any paper cutting before. Need a bit more help before you start cutting? Check out the video to see how it’s done. 

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Apocalypticus, a truly British apocalypse

Well it was very windy and then it was wet, but it was definitely the end of the world in Britain….

courtesy of Sarah Schmidlin Photography

It was an amazing weekend of music, making new friends, meeting old ones, trading, bartering, dancing, sword fighting, life drawing, belly dancing, fire eating and drinking tea.

yep.. that’s the tea drinking!

The sun did shine on us though and we thoroughly enjoyed the end of the world! Bex got to dye lots of fabric with rusty things she found around the site and Jay got to eat the biggest ice-cream the world has ever seen for his birthday treat. 

And there was a tank to play on!

The music was amazingly varied with something for everyone across the whole weekend from ska and steampunk to rock. The traders were varied too and you could get everything from a keyring to whole new outfit.

We didn’t go on the drive with the vehicles but the videos and photos look fabulous as they went through the local towns and villages. However, we are confused as to how you lose a Hummer mid route?! 

Next year is already underway with headline acts confirmed for Friday as UK:ID and Saturday as V2A!! get your tickets booked as it is less than 9 months away as we’ve moved it to July so it is warmer (hopefully – this is Britain) and it is longer too. Do not be worried though there will still be plenty of tea as this is still going to be a truly British apocalypse. 

11 Wednesdays until Christmas!

We’re getting excited here about Christmas (and yes we know we have not had Halloween yet). This year we have even made real Christmas kits so you can join in with making Christmas things too.

There is nothing nicer than being greeted by a wreath at the front door and these are great fun to make and reusable too. You can be inventive with your styling to make them completely personal as you start from scratch making your very own fabric using freemotion embroidery to make the red and green base fabrics. You don’t have to be an experienced machinist either as you can keep the stitching as simple or decorative as you like. The fabrics are all included in the kit along with easy to follow instructions to guide you through the process. 

Once you have your personalised fabrics you can then style the wreath using Christmas shapes with the enclosed templates. 

We believe in sustainability here at the Inventors Asylum so we have sourced wreaths that are friendly to the environment. You can choose from either the metal and fabric wrapped ring or the straw and moss ring – not a drop of polystyrene in sight! 

Circle wreath kit        Star wreath kit       Wabi Sabi wreath kit                

We would love to see your wreath once it is in situ so send us a photo or tag us in on Instagram #inventorsasylum

Asylum X

Wow, what a time we had in Lincoln. We went expecting, well, we weren’t really sure what to expect as we had never been before. We had been told it was going to be spectacular and we were not let down. 

The advance guard party

We had given Rusty her annual tart up and she was ready to flaunt it in the sunshine (which there was for at least a day and a half of it!) So off we headed to BGU and setup right by the front doors where you couldn’t miss us.

The big new tent worked a treat in the sunshine, we had so many visitors we didn’t get to sit down all day. We even managed to get ourselves volunteered to join in with the fashion show that evening!

courtesy of Freesprite Media

In which we did not threaten to eat the audience (honest)! Even Kaida and Mak strutted their stuff down the red carpet and earned a well deserved cheeseburger afterwards.

You would have thought we would learn to stop volunteering for things, but no, on Saturday Bex got herself in charge of the microphone at The Engine Shed and compered Dystopia, Party for the End of the World with some of our favourite people including Flesh Tetris and the ever awesome V2A.  

Sunday it rained!!

A lot….. but we kept going and spent several hours outside demonstrating natural dyeing and getting wet!

And then Bex got volunteered to compere another night at the engine shed with Alice’s Night Circus, Victor and the Bully and Steampowered Giraffe. That was something special. The wedding dress and top hat came out, as did the glittery makeup (I’ve yet to find anyone who actually got a photo of the outfit!) and we made some dreams come true. 

V2A on a visit to our stand

Monday was quite a chilled out day after far too little sleep all weekend but we topped it off by meeting Terry English and having our family portrait done by Darkbox photography. (yes, that’s Terry English armour on Bex)

Will we be back next year? Hell yeah!

Asylum X – Lincoln. What we will be up to….

It’s going to be busy in the post apocalyptic zone at the Asylum.

We’re going to be doing a wide variety of things on stand including:

1 – never wash again! how to get permanent weathering effects on clothing for the perfect post apocalyptic/aged look.

A look at techniques used to get the aged look into fabrics without it all washing out again after you have worn it once or you having to avoid hot days to keep your aged look without losing your friends.

2 –   working with rust, a guide for beginners.

Rust is not just for old cars, it is perfect for many other applications from jewellery or ornaments to dyeing fabric and staining wood. Let the Queen of Rust guide you through the basics of how to expand your use of this simple yet versatile substance.

3 – The life of a war bike

The journey from everyday ride to one of a warbike is not easy but it is fun. See what it takes to become one of the tribe and learn some of the techniques used in creating the effects on display.

4 – cyanotypes.

Creating blueprints/sunprints using the power of the sun. You can also have a go and make your own.

5 – stitching/making post apocalyptic clothing and textiles.

We have a treadle machine that we bring so you can even have a go if you like.

6 –  natural dyeing.

Using plants and rust to dye fabrics and clothing.

Also across the days we will have specific special events going on:

Thursday evening

Setup! We’ll be putting up the stand and then heading over to Charlotte House for the Advance Guard so come on by and say hello (especially if you are adept at putting up large metal tent like structures)

Friday

From 10am get your war paint on.

Bex will be helping you finish off your apocalyptic look by hosting a makeup station all day on stand where you can pick up tips and tricks for getting the look that rocks at the end of the world.

Saturday

At 10.30am to get your blood flowing and your energy up we’ll be doing a wasteland workout. You don’t need fancy workout clothing or special gear as when the world ends you need to be able to move in whatever you are wearing. So join us to see how fit you really are and if you will survive! (gentle versions also available)

Before Dystopia the Party for the End of the World at the Engine Shed there will be another chance for you to get your look sorted with the post apocalyptic makeup station at the gig for one hour only. Then you can learn how to party like the world is ending….

Sunday

At 2pm we will be teaching you how to prep you apocalypse bunker so when the world ends you will be ready. Join us in Constance Stewart Hall with your notepad at the ready….

Monday

For those of you who have survived the weekend we’ll be doing another full day of demos and fun on stand, so come along and say hi.

Of course we will have our usual supply of amazing things on stand for you to see and buy including lots of new products launched this month.

Still need to finish your outfit? We have plenty of clothing for sale on stand or if you want to we are offering a special service new for the Asylum – Bring along your undyed shirts/blouses/t shirts etc and we will dye them for you for only £10. All being well they will be ready to wear before the end of the weekend!!

If that’s not enough to keep you busy then check out the rest of the timetable at https://www.asylumsteampunk.co.uk/timetable/

Now I’m off to pack!!