Thursday, December 29, 2011


I've been painting a bit lately. No, no, not with oils or acrylic or watercolors even, rather with a tea/vinegar mixture. Any painters who happen to stumble upon this post are probably thinking that I've gone totally bonkers...and that may just be true. Still...

The hard line on the left above resulted from painting a line of tea/vinegar on dry cotton in an attempt to rust a bold line down the piece. The hard line is actually where the mixture/rust bled and was totally unplanned, but very welcome.

Fast forward to a few days after this happened and you'd have found me standing in the studio looking at relic and experiencing an aha! moment. A what if moment.  

What if I rusted a piece solely by painting the area that I wanted to rust rather than soaking the whole piece of cotton? After searching in my treasure box for just the right bit, I decided to rust a rectangular grid pattern.

The cotton twill was folded to nearly the size of the rectangle (sorry, but I don't know what the piece really is in construction terms...hence calling it the rectangle) and the tea/vinegar was painted on the top layer only.

Oddly enough, some of the mixture still managed to soak through to the other layers, yet only the very top rusted.

On round two, more of the cotton was painted and the rectangle was folded inside.

As with the circle grid, this bundle is being opened, repositioned and rebundled each morning, with the exception of over Christmas when we were visiting family.

Five days of undisturbed rusting left quite an impression on the fabric. The heavy rust will wear away through handling...unless I figure out how to keep it there.

 This morning's results.

My plan is to continue until the whole piece is covered. How long that will take depends several things - how big an area is painted, how it is refolded, how wet the fabric becomes from being painted with such a thin mixture, how long it is left to rust each time, what effect the vinegar and continued rusting has on the rectangle....

Stay tuned for...weekly?...updates on this piece.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Screen printing

 Been doing a bit of screen printing this week...

of the rusty variety, of course.

Monday through Friday - printing screens, building layers and color.

In case you want a better look at the fabric along the way, the full shots from the mosaic are below.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Back in September, Seth Apter over at The Altered Page decided to embrace his fondness for stacks in the studio and asked others not only to do so, but to share them in a post entitled...what else?...Stackoholics Anonymous. I considered participating, but just never quite seemed to get around to photographing mine.

This morning, midst needing to make room on my work table to open bundles, it occurred to me that there's a nice little stack of fabrics that have been accumulating since Thanksgiving and the adage of better late than never came to mind. So, without further adieu, here's my guilty pleasure stack.

This is actually a good record of what has transpired in the studio since the semi-disastrous experiment with the cranberries. As I seem to be on a roll rusting right now, it's tempting to just keep adding to the stack and see how high and varied it gets before the 2012 artist retreat.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sneak peak

Thought you might enjoy a quick peak at one of the experiments rusting in the studio.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I semi-jokingly commented a few posts ago that winter seems to be my rusting season. After mulling the thought over, I decided to really embrace it and experiment like mad.

This past week found me waking early...4:30 am-ish early...brewing a pot of tea - to drink, not rust with - and getting to work in the studio opening bundles, taking photos, repositioning rusted elements, rebundling and rebagging, setting aside and then beginning my real day job.

Layers, repeated patterns, both. That's what I'm playing with. I kept looking at the rusty bits and my creative mind was seeing this piece

which was discharged during the summer using wine corks dipped in bleach. The repetition of  pattern and uniqueness of each circle resonates with me. know what's next. Yep. Rusted circles.

 At various stages during the week.

 Opened Friday morning. Still wet.

No hanging outside to dry this time. 

 Dry. Needs ironing.

Working on this piece generated plenty of what ifs to experiment with along the way. Using circles, of course! I really should write them down while they're fresh in my mind.

Pam - I need to start a rusty what if list, don't you think? Be on the lookout and feel free to add to it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tea time

It probably seems like all I've been doing in the studio this week is shuffling around rusted squares, trying to fit the puzzle pieces together correctly so that they'll stop laughing at me and finally share their stories with me. That assumption is right...and then not.

Do you remember tea time? I've had to start naming the fabrics so that I can keep them straight.

The last post on this piece ended with me deciding to go back in and add more lines/stripes. 

And that was done. Monday morning (above left) it was opened and looked pretty good. Then I decided to hang it outside to 20-something degree weather. Obviously my brain was experiencing a freeze of its own because that is exactly what had happened to the fabric when I went out later to see if it was dry. (above right)

Yes. It was frozen. In one big sheet of the line even. Oh! The laughter can be heard, even via cyber space. I know who's laughing...and who's wondering if she should try this rusting method to see what results she gets. Or perhaps she's already tried?

Detail and color that is so lovely and vivid when wet gets lost in the drying, I know, but lines had totally disappeared as had the purple/black from the tea. Still wanting at least one strong stripe, I painted in a line of tea/vinegar, placed two rusted rectangles, re-bundled it, let it set for 24 hours, then repeated the process the next morning. 

An unexpected...certainly unthought of...thing resulted from painting the line with such a thin mixture. It bled. And in a most wonderful way. See the hard edged wavy line the left? That's it.

The lines and stripes that I'd wanted are there. Different, unplanned and much better. A bit of rusty serendipity, if you please.

Hanging tea time and viewing it this way immediately brought to mind cave paintings. From tea time to the relic in one stroke of serendipity. What do you see in this piece? What stories is it telling you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Whispering can be heard in my studio. And, no, it isn't me talking to myself. This time.

The previously 16 foot rusted piece is promising to share it's...well, their stories with me just as soon as I fit the puzzle pieces together correctly. There's been a lot of muffled snickering from them as I move the squares about, trying to find the right place for each.

However, it's been very quiet since the latest arrangement happened at about 5:30 this morning. I must be getting close...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



became 23

and is now 7.

Reassembled to keep the linear feel. No matching edges. 
Still separate, yet together. Need to live with them a bit.  


An unexpected gift arrived today that has left me fairly breathless and in total awe of its creator.

Many thanks eb!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The shape of things... the studio this morning - circles, stripes and stars.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Saturday was the perfect day to play outside. And play I did in a charming little Connecticut town nearer the coast which hosts a bevy of artists and one very fine eating establishment.

While I enjoyed the company of a good friend, strolling along the street, chatting and buying gifts for the season, a bundle of cotton and rusty bits was playing its own game at home.

Once again, in the quiet of the morning, I danced in the studio to another rusty tune...a sea shanty sort of tune about discovering buried or bundled treasures.

As I sit here at my desk, viewing the yesterday's results, the lines...or stripes made by masonry nails is catching my eye and asking for more...more lines, more stripes.

The stripeys agree, of course. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In the studio

In the quiet of the morning, while it was still dark outside and all in the house were sleeping,
except me and the cats, I danced in the studio to a rusty little tune. 


And 1 became 23.

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