Artist Smokes Feathers Onto Ceramics

I came across this on Facebook today, and thought it was a really gorgeous way of decorating a piece. I’m not sure if there’s a way to do this in the MakeICT ceramics studio or not, since it generates considerable smoke, but perhaps there would be a way to do an inexpensive vent hood or something, since the studio is next to two outside walls and has a window. At any rate, it is well worth a look.

This link is to a Facebook video that shows the technique. Or you can cut and paste the following into your browser:

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I saw that too and posted it to our FB. I thought it was really cool. I also have a collection of rust if anyone wants to glaze with it. We could also save the water from rusting the Keepers.

The water from rusting the keepers may have too much salt for certain uses. Plain rust (or iron) dissolved into vinegar is Wikipedia article on ferric acetate, or basic iron acetate, which can be very useful as a dye and as a mordant.

It can be used as a dye on any natural fiber, wool, cotton, linen, and silk all work well. So does wood, it can be used to make lighter wood more red, or almost black. When used as a mordant, it will alter certain dyes colors, but mostly makes temporary dyes more permanent. When used as a mordant it may benefit from having table salt in it.

If we collected the rusty water from the keepers, it can be simmered to concentrate and filtered and stored for a long time, since it is an inorganic material it will not spoil or fade in storage and does not react with plastic containers.


I thought they were using vinegar? Maybe @paul.maseberg or @JeremiahB can shed some light on this? I took some home and did just that and put cotton wood leaves in it to make prints, but haven’t used them yet.

If I remember correctly they were adding salt, pepper, and some kind of vegetable oil to the vinegar. Maybe that was something else altogether, my memory works funny when I am hungry.

Mike B

Malissa - the rust solution we gave you was from the cleaning stage and it comes from just iron being in vinegar.

FYI: We rust the keepers later with H2O2, vinegar, and salt but there is run off that we save.

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The plain vinegar bath is what we use to clean the keepers. That is what Malissa took home. There is no leftovers when rusting, as it is sprayed on and rinsed off.

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On a side note this technique is usually used in raku. Feathers or horse hair are used to create awesome designs.

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