Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mono Print Scarf

Mono Print #1

Mono Print #1 Detail
10" x 56"
100% China Silk
Signed by the artist Rust-Tex Scarf
$90.00 USD
Shipping US: $5.00
Shipping International: Please inquire

Truly Passive Dyeing

Today's picture is 5 of the 9 bottles I set out Monday night that Mother Nature is keeping wet for me.
I have 7 quilts to complete by June 30 so I know I won't be able to spend much time in the dye studio this month. (long deep sigh goes here. But what can I do? Those commissions pay the bills.) The nice thing about rust dyeing is I don't have to time dye baths, measure and mix chemicals, or worry about pH levels. Some of the techniques I have developed take several days. So I can just set them out there and let them...rust. I call it passive dyeing because I don't have to be actively involved in the process.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mother Nature Does Her Job

Mother Nature did her job well today providing light rain intermittently all day. When I checked the bottle wraps, after dinner and before going over to the church to price rummage, I found them to be moist and developing good areas of color. No photo today. I am on a different computer.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jasper Scarf

Here is one of the two scarves I have ready to post. You can see from the photo styling and cropping that it is going to take me a while to get all the scarves on this blog. I am teaching Trip Around the World tomorrow at Mill House Quilts. In the evening I am helping price items for the church rummage sale. That leaves zero time for rust dyeing and playing with those beautiful silk scarves. The weather service is predicting thunderstorms for the next two days so I wrapped nine bottles today and will let Mother Nature keep them wet.
Jasper #1

Jasper #1 Detail
10" x 56"
100% Silk Satin
Signed by the artist Rust-Tex Scarf
$90.00 USD
Shipping US: $5.00
Shipping International: Please inquire

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Star Blocks

I am going to post pictures of the finished scarves tomorrow.
Today was just too full of other stuff, for me to do any more than this on my blog tonight.
Here is a photo of a set of star blocks developing nicely.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Busy, Busy Day

Yesterday was the PERFECT day for rust dyeing!!!
It was hot and dry. I finally got black out of the iron pot dye baths. I was beginning to think I didn't remember the recipe. It turns out it just wasn't hot enough to make things work!!!
I finished up 10 scarves today as well as helped my dear husband hang the screens and clean the gutters. Can't wait until tomorrow to make more scarves!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lots to Write About Today

The first picture shows how much rain came down at dinner time yesterday. It was an empty cup before the rain started!!!
The second cup shows how much more rain we got this afternoon.
The third picture is what I got when I unwrapped the bundle of joy. I unwrapped it because it started to get stinky!!! I was able to retain the green left by the copper wire by rinsing the piece in ammonia. The photo below shows a detail of that.
It was too cool to use the paint stripper today. The label said it would work fastest when the weather is between 70-80F. Rust dyeing works best at that temperature too. So instead of stripping, I dyed. I set out a pan full of scarves, a set of star squares and another mono print scarf using the ailing lawn mower spring. Also a pan of fabric that I hope to use to make more coin pieces. So I had a busy day in the studio even tho it was a wet one.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rain Ruins Plans

I was working all day in the studio trying to catch up on the paperwork. I knew my dear husband was planning on watching TV all evening (last episode of "Lost") so I was planning on rinsing out my "Bundle of Joy" after dinner. Well...mother nature must not agreed that tonight was the right time to rinse that bundle out because...a HUGH storm moved through the Madison, WI area right at dinner time. At 6:30pm it was as dark as midnight. By 7:00pm the light was back to normal but everything outside was so wet I couldn't work.
Today's photo is of the pair of iron grates I bought at a flea market this week-end to replace the rusted away lawn mower spring I use for mono printing. If mother nature cooperates tomorrow and I get a good long time in the studio I am going to use paint stripper on these and unwrap the "Bundle of Joy".
Wish me a joyful experience.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Scheduling a Birth

I think my "bundle of joy" should get birthed this week-end. I would like to see a lot more staining on the outside of the bundle but I am intensely curious to see what patterns and/or colors are have developed. I guess if I don't like it after it is rinsed out I can always reroll some new dandelions or other organic matter into it.
Hummmmm.....That would work....Maybe I'll rinse it out tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cat in the Rust-Tex Wind

Another busy day spent not in the dye studio. So I am posting a picture of a small wallhanging I made with Rust-Tex fabric. I call it "Cat in the Rust-Tex Wind". It is 15" wide and 16" tall. It is quilted with clear polyester. The cat is a copper enameled pin I found at a garage sale late last fall. The orange leaves are plastic. I found them at the local bead shop. The gray cable in the border is some fabric I cut really thin on the bias and sewed it down with the clear poly thread using a zig-zag stitch.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Greater Joy

The rain has finally stopped!!! But I didn't have much time to dye anything this week-end as Friday we garage sailed and Saturday we went to a flea market. I was looking for something to replace the lawn mower spring. It is about ready to break. I am thinking I can still use the main part for mono printing and have little curves scattered around the scarf. But the big piece will not be around much longer either and I would have a hard time making the little pieces stand up.Do I have to buy a broken lawn mower just to get a spring?
Gotta go prep a class I am teaching at Mill House Quilts tomorrow.
Look how nice my bundle is coming along! Maybe I'll unwrap it later this week.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bundle of Joy

