I find myself completely intrigued by the eco-dyeing that I’ve been reading about in the blogosphere. I really like the subtle colors and patterns that can be made by dying cloth with natural materials like flowers and leaves. I also like the idea of wrapping up bundles of cloth and then experiencing the thrill of unwrapping them to see what appears. Since we are heading into winter in my part of the world, I will most likely wait until spring to give this technique a try. But in the meantime, I decided to try my hand at rust dyeing instead. From what I can tell, the process is somewhat similar.
Here’s what you do to make marks on fabric with rust: wrap up some rusty objects in cloth, tie tightly with string, spray generously with vinegar, cover in plastic wrap, wait, unwrap, and marvel at what happens. I have fabric. I have rusty stuff. I have vinegar. The most elusive element is the patience needed to wait for something to happen.
And when it does—it’s pretty exciting! Downright thrilling, actually. Beautiful rusty marks appear in glorious shades of, well, rust.
I feel exceptionally proud of this little scrap of muslin that I rusted. I think it’s quite beautiful. But I also realize that the beauty is a result of a chemical reaction that had very little to do with me. Oh sure, I picked out the rusty bits and wrapped them up just so in the cloth. Yes, I sprayed the cloth with my vinegar, tied, and wrapped it again with plastic. I patiently waited an unbearable amount of time to open it up and take a peek. (About three days) I guess I contributed a little bit to the random loveliness that was created. Or maybe I’m just proud of the fact that I tried something new and it turned out better than I imagined it would.
I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with this little masterpiece, or the ones I’ve made since this one. Most likely, I’ll use it as part of a slow cloth. That’s another art form I’ve been admiring out there in Blogland. I have fabric. I have thread. I could use a little practice in the patience department…