Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rust revealed

Today I'm unveiling my rusted fabric I started on Day 2 of AEDM.  In all honesty, I knew I would be gone much of Sunday, so I started this project yesterday (Saturday).

I took the package outside because I didn't want to open the bags of rust in my house.  I also took my Kalanchoe out for a bit of sun before the big freeze which is supposed to hit us Monday.

Wearing protective disposable gloves, I carefully opened and removed the rusty fabric.

The fabric was still wet with vinegar, and the rust was flaking badly.

As I was removing the rusty "people," I realized I had not laid the fabric flat when I first started the project, causing ripples in the rusted fabric.  My dancing people were mere blobs of rust.

I took the rusted fabric inside and washed it in baking soda water.  I left my disposable gloves on, because this fabric was rustier than any I'd seen in the past.  After allowing it to sit for a few minutes in the baking soda water, I removed the water and repeated the process, adding more baking soda.  This time the fabric responded, and it was now safe to remove my disposable gloves and touch it.

Please, please remember to always wear protective disposable gloves when dealing with rust, rusted fabric, and rusted parts you are playing with.  The rust can get into your bloodstream and mess with the hemoglobin in your blood.

Once safe to handle, I washed the fabric in soapy water, then rinsed it.  I hung it on my front railing to dry.

I knew it wouldn't take long for the fabric to dry, because the wind was blowing hard by the time I took these photos.  I hope to create something from the smaller piece before the end of the month, but I plan to give the long piece to a friend so she can make either a skirt or shawl from it.

Of course, I was so disappointed with the outcome of this fabric, I quickly headed to my basement studio

and auditioned these two king size bed sheets I was given, both of which I've torn pieces from in the past.

As an aside, I can't stress enough, if you want to save money on fabric, buy (or get friends and family to donate) old bed sheets at the thrift store.  You'll get far more yardage for less money than if you buy new fabric.  This is especially true if you are dyeing or rusting fabric.

I decided the lighter blue sheet was better for the task at hand, but, because it was 100% cotton, I knew I had to iron it before I could lay out my dancing people.  Although I ironed the fabric, there were still a few wrinkles I had to deal with.

As I laid the pieces in place, I continued to straighten the fabric.  Yes, I'm wearing disposable gloves because of the rust.  Please note that "one size" gloves do not fit all, although these labeled "small" fit better than ones I've used in the past.

I continued to layer and fold the fabric,

straightening as I folded

until I had all the pieces in place.

However, it wasn't until I had added the vinegar to the fabric that I realized this is where the real straightening needed to happen.  I also realized I needed to start with less fabric, if I truly wanted these dancing people to rust properly.

So I'll let this fabric rust for a few days, then, if it doesn't produce the dancing people as I hoped, I will try for a third rust session with a shorter piece of fabric.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  I genuinely appreciate your comments and visits.

For Day 10
of AEDM, I showed a disappointing rust experiment, and started a second one with hopes it will turn out better.

20 thoughtful remarks:

Rebeca Trevino said...

i love your CAN DO attitude E!

ps: is handling rust or rusty things really a danger? i handle rusty things all the time, and i don't wear gloves. . . .

Helen said...

You got some good rusty fabric, even if your dancing people didn't come out as well as you'd hoped - maybe the second lot will be better.

massofhair said...

I really love the look of your fabric Elizabeth, looking forward to seeing what you and your friend make from the sheeting.

Can understand your need to experiment & get the shapes you want, so have fingers & toes crossed for this next batch.

Thank you for the step by step and the warnings re handling rust. Enjoy your day, hoping the big freeze hasn't arrived yet! :-) xxx

froebelsternchen Susi said...

I love to watch your process with all this ...
what a fabulous mess... yeah!
Looking forward to the results dear Elizabeth! Thank you so much for showing us all this steps and sharing your techniques and tips with us! Amazing!
Happy new week!

Sharon Fritchman said...

I love your creativity, Elizabeth. Your rusty fabric is absolutely beautiful. I love how it turned out and cannot wait to see what happens with this new batch! Thanks for sharing this technique with all of us!

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Happy to be here for the unveiling. :D The blobs looked great, even if they were not what you were hoping for. Great to see that you kept experimenting.

johanna said...

though your first results were not what you expected, i always love the outcome of rusted fabrics, which shape ever... wishing you luck for the figures to appear!

Nan G said...

Cool looking fabric Elizabeth. Be really neat if the dancing people turn out on your next attempt. Thanks for sharing with us. Bundle up and stay warm. Hugs Nan and the Girls

see you there! said...

I like the fabric a lot. Lucky friend who is going to receive the large piece.


Julie Jordan Scott said...

One of the aspects of AEDM I love is seeing when artists post "the all" of what we create, not only focusing on our absolutely brilliant outcomes.

I actually really like the rusty fabric. I feel like the people were purposefully not transferred well because you were meant to have another go at it. :-)

I wish there was an audio recording of this process. I wonder if you speak or sigh or shout or are silent as these pieces come into fruition. For whatever reason, my thought is it would be enjoyable to "be" with you in those spaces auditorially as well as visually.

Thanks for being you!

Maron said...

What are you going to do with the material once you have the desired rusty effect?

Divers and Sundry said...

Sheets also make good material for costumes and curtains. :)

I keep being distracted by which plant I'd put your rusty pieces in. lol My mind is just on plants right now, as they take up so much room in the house.

I look forward to seeing what you do with the fabric once you're satisfied with it.

~*~Patty S said...

these kinds of projects always have the 'surprise' element involved don't they...
even tho your dancing people did not take your fabric is full of rusty goodness and interest E!

Halle said...

I've got to do some more rusting. IT's so much fun to reveal what happened while it was sitting. Must be why I like tie-dye as well. The results are always random...sort of like me. :)

voodoo vixen said...

I love your rusty people, so I truly hope that they turn out this time, but one of the things we all love about you is the fact that you don't give up and always make use of the efforts whether they were what you expected or not!

Dianne said...

well I think the rusty 'blobs' are pretty interesting...but hoping it works out for you to get the 'dancing' image you want! great tip about the fabric/sheets. love me some thrifting!

Jo Murray said...


pearshapedcrafting said...

Ooooh! I knew they'd be good, sorry you weren't happy with your little people! Looking forward to seeing them work their magic this time!! Keep warm! Chrisx

Karla B said...

Super cool work, my friend!

Julia Dunnit said...

It's turned out really well anyway..I love the pieces tha tyou got out oif it,even though they aren't discernible 'people'! Love too that you go straight back to start over, I'm so bad at that!