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.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

finished and gift-wrapped

I'd like to thank all of you for your wonderful comments on my work with rust. They have been as encouraging as the works in themselves and I feel that I have been able to establish a deeper communication with you through them. It's a lovely feeling and one that I believe is hard to find on the Internet.


This is paper #10. I decided to post it though I'm not completely sure it's finished. At any rate, what may be missing - if anything - is probably just a small dot or a little line somewhere. This is actually the very first paper I rusted, funny how I kept postponing work on it. I think it took me several days to overcome my initial awe of it. Being the first, it seemed just perfect as it was.


Short running stitches bordering some tea stains. Somehow they remind me of a stellar cloud. With a sun bursting right beside it?


Some more holes burned into the paper with an incense stick and a few more colour dots collaged on the background. This time I was smart! I figured out that burning the holes through the thick paper would be much easier if I pierced it first. Ha!


One of the things we need to work out for the December show is packaging. How will we wrap our works for the eventual buyers? I decided to use these sturdy kraft merchandise envelopes that I recently bought on Etsy, they are the perfect size. But what if people want me to gift-wrap my work for them? Should I come up with two wrapping solutions, a simple one and a Christmassy one?


That would be going too far, I thought. So I decided on a simple gift-wrapping solution. I folded a band of white kraft paper around each envelope (yes, with a few drops of glue) and taped strips of clear tape decorated with leaves on the white paper. I think they look nice, cheerful but not too fancy.

Having finished this part of the work feels good! Now for the larger sized ones. Gulp...

Saturday, 27 October 2012

paper, rust and the Old Country

I am running out of titles for my work with rust but not out of inspiration. At least I think so. This past week has been very fertile, I spent several hours a day working on my rusted papers and put aside all distractions, even the Internet. I was offline for three whole days! When I turned on the computer again my Inbox was crammed with messages that fell off the screen and scattered all over the floor. I managed to read most of them. The rest I picked up without even trying to sort them out and I am now thinking of creating some visual poetry sheets with the broken lines :)


This is paper #6, just three washer marks and scant traces of a rusty wire. I feel much more comfortable with few marks and shapes to work on from. I enjoyed discovering that my work evolved of its own accord and slowly moved towards different solutions and materials. I love being surprised by what I do.


A detail of paper #6. I'm really fond of that portion of curved line in between the seed stitches.


Another detail of the same paper. The clean background not only shows the details better but also leaves space for thought, I think.


Paper #7. At this point, I deliberately used few rusted objects and trusted the result to suggest how to go on. I hope you like this one, because it's one of my favourites.


Shredded scrim and a few french knots. I did use some acid-free glue to secure the scrim in place, I was afraid that moving the paper and probably rubbing it against the rest would eventually turn the scrim into an unseemly mess.

I used an incense stick to burn those holes into the paper, first time I tried this trick!


Paper #8 took me to yet another direction. I used white gouache on some areas and my running stitches are quite orderly. They remind me of a listed notebook page though I was not aiming for this effect -or any other specific effect either. It was one of those little surprises that delight me.



I think the white colour creates an unexpected contrast that somehow makes sense anyway.


Paper #9 and yet another novelty, the addition of some colour through the paper dots. The long vertical lines of thread are made with shreds of sack cloth.



My paper #10 is almost finished but not yet ready to post, a few minor details are still missing.

So this is my work with rust on paper so far. All pieces are 25 x 17.5 cms (10" x 7") and I think they have a title: 'Old Country'. I live in a rural area in Northeastern Spain, known for its quaint Medieval villages and traditional ways of life. Agriculture is still an important economic activity here and visiting the area is a bit like taking a trip to the past. Rust also speaks of old things so, in a way, what I have on these papers are the traces of age and the passage of time.

Our local group of artists, called 'Roots', will be holding an Art Supermarket every weekend from 6 December to 5 January. The idea is to sell small-sized artworks at an affordable price. So I thought that my series of 10 rusted papers would be just fine for the event and the title 'Old Country' is the link between these pieces and the place where I live.

I'll have to make ten larger pieces too, A3 size tops. I haven't decided yet whether they will be rusted or just painted, I need to take a couple of days off to think about it. Or rather to let the work think itself out. This is the best way to get nice results.

