April 26, 2017

Rusty Results

Waiting a week to unwrap the rusty bundles would have been overkill. After 6 hours in the bin, they looked like this (seen from the bottom of the bin, it has a green top).
The rust had migrated to the bottoms of the bundles only, so I flipped all but the most saturated over and put 'em back in the bin. The most saturated, rustiest bundle looked like this after a quick swish in soapy water and rinse under the tap.
After an additional 3 hours, I unwrapped the rest of the bundles. Despite some small chunks flaking off, the rusty bits appear to have plenty of life left in them for more dyeing.
While washing and rinsing, the gauze squares began to take on new forms. They unfolded, the loose weave pulled apart, some became no more than a collection of threads. I kinda like it. 
I have no solid plans for these dyed gauze squares (4x4 inch, 8-ply, 100% cotton, non-sterile gauze sponges - yes, they are straight out of a package of first aid bandages). BUT. The wheels are turning. To be sure. More experimentation and play is bound to lead to something juicy. Mend is the word that sticks in my head, the impetus that led to working with first aid gauze. I did silkscreen bandages ages ago for a project about vanity, body "perfection," and botched plastic surgery. Raiding the first aid kit isn't entirely new to me, but starting from mend as the generative concept is new. I'm captivated by the rust dye and the degradation of the gauze, and eager and excited to see where mend and these materials lead.

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