Metal Acetates

Iron oxide and iron acetate pigments

For private commissions I have been developing ways in which to transform metal into colour. Leaving metal to rust in solutions (of various ratios of) water, acetic acid, and handmade vinegars catalyses the rusting process that would naturally occur in non-museum conditions to create a range of yellow, red and brown pigments. This simple human intervention catalysis oxidation and corrosion processes that could be seen to mimic the natural erosion and oxidisation of metals. In Greater London, for example, the mineral pyrite (that contains iron) can be found distributed in the geological layer of 'London Clay', it stains the mud orange in many locations. Some of these solutions are can also be used in natural dyeing processes as metal mordants to help ‘fix’ natural dyes to the textile fibres.

A selection of copper acetate solutions, used as precursor solutions for pigment making.

London Pigment colour chart 2019: The two bottom green tones are copper acetate pigments. Epping Forest I and II are a mix of iron oxide and iron acetate, No. II has been heat treated to create a darker shade.