Here is a detail shot of the bundle of dandelions and stuff I wrapped up yesterday. You can why I called todays post "Bundle of Joy" because the dandelions are causing the fabric to change color.
Oh joy, oh joy, oh joy!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Between the sheets of rain and the sheets of fabric is what today post is about. I was able to work in the dye studio between the rain showers today. I had dyed a yard of fabric a wonderful daub. That is what we call light khaki today. It was too evenly dyed for my taste so I decided to lay dandelions on it, roots, stems, flowers, seed heads, and whatever else came along when I pulled them out of the ground today, which included mud, sticks and grass.
To help hold the dandelions in place I put a piece of white cotton over them. Thinking that layer might be pretty bland I sprinkled rust dust on it.
Then I bundled the whole thing with copper wire.
The bottle wraps are doing nicely out there in the rain. I managed work about 1.5 hours outside in the dye studio today. I had just finished bringing in the stuff that has to stay dry, like the box of salt, when a big crash of thunder sounded. So I quickly locked the door and went down to my basement studio to turn off my computer. One way or another I was going to keep thunder and lightning out of my life.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The weatherman got it right today

It was raining today. Sometimes it stopped . Between showers I got a chance to set out some "trees fabrics". The designs should take about a week to develop with these low temperatures. In this continuing precipitation, I won't have to water them. Maybe this weather isn't so bad after all.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away

I haven't been able to work outside all week because of the rain.
To be able to plan my Rust-Tex adventures for the upcoming week, I thought I should check today's newspaper.
This is what I saw.

I find repeated images in art very appealing but I found this just plain depressing.

I am really getting sick of rain.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Coins 2 high res

Coins 2

This is a piece I made using Rust-Tex that was a very white fabric to start with. I laid it on a really rusty cookie sheet so only parts of it were in contact with the rust. I didn't like it much when it was finished. I thought the design was spotty looking, not all running together making an all over design like I strive so hard to achive. But then...
I found some old office rubber stamps at a garage sale...
One of them said "These coins checked by a professional numismatist" another said "Uncirculated". When I came up with the idea of using the spotty piece of Rust-Tex, which was suggestive of rock layers, and the rubber stamps to create additional strata, I knew I had a winning combination. The piecing pattern is called "Chinese Coins" so I sewed real and reproduction Chinese coins on it. There are also fossils and rock chips sewed and glued on in flowing lines, again suggesting rock layers.
All the elements work together telling the viewer that coins come from veins deep in the earth.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wisconsin Waterway 1

Today I went to the Professional Art Quilter's Alliance (PAQA) meeting in Glen Ellyn, IL. Because this was the closest meeting to the deadline for the "Water Challenge", many pieces were turned in today. The challenge was to make a piece 18" or less on a side with the theme of water. This is a picture of mine. I decided to make an underwater Wisconsin scene. I was thinking of all the mud bottom lakes we have in this state, how they are filled with seaweed and what great hideouts they are for fish.

I used a fat quarter cotton sateen piece of Rust-Tex for the background. The seaweed is made from torn pieces of a commercially produced batik, cut strips of metalic mesh fabric from Joann's, and some interesting yarns. These were all zig-zagged into place. The embellishments include three different kinds of fish beads, triangle bamboo beads, shinny glass beads, and seed beads. I quilted it with clear polyester thread on my Pfaff 7570.
That is what I am doing with Rust-Tex. If you have ever bought any of the fabric I have dyed with naturally occurring iron oxide please email me a jpg so I can post it here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Busy Days

I have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to post. One Rust-Tex related thing that took up a lot of my time this week was cleaning my dye studio. The main reason I work outside is so I don't have to worry about getting water all over the floor. I can be as messy as I want to be. So you are thinking, "Why does she feel she needs to clean the dye studio?" It wasn't me that was messy!!! It was the vast amounts of pollen produced last week. It was all over everything!!! I had to dump all the buckets of water I set out to warm in the early morning sun. They were so full of pollen I thought it would effect the colors I am trying to get. I had to sweep the blossoms the rain had knocked out of the trees off the deck so I didn't drag them into the house on the bottom of my shoes. After cleaning for an hour (and it is not that big of a space), I was able to make six great scarves, a really nice set of star blocks and I started a large damask piece of art cloth.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Package at My Door

I went out early this morning to get the newspaper and I found this great piece of rusty iron on the fence post!!! One of the neighbors must have noticed what is going on out on the deck...
Hope to get back to dyeing tomorrow. I have been so busy with other work I have not been able to devote 2-3 hours a day in the Rust-Tex studio. Besides it has been raining here. Great for growing rust but not so good for working outside.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Prepared For Dye Cloth

The cloth I ordered is called PFD cloth. Those three letters stand for "prepared for dyeing". It means there is no finishes on the cloth like premapress on it. It still needs to be washed before it can be dyed. The washing removes any oils from the cloth and opens up the fibers making them more receptive to dye molecules. I spent about an hour today tearing up the cloth. Then I washed it. I like to tear it into fat eights, fat quarters, yards and half yards. First I tear off the selvages and then I make what ever size I want. That way I don't have to cut it after I dye it. I can visualize the design of the whole piece as I lay it out on my rusty stuff.
Now that the fabric is all washed, dried and sorted by size,it really is prepared for dyeing.