Traces of Beauty: Rust Prints

04/17/2021 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET



Rust printing is a fun and unique way of mark making that utilizes steel and iron objects to create images on paper or cloth. Students will mostly be using found objects, which inherently bring their own history and meaning to compositions. Also, students will learn how the natural iron oxide color found in rust can be altered utilizing natural plant colorants, magically before your eyes. Rust prints lend themseles perfectly to further alterations and can be used for book arts, quilting, and mixed media applications. Along with lots of fun and the knowledge to create their own rust mono-prints, students will take away the knowledge of setting up a mobile, all-weather rust printing station.

Since Rust Printing is a very long, involved process that may take days to see results, this class is more of a bootcamp on the processes and possibilities. Your instructor will be presenting her research and images of her experiments, her indoor and outdoor set up, demoing the process, and revealing some pieces she has prepped and ready to show the class. This class will cover in great detail how iron oxide is used as a mordent thus affecting the colors of natural colorants for applications in dyeing yarn, fabric, and how it can be applied to printmaking for mono-prints. 

Since the students will not be seeing immediate results, your instructor invites participants to remain in contact with her for assistance after the class. Ages 18 and up, children 10 and up may join with adult supervision.

Supplies for when testing this out at home:

  • Metals - the flatter the surface of the metal the more contact it will have with your substrate, however you can wrap fabric or cast paper pulp around shapes and thicker pieces of metal 
    • Cast iron: architecutral elements, radiator pipes, etc.
    • Mild or Tool steel: farm implements, saw blades, gears, custom designs, etc.
  • Paper - 
    • A cotton rag like RIVES BFK 
    • Fibrous Japanese paper (must be treated more delicately than the thicker cotton rag papers)
  • Fabric - 
    • 100% natural fabrics (cotton, wool, silk, bambook, linen, etc.) are recommended
    • Synthetics such as polyesters and even plastucs can be rusted directly onto
  • Vinegar (mixed 50/50 or 75/25 ratio with water) 
  • Spray bottles
  • Assortment of natural colorants
  • Mixed media art supplies

When not able to work outside your Instructor suggests these additional supplies for indoor working:

  • Drop cloth, tarp, or plastic sheeting
  • Worktable or open floor space
  • Cement mixing tub or plastic tote
  • Heat lamp
  • Extension cord
  • Plastic Ziploc bags