This is part of an old axle, abandoned on the beach long ago. The salty air (and occasionally salty water) turns iron and steel to rust : but scouring by sand-laden air – and occasionally by waves hurling beach pebbles, erodes away the rust and delaminating steel. The result is this combination of human engineering and natural processes, revealing subtle colours that I’d be very happy to achieve in my hand-spinning and hand-dyeing!
As the decades have passed, this axle is reverting to the natural materials from which it was made, and already what we see are the colours and hues of a iron ore. A lump of iron ore hundreds of miles from the nearest iron mines. I think of the Bluestones of the central ring at Stonehenge, which came from a hill hundreds of miles away on the west coast of Wales.