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Rust Dyeing

Textile artist Jean M. Judd has just started experimenting in November of 2009 with using rust as a medium for pigmenting and dyeing some of her own fabric to make into textile artwork for exhibition and commission pieces.This process is being used in some of her environmental artworks including the Contaminated Water series as well as the Rusted Lace series. These are just a few samples of the yardage she is creating with this new process. There will be more images added as the experimentation continues.

Rust Dyeing Process -- Inprint #3, Jean M. Judd

As the rust dyed fabric is transformed into finished textile artwork, these pieces will appear under the Gallery page in the Designing with Rust subpage. Please check back frequently for more samples and to see the finished artwork which will be available for purchase in 2010.

Rust Dyeing experiment #2, Jean M. JuddThis piece has been completed into a small wall art piece and is titled Rusted Grapes. You can see the piece on the Designing with Rust page.

                   Rust Dyeing Experiment #2, November 2009

Rust Dyeing Experiment #3, Jean M. Judd

                        Rust Dyeing Experiment #3, November 2009

The process is not quick, but it does lend itself to some very interesting designs. The ones above are representational images using one piece of architectural ironwork. Future experiments will hopefully produce more abstract designs. "Rust Dyeing" really isn't dyeing, but pigment application with rust being the catalyst. A mordant, or fixative process, is used to stop the rusting process so that the fabric isn't eventually eaten away by the remaining metalized pieces. Many artists either forget this step or don't know about it and proceed to have fabrics that start to develop holes where the rusting has taken place.

Rusty Dyeing #4 (1920s car parts), Jean M. JuddSome of the things I've been using in the process include architectural ironwork, rusted car parts including a radiator shell from a 1920-1930s vehicle, a clutch plate from a tractor, and other found items that had rust already forming.                                                                                                   As the rusted iron is used, the images become more distinct with each application of rust pigment. The excitement of seeing how each piece transforms as the rusting occurs is what makes this process so interesting.                                                                             Parts of the process can be controlled, but much of it is beyond the artist's influence and the application of pigment takes on a life of its own.

                          Rust Dyeing Experiment #4, November 2009