Friday, June 22, 2012

Dust to Dust

I am often asked, "Will it rust?"  or sometimes even, will I guarantee it "not to rust?"  I always laugh and quote from the "Sermon on the Mount".  "I will guarantee that it WILL RUST" I say, it is the only quote from the Bible I know (and "don't build your house on shifting sands!").  Rust is not a good thing for the steel girders supporting our bridges but it garden art and entry gates it is part of the charm.  The patina of rust is often the color I am after.  I can hasten this process with muriatic acid (used to adjust the PH  in a swimming pool), or any salad vinegar, balsamic is nice!
   Wrought iron is traditionally black because in the "olden days", or yesterday if I get my forge out, a blacksmith ("black because we get very dirty, it is not a racial thing) would apply beeswax to the hot iron which would turn it black and provide some protection from the elements.  Black is a great hider of rust and it is easy to "touch up" when rust does appear.  A part of the charm of really old metal work is that is has several layers of paint.  I have seen it a half an inch thick in my European traveling days.
    I have learned over the years that for a show, a presentation of my work, I cannot have plain unprotected rust on display.  Although I have never actually seen someone in white kid gloves examine my pieces, some people appear as though that is what they are doing.  So before the main event I apply a thin layer of whatever I may have of something clear to cover the rust.  This could be a "Rustoleum" product, a clear protective enamel, some kind of exterior lacquer or a linseed oil wipe down. There are lots of products available and all will give a temporary clean cover to the steel.  The rust turns every shade of golden and I get that depth, color and contrast that I am after.  Will it last?  of course not.  It is a clean shininess offered to aid in impulse buying.  You could reapply the finish every Spring or before major events or you could just let it be and accept that it is pretty and maintains itself just fine.

   I still have a couple of weeks before this Art show opens but I think I am done with the big projects for now.  I have two small truck loads!  An arbor, of course, a gate, some trellis's, some tables, some pedestals, and just some weird stuff.  Now I am polishing and purposefully rusting what I have made and then I will seal it.  I am making "small stuff" now, the dragons and butterfly kind of things that one expects to see in a garden show.

1 comment:

SooZeQue said...

You are certainly on a creative streak and I'm sure loving every moment of it. I'm like dead over here!!! Love all the whimsical easel holders!