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.

Monday, 1 October 2012

and now... rusting paper

Blogging from Rustland, a wondrous territory bathed in golden light and covered with red, brown and orange patches of soil.

My very first experiment at rusting paper. Please understand that I'm a bit in love with it, not because it's perfect but because I actually got some rust stains on the paper! Wow, that was magic!

Of course I knew nothing about the process, so I improvised all the way. Thanks, Jennifer, for encouraging me. I took a piece of watercolour paper and stared at it for a while. (Note to beginners: the staring stage does not necessarily render results, unless you have laserbeam vision.)

While staring, I was wondering how long it would take for the rust to stain the paper and how to keep the paper wet throughout the process. Because it seemed logical that I should do so. If the paper dried, after all, the rusting process would stop. Or would it?

I laid the paper in a shallow plastic tray and added some water. I placed some rusty washers and a few unidentified objects on the paper, placed a plastic cutting board on them and weighed the lot down with an oven tray made of clay, that I also filled with water so it would weigh even more.

Who's laughing? I heard that!

These beautiful washers are the same ones I used to rust my cloth. I left the compound in the kitchen and dropped in every couple of hours or so to see how it was doing. It was doing very little. So I moved everything to another room and closed the door, to avoid spontaneous artistic contributions from my cats.

I don't know what these pin-like creatures are. I found them on the ground, next to a nearby workshop, but there was no one around to ask. I just picked them up and took them home, whimsical iron sprouts from Rustland.

I let the rusting process go on for almost 22 hours. Then I removed the oven tray and the cutting board, and lovingly picked up the rusty objects, ooohing and aaahing to myself all the time. While the paper was still wet I decided to add a few tea stains on it. They gave way to yet another wonderful discovery: where they interacted with the rust, they changed its colour from brownish to gray. I love that!

Unfortunately (or not), at this point I was too impatient to wait for the paper to dry, so I took it out to the sun. It dried in less than half an hour but the tea stains became stronger and their edges are less blurry that I would like them to be. I guess because they dried so quickly and had no time to spread out on the wet surface.

But. I am mesmerized by the results and there will definitely be more rusting in Rustland.


  1. Part of me wants to be very dignified and say what lovely results you got on this first attempt to rust on paper. Then there's the flip side that wants to yell "You go girl!" while doing the fist pump of triumph in the air.

    If you really want to have fun with the colors of rust, try dribbling a bit of green tea on and around the rusty bits. It's magical.

    Don't be afraid to get the paper wet...especially if your watercolor paper is thick. I've put a full sheet [20 x 30 inches] strewn with rusty bits and the occasional tea bag outside in the rain for hours before and have great results too.

    More please!

    1. Jennifer, I deeply appreciate your dignified reply but I'll stick with the flippy one :)) Thank you!

      Green tea on the rusty bits -will commence in a short while.

      The watercolour paper I use is quite thick and my first attempt is none the worse after soaking for almost a full day. My only question is: How can anyone not be a RustAholic?

    2. "How can anyone not be a RustAholic?"

      I have no idea.

  2. Looks like you've been having great fun ersi. Look forward to seeing more!

    1. Thanks, Helen! I wish the process were quicker, so I could produce tens of rusted papers in a day. I'll post more soon.

  3. Love this beautiful bit of rusty paper. Very sensitive like a watercolor painting.

    1. Thank you, Julie! The temptation to add some watercolour is strong, I think I will at least give it a try.

  4. this is beautiful... i am mesmerized too! the rusty sprouts are fantastic...
    i can see you rusting spots on threads and then weaving with them... how pretty would that be?
    have a great time experimenting - those are perhaps some of the most thrilling parts of the experience...

    1. Rusting spots on threads! Thank you for the wonderful idea! Now I need to experiment with creating 40-hour days, so I can play and explore longer :)

  5. Can't wait to see the next attempt. I love the results you're getting. Almost tempted to have a go myself

    1. I wish you did have a go, you would come up with the loveliest results! Thanks for dropping in and commenting :)

  6. wonderful experiments Ersi and such amazing results, very unique surfaces.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen! A staining/embroidering project is in the making :)

  7. I too,
    am a rustaholic
    I have no intention
    of recovering
    cotter pins,
    heating grates,
    ceiling tiles,
    tractor tire rims,

    and wine...

    it's a wonderful life,
    xox - eb.

    1. Hello, Elizabeth! I follow your blog and view your rusty creations with awe. Please never recover from your rustaholism, the RAA group needs no cure!

      So, are those mysterious objects cotter pins? Thanks for the tip and for dropping in!

  8. ooh *dances with excitement* i'm gonna try this!!!.... and with green tea... fab... coffee.... excellent... will skip over to everyone elses blog too :-)

    1. Hello and thank you! You'll have lots of fun with this, I am looking forward to the results. Our RAA (RustAholics Anonymous) group is on a roll!

  9. Hi Ersi- you have seriously crossed over to the rust-luster side now! It's mesmerising isn't it? The wonder of how it happens; the serendipity of the results; the warmth of the colours - so much to explore! Thanks for sharing your journey and your joy, go well

    1. It is really me who must thank you, Fiona, because your work with rust has been a great inspiration for me. I am now seriously addicted and rust-lusting shamelessly. I'll blog about my new experiments soon :)


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