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Queer Portraits from The Rust Belt

Countess Hexon,  


Technically rust is Hydrated Iron (III) Oxide, also known as iron oxide (Fe²O³), as it is caused when iron reacts with oxygen and water - this reaction is known as oxidizing.

This ongoing project began thanks to the GRiT Grants program from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing which was made possible by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) American Rescue Plan.  


Lustrous Bonds is a series of mixed media fiber portraits featuring the queer preforming artists that make Lansing, MI a dynamic and inspiring place for me to live and work.

The craft techniques I employ are rooted in practical needs like repairing clothing and making blankets, connecting my process to the working class/blue collar foundation of our capitol city. 

These pragmatic skills have historically been considered “women’s work” and I'm proud to bring them into the prestigious realm of portraiture in order to fuse Fine Art and Craft from my queer feminist perspective.

Countess Hexen_edited.jpg

Countess Hexon, Detail 


While the title, Lustrous Bonds, suggests my connection to the subjects of these flashy portraits the phrase actually comes from rust. Although the term “Rust Belt” is inherently pejorative, the scientific description of the transformation of iron into iron oxide is elegantly referred to as a “lustrous bond.” Iron Oxide is useful in geological processes and is even found within hemoglobin in the human body, which illustrates that from another perspective, rust is both necessary and beautiful.

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