Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mail Art!

Does anyone not love receiving mail art?! The postcard below is from Darlene. The mailing deadline for the A2Z/favorite quote postcard exchange is on Monday; today is Saturday! I of course waited until the last minute to put the finishing touches on mine. Darlene's work never fails to amaze me and this one is no exception; it's elegant in its simplicity and I'm thrilled that it's now in my collection!

The page on the left is from a foreign text book, Italian, that I dampened and placed over the rust sludge in the bottom of a plastic container. A couple of hours later I was treated to a beautiful stained paper! The container is dedicated to rusting fabric in and I imagine will continue to create wondrous amounts of sludge for dyeing paper in.

Quote on the postcard: Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.
Albert Szent Gyorgi

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sun Damaged Red Pepper

I absolutely couldn't resist photographing the red pepper, but what to put the 3 inch marvel on?

I discovered a chunk of rusted paper towel in the garage today that instantly became a paper towel rock! No one in the world has this rock formation! Or, for that matter the red pepper that dropped off of the plant late last night (most likely from heat stroke!) or the rusted tissue paper either! One-of-a-kinds! Oh how I love them!

The image on the right is an example from a fabric wrapped bottle that was rusted in bits of steel wool and then dunked in white vinegar. The fabric, a polyester/cotton white sheet, was wrapped around the bottle for at least 5 days before the unveiling. The organic markings are little vignettes spread out randomly over the fabric. Lovely!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rusty nails

I'm blown away by this one! Nothing happened for hours and suddenly magic happened. I think that the nails are from a nail gun,. I picked them up months ago while taking a walk around the block and tossed them onto a heap of stuff; I like the way they're attached and lined up. They rusted all by themselves and were waiting for me to rediscover them. The fabric is an old sheet.

Rust Dyeing

Rust dyeing or staining? I think that these pieces fall under the staining category.

The tissue paper was stained when I dried the rusted felt piece on it, the lutradur which is the bottom right odd shaped piece was definitely stained from a baking sheet and the wrapped chenille stem was made from dryer sheets that were also stained from a baking sheet. Or dyed!

I wrapped a couple of dryer sheets around the chenille stem and then blasted it with a heat gun. I've never heard or read of anyone doing this before, but I imagine someone has! Anyway, when the dryer sheets were blasted with the heat gun they melted and grabbed onto the chenille stem making a permanent bond. Cool fusing technique! I've been working on a mandala for a couple of weeks now; it's giving me problems. I think that the wrapped chenille stem is the answer to how to define a troublesome area on the mandala.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rust Dyeing

Steel wool pad wrapped inside of distressed acrylic felt and rusted in white vinegar with some salt tossed in.

The first time I rinsed the felt to get the rust flakes off of the piece the rust dyeing also went down the sink! Why? Could it be that I didn't pre-treat the felt, or that the dyeing process wasn't done yet? Back to the soaking vat for 2 more days; this time the piece completely dyed rather than random areas. I allowed the felt to dry first and then semi-rinsed it fearing that the rust dye would again go down the drain. It didn't. To dry it the second time I sandwiched the felt between tissue paper and wax paper and allowed it to dry flat. The tissue paper is visible behind the distressed felt. Okay, so if the felt dyed the tissue paper maybe the felt still isn't rinsed enough? A little forethought; this may be the only time the felt will look this way so I photographed it before heading into the 100 degree garage to rinse it.

Later: I rinsed and rinsed the felt and the problem seems to be that the rust settled into the distressed areas with a very tight grip and might continue to flake off! The torn muslin piece I rusted at the same time was vastly improved after rinsing it; the color that is left is lovely. The felt now looks more coffee stained than rust dyed. Interesting.

I could absolutely kick myself but who knew that two cast iron skillets, muffin tins and a divided sourdough bread pan would have been nice to rust fabric in?!! Seeing how I've rusted tins and washers I should have known not to toss the rusty items during the hectic packing for the move! I think that I may have even donated a skillet during the unpacking! At least I had the sense to bring the baking sheets, horse shoes, and rusted bars with me. Old Teflon baking sheets rust well once they've been scratched and I have quite a few of them!

