Rusty bucket and "rust dyed" fabric
For several weeks I have spent most of my time working on lesson plans for 2014 workshops. On Friday I completed that planning and was excited to get back into my studio. I began by making some new fabric using a variety of processes. By the end of the day on Saturday I had used all but two cuts of the fabric I had prepared.
My friend Christine Mauersberger has been writing about her rust explorations recently so I decided this would be the perfect time to try this interesting process.
detail of fabric
I had been aware of a very rusted paint can in our shed so it was an easy decision to use that as the source of rust. I had the general idea of what to do so I grabbed some vinegar from the kitchen, some cotton string and my fabric and headed outside to work.
This details shows a larger area of the full fabric.
I had read somewhere to use white vinegar but since I didn't have that I used some brown apple vinegar to soak the bleached muslin fabric. I wrapped the fabric around the paint can and tied with a string. This was left outside overnight to process.
In this detail you can see the bits of rust on the fabric.
The fabric dried overnight and I loved the look of the rust particles and the wrinkles when the work is first removed from the paint can. Of course you can't leave the fabric in this condition as the rust will quickly rust through and destroy the fabric. I have read somewhere to either soak the fabric in a salt solution or a solution made with water and baking soda. I choose the baking soda and made a mix of approximately 1 rounded tablespoon of the baking soda in one gallon of water. I rinsed the fabric in plain water first, soaked the fabric in the soda solution for an hour and then washed the fabric with soap until the water was clear. My understanding is that even with this "deactivation" process the rust process never really stops so the resulting fabric is not archival.
detail of two pieces of fabric
I liked the first piece so much I repeated the process on a second piece of fabric both which are pictured side by side in the above photo. My photos do not show the richness of the background or many of the very subtle markings. The color is rich and natural. I don't have any specific plans for this fabric but I loved the immediateness of the technique and the always exciting element of chance.
Thank you for spending time at
Get out and take advantage of
the warm weather to work outside!
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