Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rusty Fabrics

The Monthly Challenge on Fibre Art Friends this month was to "rust dye" some fabric.

I had never even thought of doing this before so was eager to have a go.

I searched and searched for anything rusty in the house but having just moved and had thrown away anything old and rusting. I was coming up against a brick wall.

Undeterred I sent Roger and Fred out on the streets in search of useful items.
They were not amused and returned home with one rusty bolt. I ask you, do you think they took this seriously? I don't think so.

Francoise mentioned that she had used a steel wool pad to dye her fabric, so a hunt under the sink was instigated. Mitzi thought that was great fun! I also found a rusty lantern - why was that there?! This is a mad house.

Anyhow, I wet all the fabrics and added some vinegar to the water - well everyone else was doing it! - and made sure all the fabrics were touching some sort of metal and wrapped it all in a plastic bag. The old bolt went in too. I left everything to cook for 48 hours.

When I lifted the experiment out of the bag it felt horrible. The steel wool had broken up and was everywhere. I didn't know if I would ruin it all but, it went straight in a bowl of soapy water.

I thought all the rust would wash out but no there it was in all its glory.
The pictures you see are the washed and ironed fabrics.

The first one was closest to the steel wool.
The second and third are print fabrics. The blue one is OK and I will probably use it in a quiltie but the other is horrible. It just looks like a filthy bit of cloth.

The last two are my favourites. The plain calico was furthest away from the steel wool and I like the effect it made -not too rusty.
The last one is a piece of calico that I printed with leaves and acrylic paint some time ago. This piece was wrapped in the rusty lantern and I love the lines it has made on the fabric.

All in all great fun - my household agreed on that!


Fran├žoise said...

They look pretty good Alis.
I love the last one with the leaf prints.

Purple Missus said...

Brilliant samples Alis. I really do like the leaf print one. A very good idea.

Sue B said...

These are all great Alis, I really like them all. That one with the leaf prints on it is really special.

StegArt said...

These look great! I think my favorite is the plain calico that was furthest away from the steel.

Linda D. said...

Oh, these are great. And talk about coincidence - I've been wanting to paint a 'rust' square for my latest project. Eventually did so yesterday (no actual metal used in mine, tho!).

Interesting pieces. Glad you had so much fun, too!

hugs, Linda D.

Kari said...

These are great!

Apparently, one can use rotting vegetation to dye fabric too. I saw it done once and the results are similar. Have you ever done any natural dyeing with plants such as woad and weld and nettle? I have used them for wool and they are lovely sublte colours.

Have fun dyeing!

kari x

Helen in the UK said...

Looks like you had fun experimenting. I must get on with mine too! Love the last 2 pieces :)

MargaretR said...

I was certain I had commented on these Alis, but it obviously didn't 'take'.
I love the ones you have combined with the turquoisy colours. The leaves and the print are lovely. The top one for some reason reminds me of a pound note? Not sure why, I'll have to take a look at some notes(smile)