This is a close up of that piece. Julia has such a definite style and when I look at her works of art the words "class" and "sophistication" come to mind.
Rusting is not difficult. Achieving these spontaneous patterns is fun. Julia demonstrated how she gets a variety of rust patterns by showing us various items that she had wrapped in muslin. One was a large old lead pipe. She came to the meeting with several buckets full of metal pieces that she had picked up at garage sales, welding shops, or scrap metal places. “You can’t go to a hardware store today and find things that will rust,” she says. She suggests that you scout old barn sales for rusty nails, chains, pipes, anything that will rust.
A Little Story: She told us a story about the first time she and some friends went shopping in an Iron and Steel factory. She said that when the men saw her walking into their shop they give her a funny look, like, what are you doing here. When she told them that she and her friends were artists and that they needed metal that would rust for a project they were working on, the men were eager to help and started showing them odd shapes of metal they might like. Some of the pieces were even starting to rust.
Julia warns that some metals are covered with oil to keep the rust at bay and that you should scrub that oil off with soap, water and a stiff brush. She said that an old disk break makes a perfect circle when it is wrapped in muslin, sprayed with vinegar water and put in a warm place to rust.
Julia says that moisture and oxygen are the key elements when it comes to creating rust and showed us various pieces that she had rusted which allowed us to see the variety of colors and layers and patterns that can be achieved. Did you know that natural materials will rust better than synthetics? Did you know that you can rust fabric, paper and trims? When Julia showed us the lead pipe that she had wrapped in fabric then scrunched and tied, she pointed out that she used cotton thread (like the thread you use to crochet dishcloths) to tie the fabric to the pipe because she wanted it to rust too.
Experiment with various fabrics. You can rust patterned and colored fabrics. Look for old T-shirts, tablecloths, napkins, scraps from your sewing room and have fun seeing the different batik-like patterns that you can get.
If you wrap your project in plastic, she warns against sealing the plastic. Remember what she said: Moisture and oxygen are the key elements. You need the air to circulate. If the project dries out, just spray it with a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar.
Did you know that your fabric will continue to rust over time? Julia recommends that you mist your project periodically over the years with a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize the fibers and slow the rusting.
I’ve previously posted this picture, but wanted to show you again. It is another one of Julia’s works of rusted art. She is a true artist! Her demonstration has given me a completely new outlook on rusting fabric. This is something I want to try. (It just occurred to me: I think I have an old clothesline pole in my back yard that would be perfect for this. Think the neighbors will complain?) Thanks Julia for sharing with us and giving us inspiration.
At Second Street has a great tutorial for an on-the-go activity book. Not only will it keep the children busy, it is easy to take with you wherever you go. It is fun, entertaining, inexpensive and compact! This is a wonderful idea for those little ones (and will keep them from touching things they should not). I have to make several of these.
Until next time,