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 workshop before, I thought that I would further explore the method in the hope of gaining surface qualities to translate within my concept. 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 a rusty cotton cloth. The 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 the 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. 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.

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 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.

Next Step> Today was an extremely productive day. Strangely enough, I will not use any of the fabric samples to influence my concept/ongoing visual research, but rather incorporate, in some way or another, the indigo and rust patterns created on the paper.




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