welcome!

Whether you've reached this blog willingly or by force I'm happy to have you here.
ersi marina's workroom is always open to the public, even when I am not in. Sometimes I need to sleep.
And to paint.
And to play with my four cats.
My name is Ersi Marina and I live in Spain though I was born and grew up in Athens, Greece. I kept it all very Mediterranean.
This blog is a means to share my work and snippets of my life, as well as to be in contact with you all. I hope you'll enjoy your visit.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

trust me to rust

As some of you may know already, I have been unwell and on sick leave for days. The 'not quite being there' feeling started at the beginning of September and, since I did nothing about it, it worked its way to an anxiety disorder. I feel much better now though still a bit tired and absentminded. I asked the doctor if she could prescribe a 7-day holiday in a cute hotel near a gorgeous beach, with spa and massage treatments paid by Social Security but she explained that was not possible. I still don't understand why...

At the beginning of September I decided to do my first experiment ever on rusting cloth. Did I really know how to go about it? No, I didn't. But I went about it nevertheless.


Aware that my first experiment could well be a failure, I chose a colour-stained cotton cloth that I had used to wipe my hands after painting. You can see the light blue and green stains here and there.


I wanted to use washers but I had no rusty washers available. Searching for small rusty objects by the road and around the village had rendered poor results. Curiously, large rusty iron objects are much easier to come by. So I went to the hardware store and they actually gave me several different sized washers for free!


They explained that I could use hydrogen peroxide to rust the washers quickly but were not sure what 'quickly' meant. So I went back home, filled a jar with hydrogen peroxide, wrapped the cloth around the washers, put everything into the jar and closed the lid.


I thought I'd let the process go on for about a week but then I started feeling worse and lost track of time. Meanwhile, the jar and its contents enjoyed the sunlight on my window sill day after day. When I finally realized the cloth needed to be rescued, four weeks had gone by. A whole month!


And this was the result. A rotten cotton cloth full of holes and tears but with some gorgeous (to my eyes) rusty imprints of the washers. Oh, my! I fell in love with it. I rinsed it and soaked it in water with salt to stop the rusting process (where did I read that? Sorry, I can't remember and cannot give the credit due) and hang it to dry.

Do you remember me saying somewhere that I would like to start deconstructing my fabrics? Well, it seems that I have started already.

I still don't know what I'll do with this cloth. Put it away, cut it in pieces, join it to other pieces of cloth, embroider on it? This wonderful failure of an experiment will surely end up telling me what it needs. For the time being... I'm thrilled I have it!

24 comments:

  1. Careful with rusty fabric Ersi...it can quite addictive. My rusting frenzy started last Thanksgiving weekend and lasted until early May when I realized that something more must be done than simply rusting cottons and organza. Of course, then the joys of rusting on watercolor paper was discovered... Yes. I'm a rust junkie [as my Tumblr page is called] and I have a problem. I love rust. Ha!

    Seriously now...never heard of using hydrogen peroxide for speeding the rusting process along [must make a note to try it], but can attest to the success met with white vinegar and various teas. Of course, if you've a good rusty bit, all that's really needed is water and fabric.

    I love your first attempt. Much more interesting than my own was. Can't wait to see what your second attempt looks like. Enjoy!

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    1. Jennifer, I feel as if we were in a RAA meeting (meaning, of course, RustAholics Anonymous :))

      I've read all your blog entries on rusting fabric and they were one of my major motivations. That tunic of yours is as irresistible as chocolate! And I'm a regular furtive viewer of your Tumblr .

      I'll try the white vinegar and see if the results are different. What I'd also love to find is a rusty forged iron delicacy.

      Rusting paper is my next goal but I know even less about it than rusting fabric. Any tip would be warmly appreciated!

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    2. RAA!!! How delightful! The best advice I have to offer is to play, experiment, and follow your "what ifs". That's pretty much what I've done. Some things work. Some things don't. What works this week might or might not next week. No idea why either. Something in the atmosphere, perhaps?

