Sunday, September 16, 2007

rust staining workshop

We had a BLAST yesterday, even taking into account a mis-count of the number of students. It was a perfect, beautiful Mississippi day for it too. Mid-80s and sunny as all get out. It was nice under the trees though. I did a little show and tell with different methods I've used on my own fabrics, then some technical information about different ways to make stuff rust and how to neutralize and process the fabric afterwards, how to get different effects and add more layers of design. Then the fun began! We got out the fabric and the rusty items. Lordie, Lordie did they bring some great rusty stuff to play with too! Some wonderfully intricate pieces and some really great things like drill bits and old garden tools, along with the requisite rusty nails and bolts. We didn't even have to get into the meager supply of my own in-case-of-emergency rust. We tried white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a mixture of both, and some we weren't even sure what we were using. My motto was "try it!" so we did. It turned out that some of the pieces were the ones that stain immediately, so there was a lot of instant gratification as we laid the pieces out and wrapped them up. The timing was pretty good too since we finished wrapping the fabric and got it laid out in the sun to cook about the time we broke for lunch. It gave us a few minutes to sit down and visit (and cool off) before we ate. Lori laid out a veritable feast for us too. We did a little go-around during lunch introducing ourselves, and it turns out I was completely surrounded by "real" artists and BFAs and art professors! I spent about 5 minutes being really intimidated until it occurred to me that this is how they become real artists! By learning and sharing and doing and pushing the limits of technique and doing lots and lots of what-happens-if-I-do-this experimentation. It didn't matter if I have a BFA because I know how to do rust staining and I'm willing to teach them!

The afternoon was taken up with gelatin plate monoprinting. We did that inside and had more fun than should be legal on a Saturday. I demonstrated about three or four pulls and off they went! I wish I had been able to get pictures of us working and some of the final prints, but my camera would have wound up covered in paint if I had, so I'll have to just tell you how incredible some of the pieces were. Lots of foam stamps, leaves, a wooden cross, I don't even know what all, were used as imprints and resists. It took about 2 minutes for them to get REALLY creative with the positive/negative/direct methods too. We only had about 2.5 hours to work with the plates, but they all left saying they were making a stop at the grocery on the way home to buy gelatin. I just LOVE when students actually want to use the techniques more than just class samples.

The last item on the agenda was to go unwrap the rust and see how much progress it had made. A lot in some cases, very little in others. We corrected some problems and I gave some tips for finishing it up at home, but all in all, they looked good for the first 4 hours. Some looked absolutely incredible already, including Lori's curtains that were wrapped on the frames of old car seats. Those are going to be VERY impressive when finished.
A beautiful piece gifted to me by the hostess, Lori Felix and trust me, the photography on her website is MUCH better than the shot I took of my own piece. Her colors are so rich and deep, and they don't show very well in my photo. Go look at her work if you get a chance. It's beautiful. Or buy some if the spirit moves you!

1 comment:

dinahmow said...
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