Let's see if anyone will be willing to pay for my rusted thingies!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

rusted paper and other adventures

I've been a bit silent, a bit absent and very busy. I hate this last part, I am not a hyperactive person and being too busy just throws me off my track. But I have also been playing quite a lot! This part I love.


I have been rusting more papers (a total of eight at the moment, oh yeah!) and working more on them. Initially I planned to only post my rusting experiments but the papers called out to me, they wanted to be taken some steps further, they wouldn't let me be! So, instead of scanning and blogging about them, I sat down at my drawing table and started playing with them.


This is a detail of the image above. I only used washers here and quite sparsely, so the simple composition suggested some kind of structuring of my space. A contrast between round and square. Broken circles and broken lines. I used pieces of thin string and applied cross stitches over some of the intersections. The small circles drawn with graphite became a recurrent element on all my papers.


Another sparsely rusted paper. Pieces of string again, a similar structuring of the space and more graphite circles. They make the washer marks look like something between flowers and machine gears.


More cross stitches over some intersections of the strings. I really think the rust stains look like flowers here.


My third and last simple composition. Enough of horizontal and vertical lines, it said, at least try to tip them a bit, woman!


And tip them I did. Little graphite circles, scattered cross stitches and a leap to the void ahead of me.


The rust stains on this paper turned out more chaotic, as you can see. I used a few newly found rusted objects and they behaved differently. Some of them almost acted like masks, they preserved the paper under them and spread their rust all around. I love that star-shaped thingy on the upper left. The grayish stains were made with green tea and the small gray splashes on the upper right side are the marks left by brewed tea leaves.

I felt it made no sense to try structuring the chaos and I decided to go along with it. Seed stitches made with gray thread, a few cross stitches, a single french knot (I wonder if anyone can find it) and three short pieces of copper wire on the lower left side.


There you have it, the single french knot. And the rust stains look so much better up close, don't they?


Seed stitches, green tea stains and what has become a fixed element in this series: the graphite circles.


The lines made with copper wire, some cross stitches, etc., etc.


Should I call this my 'musical piece'? After fixing the copper wire in place, it reminded me of a harp. The rest is also trying to respect the original chaos. Scattered french knots on the upper right side, mingled with tea stains and some graphite marks.


Not all crosses are stitches but all rust stains are beautiful. How hard it is to match this beauty!


The 'harp thingy' up close. Can you hear it better now?


Ok, I won't torment you with more pictures. This is yet another detail of my fifth paper. Three more are rusted and ready to play with me. I'd like to make two more, ten is a nice number, isn't it?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

an autumn ride

Last Friday afternoon I went for a ride with a friend, Xavi. He took me to see the very old farmhouse he bought some time ago. It's up in the mountains, about 40 kms. or an hour's ride from where I live, half of it a dirt road strewed with stones and crossed by furrows. You need to drive slowly, which you would do anyway, so you can enjoy the surrounding nature.


Autumns are mild in Spain, so there were barely any reds and yellows around. But the few we saw were so beautiful! Xavi has been working hard weeding and scrubbing his 23 hectares of land. This is the view from the front of the house.


And this is the house. Lots of work to be done here too but I think you can already tell that it will be lovely when it's finished. Up to the moment Xavi has been working more on his vegetable garden than on the building itself, he will probably start on that next spring.


Stones everywhere, a stone cutter's paradise. A very Mediterranean countryside, it reminds me of Greece.


This is the view from the north side of the house. The effects of a very dry summer are obvious, even at 1,000 mts altitude (about 3,000 feet). The vegetable garden has suffered too, since Xavi can only drive up there once a week. But we brought back home some delicious tomatoes, green cabbages and Swiss chards.


The first red leaves of autumn, subtle splashes of colour in the landscape. It was a very warm afternoon till the shadows started creeping up. Then suddenly I needed a sweater and a coat!


I am a bit ashamed to admit that I don't know what those berries are. I'm not even sure they are berries but I do know they look gorgeous against the blue sky. They made me think of Christmas.


Some of Xavi's corncobs. He was so happy to see that his vegetable garden had not gone completely to waste!


Just as we were leaving I saw this beauty standing out against the bluish evening shadows. It was a lovely trip to wildland and I can still remember the peace and calm I felt up there.

P.S. I now have six pieces of watercolour paper stained with rust, I'll blog about them soon :))

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.
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