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    3. Ok, your advice is sound enough! I'll play and experiment and despair over my failures and absolutely show off all my successes. Thank you, Jennifer!

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  2. i'd say...sometimes the less you know, the better the results. i love your results. patching those holes will make for an interesting design. feel better soon.

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    1. Thank you, Deanna! I think I won't dare touch that cloth till my awe of it wares away. I'd really love to make something beautiful with it. Very happy you like it!

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  3. Ah...a bit of serendipity! What a wonderful surprise! I could see doing a bit of hand stitching but I'm sure you'll know what to do when the time comes. Happy to hear that you're starting to feel a little bit better.

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    1. Yes, hand stitching on it was my first thought but, as you say, I'll wait till the time comes. I'm sure this cloth is wise enough to let me know when I can take it further :) Thank you, Julie!

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  4. The rust looks gorgeous with the blues and green on the fabric. I'm really sorry to hear you've been unwell. Anxiety is such a horrible condition. I experience it myself from time to time, particularly when I am over-tired. I hope your doctor is sympathetic and helpful. Take care, xx.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! I was over-tired too, tried to be a heroe and finally paid the price. I had to drag my feet to the doctor's when I felt I would faint in the middle of the street. I'm much better now and ready to rust away my whole wardrobe :))

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  5. What fun you'll have rusting your whole wardrobe, Ersi! I think your experiment was a great success and I just know you'll do something beautiful with your cloth.

    I've been a sufferer of anxiety too, and it can be really frightening. I do hope you are recovering and looking after yourself.

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    1. I appreciate your faith in my experiments, Carol, thanks :) My poor clothes shut themselves in the wardrobe and absolutely refuse to open the door unless I promise I won't rust them! We're still negotiating...

      I think I am fully recovered now. I went to work this morning (I run an Exhibition Hall during the weekends) and felt ok. I hope this anxiety problem will not become chronic.

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  6. Kimberly Baxter Packwood ( a real rust guru) advises soaking rusted cloth in baking soda and water to neutralize it. Won't stop or remove all of the action, but does help better than salt which can be caustic also!
    Really like your first experiments, Ersi :)Holes and all!

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    1. Hi, thank you so much! I'll look Kimberly up and see what goodies she offers, and I'll use baking soda next time (that will probably be on Monday).

      I'm so pleased you like my experiment :)))

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  7. very very pretty! thank you for sharing the "adventure" so that I can try it too!~ and glad you are feeling better :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm looking forward to your experiments with rust :)

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  8. Your cloth looks great and the mix of colours already on there makes t even more interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Alice! I look and look at it trying to find a way to go on from there. I hope I won't make any hasty decisions...

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  9. Oh Ersi - I love this story of serendipity and I also love the results. I hope things are on the up and up for you no and that you find much happiness in the word of rusting - so many of us do!

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    1. Hi, Fiona! Welcome to the RAA meeting (RustAholics Anonymous, in case you're wondering). Experimenting blindly, with almost no information on the materials I'm about to use, is a bit frightening to me. Yet in this case the combination of eagerness, absentmindedness and curiosity had wonderful results on the cloth and on me! I'm happy you like them, thanks!

      More rusty endeavours in my next entry, that's in the making as we speak :)

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  10. What a wonderful exploration of the rusting process. It looks as though you're having fun...and there's nothing like trying something new and uncovering exciting results. Enjoy the process...I look forward to seeing where it leads!

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  11. I am having great fun and the feeling of falling in love every day! This is more than enough to keep me going. I am delighted you like my experiments, thank you!

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  12. ersi..I LOVE your site and thanks for the info on rusting on paper!! I have rusted fabric and loved the results but never on paper, I am excited to try it now. I send well-wishes for your health and believe our minds a more powerful tool than we can ever imagine....quite literally we are what we think. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work.

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    1. Hello Susan! I do thank you for your lovely comment and for dropping in. As you can see, I am a complete newbie in rusting but the experience is so interesting and exciting that I want more and more. It's great to know that my experiments can help you a bit and I hope you'll decide to share your results online too. Have a wonderful weekend!

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