What is rebar? It’s currently my favorite art making material, and several people have asked me what it is.
Rebar is a steel building material that is used to reinforce concrete and cinder block walls. It rusts easily, and leaves interesting marks when placed on canvas because of the diagonal ridges on the rods. Here’s what it looks like.
Rebar creates a wide variety of rust marks that are sometimes faint and sketchy and other times densely solid, with all sorts of marks in between. The contrast between the strength of rebar and the delicacy of the lacy marks that it leaves is fascinating. And rust is a natural material — how cool is that? No synthetic pigments, plastic or petrochemicals required to make this art.
Each rebar rust piece is developed in layers. I place the rebar on wet canvas and let it sit for several days to rust. Then I move the rebar rods to different locations on the canvas and allow it to rust again. This process continues until the canvas has developed an intricate web of overlapping rust lines.
I like the rich monotone patina of the rust color and the aesthetic of using only lines for this work. I leave the wrinkles and creases in when I stretch the rusted canvas which adds to the texture.
Here’s my most recent rebar piece. Click on the images below to see it larger in a browser.
“Crossfire,” 48 x 36 inches, iron oxide on canvas
Beautiful, isn’t it?
I have another show coming up this weekend, if you’re in the Ventura area.
Focus on the Masters Gift Show
Saturday, November 23rd, 11am – 5pm and
Sunday, November 24th, 12pm – 4pm
Museum of Ventura County
100 E. Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001
And if you’re not in Ventura, all of my holiday gift items are available on my website.
Where’s your cutting edge? What are you working on that pushes the envelope of what’s come before? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,
Cassandra – your imaginative use of the ordinary materials that surround us is a continual dight and inspiration! I love rolling leaves and watercolor around rusted cans (then simmering) to make botanical prints – and now, I HAVE to try using rusted rebar as dowels! And perhaps “pre-rusting” some paper to make prints on, as well. Thanks for sharing – I live rusty things, and those colors – your rust “paintings” are gorgeous.
Hi Charisse. Yes, I’d love to see how the rebar works as a dowel. Send pictures when you try it out. The rust is pretty amazing! Thanks for sharing your ideas and thoughts.
Hello Cassandra, you clever girl you! I use rust on silk and paper in my eco dying endeavors and love the effects it gives…I am also an artist but neve thought of using it that way. thanks for the inspiration. blessings colleen clark Gold Coast Australia
Hi Coleen. Yes, the rebar gives amazing marks, and there are lots of other interesting rusty objects as well. I’m sure you’ve found many of them yourself! What are you using for rust?