Thursday, 18 September 2008

Experiments with Rust Dyeing

We have a lovely old wheelbarrow that’s been rusting out for a couple of years now (that’s why it’s been replaced with a plastic one!). After discussion on the Rust Dyeing group about bashing/mashing leaves, I wondered if fern fronds would show. They're lying in the bottom of the wheelbarrow. They haven’t, but it’s definitely worth another go. The fabric is good old bleached cotton calico. My other thought was to etch a pattern in the metal of the wheelbarrow. I really like the “fossil batik” prints, and would like to achieve something like that.

Once I brought everything inside, washed it, and ironed it dry, I laid it on the floor to take the photos – and of course, no dog can resist fabric laid on the floor. I missed the shot of him showing his “best” aspect – darn digital cameras.

I got my husband to beat one of the rusty frypans found at my girlfriends place fairly flat. I soaked the fine white cotton in 50/50 warm water/white vinegar, with a heavy splash of salt, then wrapped the fabric round the pan, put it in a plastic bag, and weighted it down with crushed shells (taken from the back path). I managed to leave it about 3 days – not really long enough. I’m going to have another go, with a heavier weight calico cotton, scrunch it up, and leave it for longer. Of course, the pan has grown more rust now, so it should make a more interesting pattern next time.

The rusty pole of our mailbox was just crying out to be used. I folded calico in half, and used the same 50/50 solution + salt. I wrapped gladwrap and a plastic bag around it and left it for a whole week! Then I took it off and rotated the fabric to try to stain the other half. I really like the two dark squares, and there’s some interesting curves in it as well. It’s interesting how, on all the fabrics, some of the most interesting patterns are on the edges! Oh well, the girl loves a challenge! Becca helped wrap the fabric, and re-wrap it.

I’m going to do some low water immersion dyeing this weekend – time to work on the harp bag, so will over-dye some of these fabrics to see what effect I get.

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