I picked up a tarp at the dollar store last week to put down on the garage floor. There is something about having a brand new house that almost keeps me from making messes! Before I got the tarp I did manage to splatter the floor with spray paint and some of the rust. The tarp is the perfect size for the area I work in so I'll need to stock up on them!

The rust dyed pieces are now drying on the wood clothes rack that I've had for so long that I don't remember not having it! I think the only thing holding it together is the layers of paint from paper painting sessions. I was planning to look for a large enough plastic container for the rusty rods but decided that if the one I have isn't in use why wait! I have a tendency to buy containers on sale and when I return for more I never find them again. Talk about a bunch of mismatched containers! It's a Virgo thing . . .

I saved an old sheet that I'm cutting down so that I can continue experimenting with rust dyeing. I have a piece of lutradur soaking right now. Definitely addictive!

Even Later: the rust dyed felt dried in about 3 hours, what wouldn't in a boiling hot garage?! The felt isn't as rich as it was, pooh, but I'm wondering what would happen if I bleached out some areas. At least it appears that the felt has stopped flaking. I have 3 pieces soaking in vinegar and the one with steel wool bits spread out over the fabric and then rolled around a bottle is already rusting!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

h is for hydrangea

A digital postcard for the exchange on EV? I'm not sure yet. (Kinda yucky colors!) I started with photos of a hydrangea and added 8 layers of brushes that were either included with PSE 4 or that I created from postmarks. I love it when the result looks more intricate than it is.

I've never had a hydrangea plant before; I've had a life-long dislike of the plant. I have no idea why, but perhaps it's because they were so abundant when I was growing up. I nearly killed this one when I put it out directly into the hot sun! The leaves burnt around the edges which sent me scrambling for the gardening book. They seem to like some shade and a touch of sun. Why in the world was this plant sitting in the sun at the nursery and why sell something so fragile out here in the desert?? My guess is that there is always a sucker who will come along and buy anything! I photographed the huge flower blossom just in case the plant never blooms again. What I saw through the viewfinder was more exciting than I thought the hydrangea ever could be!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Garden Art

I was literally pulled into Home Goods today by these pieces! Once in awhile I follow my intuition just to find out what happens; usually I fight against that inner voice, after all "I know best." It all started with a garden show on TV and a sleepless night. The episode that I taped was focused on garden art and even though I already have a few pieces that I brought with me from Pacific Grove there is always room for more, especially now that it's too hot to plant anything that might survive the brutal heat! I have no idea why but I've always been drawn to horses; I have a few horse sculptures in the house but none in the garden. For some reason I "felt" that Home Goods would have a metal horse of some kind that I could hang on the brick wall. I was barely inside of the store when the weather vane almost jumped into my cart. Always optimistic I immediately decided that it would be out of my price range. Wrong! It was below what I would have paid for it. Off to the clearance section where I found the metal piece that I had envisioned needing for a bare spot in the garden that is in need of something tall. It was only $8.00; the top ornament is missing. It was the shape that I wanted anyway. Next to it was a $5.00 resin faux stone pig that was begging to go home with me; Stacy collects pigs. But it was the cat figurine that quietly made her presence known. I was on my way to the check-stand when I caught a glimpse of her. Only her face was visible behind some rather bland pieces that were of no interest to me. I kept going but she whispered to me that she'd been waiting for me to show up. When I moved the pieces that were in front of her I knew that I'd found a treasure! Her Highness Cloe is now contentedly sitting near the water fountain where she can observe the yard and make sure that the house furkids don't wander out into the yard.
(do click on the photos to enlarge them.)

I'll hang the metal horse once that area has been finished. The retaining wall bricks are baking in the sun and gravel is piled against the brick wall. I don't have the stamina in this heat to rake the gravel away from the wall much less finish the retaining wall and fill the area with soil. Hopefully someone will come along to finish the job.