Search This Blog


Monday, February 23, 2009

My Rust dyed connections

Well I told you I would post some photos of my rust dyeing experience.  Hasn't turned out quite as well as I would hope.  Still working on it though.  Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself.  I wanted to have something new to send for the exchange but reality set in and I realized I was running out of time.  The exchange was for February and if she would receive it in time I needed to get it in the mail.  I used some I dyed last summer.  I was feeling bad about not having something really exciting and different but that isn't really the point of the exchanges.  I think with these exchanges what we really have is an opportunity to reach out and connect with people all over the world who have similar interests.  We need those connections especially when we are working in our studios alone so much of the time.  A friend of mine just sent me information yesterday about a  UCLA study on women and friendship .  The second photo shows how I used Lois Jarvis' stormy skies technique.  I included a link to Lois' site in a previous post but it wasn't her rust dye site so now I've included the correct link.  The second smaller piece is from a trivet.  It didn't work extremely well, but I think it will get better the more I use it.  It is kind of interesting though, sort or ethereal.
     On to my rust dyeing.  When I dye fabric in the winter.  I put it in my basement and literally forget about about it for about a week.  I found one of my pans was starting to get rusty so I decided to use it for rust dyeing now.  It isn't rusty enough yet but the more I use it the better it will get (I could also let it sit outside in the rain this summer) I scrunched my prepared for dyeing fat quarter into the pan and sprayed it with vinegar and water.  
I keep trying different things I find to see what will happen.  Most of what I do is experimenting.  So far steel wool pads(the ones without any soap) have the best results for me.  You can unroll the pad and lay it on your fabric, you can pull it apart in chunks, or cut little snips of it off and sprinkle on your fabric.  I like the effect of the snips but that is best done in the summer for me so I can rinse it off outside.  I don't want to send the little snips of steel wool into my washing machine or down my pipes.  I like to use nails (that's how I made the little house scene in a previous post)  Make sure you don't use galvanized nails as they won't rust.  I've tried soup cans (I've been told to use the ones that have a seam inside.)  A few things surprised me.  The soup cans left circles of resist on my fabric.  
I think the more I use them the rustier they will get and I will get different results.  The resist thing happened with the cut-out shapes I bought from Beth Wheeler too.  
I didn't expect that but it's very interesting.  She says the more I use them the more they will rust and eventually I will have the opposite effect.  
     So, once I have my fabric in the pan, sprayed with vinegar, and place my different metallic pieces on top or underneath, I slip the pan in a garbage bag.  I then place it in my basement and usually forget it is there until a week later.  Suddenly I will exclaim "Oh, my gosh I forgot my fabric!"  I run down the basement expecting to see my fabric with holes corroded completely through it, only to find something spectacular has happened.  The bag will usually keep it from drying out but if you are better than me you might check during the week to make sure it is still damp.
Obviously for me there is a lot of serendipity involved in this process.  So if you find it interesting,  jump in and try, it's fun to experiment.  Be sure to rinse it after in salt water.  This helps to slow down the rusting process.  I'm told that it will continue to rust over the years so don't use this for something that you want passed down through the generations.  It will still last your lifetime and probably beyond but is not for an heirloom project.

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Janet - I found your post extremely interesting .As I am in a condo I would not have room to have the rust happen inside so I am going to wait until the warm weather to try it. How is your challenge coming along? Shirley