Experimenting with rust dyeing etc.

A5 sketch books

A5 sketch books 

I was inspired to try rust dyeing as a result of seeing some work at the summer Open Studios event and, coincidentally, there was an article in Stitch Magazine explaining how to do it. I found plenty of rusty nuts and bolts along the roadside and in Mark’s workshop.  Following the instructions, I wrapped the rusty objects in a range of neutral fabrics, tied them up with cotton and string and gave them a good soak in tea.  Apparently the tea activates the rust.  They didn’t soak for long, but the natural drying process took a few days.  The results were interesting, although its best to try and get all of the fabric in contact with the rust.  At the same time, I was experimenting with embedding woven fabrics into handmade felt.  Not wanting to waste the samples, I decided that I would cut and re-piece them onto some sturdy scrim to make book covers.  You can see that I am still exploring the weave from my Line of Flight!  A layer of sturdy curtain fabric backs the designs.  These will be for sale at TRAC Does Christmas which will be at Quarr Abbey from 25th November to 1st December.  I’m particularly pleased with A4 sketchbook to the right.

Rusty books

A4 Sketchbooks


3 thoughts on “Experimenting with rust dyeing etc.

  1. A very successful little batch of sketchbook covers. I had no idea a soak in tea would activate the rust.

    • Chemistry isn’t my strong point. I thought the cloth just might end up dyed with tea, but this wasn’t the case. I saw a sample of work from another artist who just soaked their rusty cloth in water for a week and their cloth was much more strongly dyed, but with less distinct patches.

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