Thursday, March 1, 2012


How often do we hear during the latest fashion season that a certain colour is 'the new black'?  Well, in my book there are trends in art too, and 'rust' is the new black.  So many artists use rust in their work... rusted metal, rust-dyed fabric, rust on paper.

In my travels around the net I have come across some stunning work using rust.  Perhaps you'd like to see some too....

Of course many people use the rusty metal to make sculptures like these:
Daniella Woolf uses rust on lots of her work but I particularly like this wire sculpture, a collaboration with Lynda Watson ...

Love Child 1, 2008
Steel Wire
24" x 24" x 48"

... and Barry Smith, who makes outdoor sculptures for small spaces (as well as HEAPS of other fabulous stuff).  Don't you just love the way this piece frames the view?

... and particluarly my mate Kim Schoenberger who always seems to crop up when I'm admiring other artists' work....  ( I just love her small works... there's always a place for just ONE more)...

The Squeeze 2011 - H18cm x W 16cm x D 5.5cm

But, what about people who dye fabric with rust?.... like LuAnn Kessi who uses her exquisite pieces for quilts...

Noela Mills makes extraordinary fabric books, among her many talents.
rust dyed and shellaced satin book.
.. and I really like the people who add rust to paper for their art.  This work I found on Flickr  by Moo2Me.  I can find no other information on this artist...sorry... but the work certainly has a voice of its own.

Rust Print, on gesso on paper, 2009

Chris Drury is an English artist using rust...
Chris Drury (b. 1948)
High Desert Wind, 2004
Map of the Leh area of Ladakh
Inkjet print over a pattern from a diagram of a cross-section of the human heart, rust on paper
54-1/3” x 40-15/16”
In fact there's a whole website dedicated to  RUST PAINTING.

One of the painters that can be seen there is Sean Healy

Waiting On The Sea - Sean Healy

It's all so inspiring that I've decided to give it a go too.

Here are my potential dyeing materials....

Interesting how I arranged that... only just noticed how artistic it is.

...and the results on a textured white pillowcase I bought for 50c at a yard sale.

Lots of stuff for collaging ....yippee !!... and the back of the pillowcase is just as good. You'll see bits of this iin some work soon.... well, sometime in the future.

There's lots of info about rust dying HERE where there is also a warning !!! Wear a mask and gloves when dealing with natural rust: "Iron in this form wants to bind with your hemoglobin blocking all available sites for oxygen, .... You can become gravely ill from too much contact with raw iron products"


...AND, while I have you here... am still looking for another 'Pay It Forward' participant. Robyn, has a mini-collage ATC on the way, and Mieke a handmade pendant.  See previous post.


  1. Oh how I love rust! I used to cling tightly to the few pieces of rusted fabric I had, I love rust in collage and mixed media~~I think it adds an earthiness to work, bringing it into the real world in a unique way.
    Lovely post!


  2. Definitely Jo!! Rust is wonderful and you have showcased some amazing artists!! Wow!!

  3. Some very interesting pieces, amazing what you can do with old iron stuff.

  4. Wonderful and inspirational! I'll have to dig around in the garage and see what interesting rusty things I can find to play with. I love the photo of your goodies, and the pillowcase looks really cool! :)

  5. Hi JM - looks like you had fun with the rust - so much so it looks like we other rusts might not see quite as much rust material coming our way any more. Thanks for the shout out. Haven't seen in you in a long while - hope our paths cross in the near future. Go well. B

  6. Thanks for sharing these, Jo, I love them all with "Love Child I" a personal favorite.

  7. These are true art. Thanks for sharing these photos. I love the color of rust, even though rusty things are not part of my materials store, I have to say it's always intriguing. And this reminded me of the dress on the red carpet on Sunday, that was black with rust beadwork and embroidery, and those two colors (I call black a color!) are so great together.

  8. When i saw the title of your post I rushed over. Another rust fanatic here! I had no idea about the oxygen blocking agent. Thanks for the warning. Great images!

  9. I love rusty doodads, mostly to photograph! Your collection shows how pervasive it is throughout all types of art. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. I too love rust and rusty stuff.. and have created my own rust prints from objects onto paper.. I recognize many of the artist you feature here..very good artists.

  11. Rust lover here too! VERY informative! On the Rust Painting site I found Esther Solandz who, amazingly, does portraits with rust. Also Jane Allen Nodine uses rust printing in her encaustic work. Thanks Jo!

  12. oh my gosh this is so cool, what an inspiration you are!

  13. I am head over heels for this blog post. I love, love rust. I rust both fabric and paper, but I don't seem to have the "good" rust that you have. I am very impressed with your pillowcase.

    I'm also very glad you explained about the hemoglobin. So many people think you can just throw a bunch of rusty pieces in a bucket, then take them out with NO consequences. When I post about rust, I always let people know the dangers of the rust. Thanks for sharing this awesome rusty bit of inspiration.

  14. Your rusty post speaks to me Jo!

    I have been a fan of rust for a long time now...maybe it was growing up with a military dad who worked tirelessly to keep metal from rusting ... I find it has such depth and charm

    your pillow slip is fantastic...what a great piece it is...I tried my hand at fabric rusting a couple of I must use some of the pieces :) fun to just look at them so far

    * Rust Never Sleeps *


  15. It looks like moo2me has an etsy shop. I'm pretty sure it's the same person as they list themselves as a printmaker working with discarded objects. I was so in love with the picture you posted ("Flow" by moo2me) that I did a google image search to track down the artist! Thanks for posting about rust dyeing, this has really grabbed my creative attention!