Sunday, January 24, 2010


I have a confession to make. I love rust. Yep, rust. That corrosion that most try to avoid, try to keep from infecting their homes and vehicles. Me. I collect it.

To clarify, I collect rusted objects. Mostly in the form of rusted nuts and bolts found on sidewalks and streets. My husband and close friends are accustomed to my sudden rust stops when we're walking. In fact, while strolling through Central Park with my husband last weekend after viewing the exhibiSlash: Paper Under the Knife at the Museum of Art and Design, I found a huge rusted nut...the metal kind, not the food-of-squirrels kind, and was thrilled with my unexpected treasure. My husband joked that that was the highlight of my day. In a way, he was right. See what I mean? I love rust.

In my previous art life as a weaver, rusted elements were sometimes attached to my weavings. Recently, I've been experimenting with dyeing fabric with rust by putting wet fabric in a plastic bag with the rusted elements and leaving them alone for awhile. Once a week or so, I open the bag and rearrange the elements. The result is layers and depth of rust. 

In searching the internet for suggestions as to how to retard the rusting process on the fabric, I found the web site Prairie Fibers which mentioned using vinegar to speed the rusting process. 

While it did quicken the process - rust was visible within 24 hours, it also seemed to quicken the process on the rusted objects. Rust flaked off the metal when the bag was opened. Not sure if that's good or bad, but it was unexpected and had not happened with water soaked fabric.

So it's back to combining tap water, rust and fabric. I found a lively moss colored cotton at The Quilter's Alley and couldn't resist experimenting with it. 

I like the result. Need to find a few more colors to play with. Wonder what will happen if...


  1. Nuts and bolts transformed!

  2. I'm having fun with it. It's very low maintenance which is perfect for life with Ellie & Grace. Have a piece of organza germinating at the moment.


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