Another day, another workshop with Cath.

Exploration of rust dyeing/shibori/heat setting and paper manipulation/print. Today, I  would concentrate on the process of rust dyeing, primarily.

Having touched on rust dyeing in a previous workshop with Cath, I thought that I would further explore it’s wonderful colour and pattern qualities. The initial stages of design involved Arashi Shibori, but this time I would use a rusty tin can, as opposed to a plastic pole; synthetic fabrics  wrapped over a can, merging rust and indigo together, playing around with copper solution, walnut extract and using rusted iron shapes to create shape/patterns on paper.

Rusty tin cans wrapped with rusty cotton cloth. Can was then sprayed with vinegar/water solution, wrapped in a plastic case and then steamed for 30 minutes.

Experimenting with rust, coffee and paper. Manipulating fabric to print on/over. The panic acid in coffee/tea can turn the rust/iron a deep brown/black, so I thought I would give it a go.

Randomly soaking a cotton cloth with a rich rust solution, tying it up on a pole and submerging in an Indigo dye bath for 15 minutes. The contrasting colour of blue and orange make the result even more striking. Yes, the indigo/resist patterns are not as successful as previous attempts, but I know exactly what needs to be done on my next attempt; the rusty cloth needs to be allowed to completely dry before attempting to wrap around pole, and subsequently dye. I was thinking I could use this as a background for one of my final stitch samples.

Cotton cloth soaked stoked in rust, wrapped around pole and steamed for 15 minutes. 50& of the pole was submerged within the Indigo dye bath, and left to dry for an hour. Having previously used synthetic fabrics, I was unsure of the result. At first, I thought the experiment would be a failure due to natural fabric not being able to maintain it’s textural shape once dry/washed; the success would be measured within the colour contrast and resist. Because I have not yet mastered the Shibori and rust dyeing technique/process, this will become an ongoing project/labour of love between my mentor and I, Michelle Griffiths.

I genuinely did not know what to expect when undertaking this particular creative enquiry, but like it and dislike it in equal measure. The rust adds a wonderful depth and earthy quality to the fabric, but the transfer looks rather haphazard. If I’m honest, the reverse of the fabric is far more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The unpredictability of print is what makes me love it so much, although I do try to create the best print I possibly can. The pattern within this sample evokes the memories/patterns found within the bark of trees. Beautiful. I would love to create a large piece of textile artwork, incorporating lots of square samples of this piece and juxtaposing them to create a wonderfully rich and textural surface.

Absolutely love the contrast of colour between the blue and orange. Again, there are aspects I really like, such as the the patterns within the cloth and the gradient of colour. Trying to turn the rust a far darker colour with the addition of a Tannin really did not work, which was a real shame. The idea waste create a piece which incorporated a rich blue, orange and black; alas, it failed miserably. This is an area I will explore within my own time.

Experiments with rust/Indigo on Hospital Bed Paper; has a fantastic strength, which means that it can become wet without ripping and further manipulated. Could this be a wonderful way to build backgrounds for future print/stitch projects? I have always found working directly onto a white ‘canvas’ rather terrifying; no longer the case, but rather the opposite. This session has given me incredible food for thought.

I have decided to utilise some of the rust dyed paper within one of my six final samples. I will interpret the wonderful structural qualities found within these prints and amalgamate them with hand stitching; blanket stitch would look incredible as a surface pattern.

Michelle Griffiths had shown me some of her stitch samples on one of our mentoring sessions, and I set about practicing myself.


Author: vmhtdesign

First Year Student @ Cardiff Met University, Lllandaff. BA Textile Design.

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