Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Vilnius Project!

On the left is a photo the 6th state of my "Vilnius" project.  The rust printing is finished, the dye work is finished and it is now ready to be stitched and framed.  I will not have time to stitch this before my exhibit in Vilnius, but I  will take it with me as part of the exhibit.
Rust printing can be very unpredictable. Dyeing with natural dyes can be unpredictable as well.  If the dyes are loaded with tannins, when they contact the iron in the rust, the color may change completely to blue, gray or black!
This has been a fun journey and even though it took 7 days to create, it was like receiving a gift every morning when I went to uncover the print.
It is indeed a worthwhile journey to make as it teaches you to work slowly and to pay attention to what your materials are telling you.  It is a method that gives the artist a little more control over the final outcome than straight natural dyeing or eco printing.  It can also be used to create a base layer upon which to work with other media.  Try it, I think you will enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rust dyeing for my Vilnius Project!

Since I will be traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania April 8th for an exhibit of my eco printed fabric and paper works, I decided to do a rust printed/dyed project to commemorate the event.
I started with a piece of white cotton muslin approx. 5' x 6', gathered together all kinds of things that I thought would make interesting marks, and set about creating marks and textures to illustrate what could be done with recycled metals.
Old Railroad and Industrial pieces are good, construction debris, old farm equipment (they can be broken), old housewares and tools from your garage all contribute to making marks on your work surface.  You are creating sort of a metal shorthand.  And you are re-using something that probably would have gone to a landfill or stayed in a junk pile helping to draw vermin and maybe causing someone to get hurt.
You do not need to make a "realistic" picture.  You can do an abstract of similar shapes or high contrast shapes to help create textures rhythm and movement throughout the piece.  Let your self go and develop your inner expression.  I have provided some photos of the work in progress.  When it is complete, I will post it again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More EcoPrints on Paper!

I am again trying to extend my knowledge of what happens when you mix various materials with watercolor paper and a cast iron cooking pot.  I already knew that iron and Eucalyptus would react with each other, creating colors and patterns that they do not when used separately.  What I wanted was to add, in small measure, other materials to find out what reactions would occur.  My other question that I am still seeking a definite answer to is; can I plan a design and predictably carry it out by using the same methods or must I change the way I work and think?
I set up my cauldron, gathered a few different materials together and began layering them onto sheets of 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper which was sandwiched between 2 12" sq. ceramic tiles.  This packet was then placed inside the cauldron on top of a Stainless Steel wire rack to keep them elevated out of the boiling water.  A lid was put on the pot and the fire started.  When I saw steam escaping from under the lid, I clocked the cooking time for 1 hr. and then let the fire die down and the packet to remain in the pot to cool.  I left the packet sandwiched for 3 days.
The results taught me a few more things that I had not known.  During the steaming, color and minerals migrate through the stack affecting all of the prints in some way.  Metals affected other papers that were not indirect contact with it.  It affect other plant materials that were not in contact with it.  I did not have any adverse effects except with turmeric.  It is so strong that it can affect pages that are 5 or 6 sheets away just from being carried by the steam in the pot.  The photos will show my results and also the migrations. The order they were photographed is the order in which they were stacked.