Iron Oxide for the Arts


Iron Oxide for the Arts Collaborative 2011

See pictures of ALL 25 of our 2011 art pieces using iron oxide!

The Evergreen Conservancy in conjunction with the Indiana Arts Council invited artists to use recovered iron oxide in their art for a joint fundraiser in the fall of 2011! This partnership intended to raise awareness and funds for the environment through recycled art.  Evergreen supplied artists with the natural pigment from the Tanoma Abandoned Mine treatment system. Artists were encouraged to donate a piece of artwork to Evergreen created with the iron. The artist’s involvement goes further than simple support – they are helping keep streams clean and making art accessible to everyone throughout Indiana County! Here’s why:

Why do we have so much iron, anyway?

Evergreen Conservancy owns a 10-acre Abandoned Mine Discharge (AMD) site and Outdoor Environmental Classroom called Tanoma AMD Wetlands. Located near Clymer in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, this system passively cleans the water seeping to the surface from 3 old mine pools. AMD is a form of water pollution usually caused by abandoned coal mines. When the mines shut down, they fill up with water which dissolves
pyrite, a mineral comprised of sulfur and iron found among the coal. When that water reaches the surface, the sulfur turns into sulfuric acid or gases off, creating a rotting egg smell. The iron rusts and leaves a film of iron oxide on the streambed which greatly impairs stream life. The series of wetlands ponds at Tanoma collect this iron before it reaches the stream.  In total, this  system prevents 23 tons of iron per year from going into a local creek.

How do you extract the iron?

1.) Iron oxide “sludge” is collected from our Tanoma AMD discharge using a small screen.

2.) The sludge is left on a screen to dry.

3.) The powder is broken up and sifted/grinded or left rough.

4.) The finished product is sorted and packed by weight to be used in projects or shipped  to other groups interested in using recovered iron oxide pigment.

5.) The dried pigment was tested to be safe for use.

Why should we use this iron?

Every amount of iron used is prevented from entering and polluting our waterways. This iron oxide pigment is interchangeable with other iron oxide pigments, which must otherwise be mined or produced synthetically. Use of our iron promotes environmental stewardship and creative use of our natural resources. If you use our iron oxide in your
art you will be using a recycled resource and supporting Evergreen Conservancy in their mission.

Several ways artists have used our iron:

Pottery glazes/clay bodies, PhotographyDying wool, Glass-blowing, Paint, Fabrics,    Multi media


Contact us and we can give you some. If you would like to donate a piece of your art work back to Evergreen Conservancy to help with our fundraising efforts we would offer it for sale with our other items at what ever worth you place on the item. That helps us raise money to carry on our free environmental education programs and other projects.


Support Evergreen Conservancy in their efforts to
protect and preserve our natural resources.

Want more information? Contact us:

Cindy Rogers: Evergreen Conservancy President


See pictures of all our 2011 art pieces using iron oxide!