Dry Dye and the Coffeepot

 

New experiments:  Shirts folded dry, slightly damped, a mix of dry dye and soda ash applied, placed on an inclined rack in the sink, and drenched with boiling water (The Coffeepot Method) allowed to cool and washed out.  Dyes used were Custom Colors fuschia, yellow, blue, and black.

Conclusions:  No so sure yet I like this.  Maybe because I did not use enough dry dye.  Color saturation is not what I would like for it to be and I am not sure about whether or not the colors will fade with washing, although they were put through a cold wash after rinsing.  Some people soak in white vinegar afterward to help set the colors. I may try it and see what I think.

I like liquid dyes with urea for deep, saturated colors but they don’t break and blend the way dry dyes do.  The breaking allows for watercolor effects and are always a surprise.  The Geode shirt is from black dye breaking into blue. the DNA was done with three primary colors and is a good example of how dry dyes break and blend.

Hmmmmm. . . . ponder, ponder, ponder. . . .

Left to right; Pink Geodes is Fruit of the Loom adult 3 X, DNA is the same, Flowerfold is 2x.  $35, free shipping.  Holler if you want one.

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More Experimental Dyes

 

These were experiments on several different levels:

  1.  Primary colors from Custom Colors; Yellow #104, Turquoise # 417, and Scarlet #218.  I like to mix my own colors, often on the garment itself, and I wanted to see how these three would act together.  I think in the future I may swap fuchsia for scarlet if I am using turquoise in the mix because I think it would make a better purple and the colors would work better together.  I like the scarlet but I think I will pair it with a darker blue next time.
  2. FWIW, I am not fond of spirals centered in the middle of the chest.  It reminds me too much of target practice, so I like to offset mine.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.  The spoked looking fanfold is a new one I learned.  I want to do more of them
  3. I have most often used liquid dyes on a presoaked shirt.  This time the shirts were just dampened for easier folding.  I mixed soda ash to dry powder in a 2:1 ratio and applied it dry on top of the shirt.  I used a plastic spoon to apply the dye and did not have as much control as I liked.  Other dyers us syringes and paint brushes with dry dyes.  I might try that in the future.
  4. I dumped ice on top of everything after putting them on racks and into plastic containers.  Then they cooked in my solar oven for a couple of days.  It was cool and rainy and took longer to heat up than usual.  Then the ice melted, overflowed the containers, and the solar oven peed all over the driveway and garage.  It is time for new containers anyway.  Mine are old and cracking and my racks are rusting.

I am not so sure it I am going to continue with this technique or not.  I like mixing SA with dry dye and not needing urea.  Mixing my own colors works better with liquid dye than with dry, but who knows where I will go with that.  The CC dyes are bright and vivid and  work well.  They are a company near where I live.  Dave, the guy who runs it, is great to work with, and shipping is free for orders over $35 if I don’t have the time to drive for 2 hours to get there.  My orders usually arrive the next day, two days at the very latest.

Just last night I learned of a new techniques involving dry dye, hot water, and aquarium pumps.  The results I have seen on-line are gorgeous and they say you can finish a shirt in 2 hours instead of 2 days.  I am itching to try it.  It’s too bad I have to do things like clean up after myself and eat or I would have already been out in the studio playing with it.

These shirts are adult sized mediums by Fruit of the Loom.  If anyone would like one send me a message.

 

 

Tie Dye Zen

tiedyezen

Tie dye is a good metaphor for my life.  I think I can control it, but I can’t.  Not really.  I try, but it does its own thing.  I can fold and tie garments to create certain patterns, vary colors and thickness of the dye, and attempt to create what I see in my head.  Nope.  It rarely happens.  The dye will travel on the damp cloth to unexpected places, colors will blend and break at odd times.  The final product is always a surprise.   I have found that people and life events act much the same way.

If you are of a meditative frame of mind, tie-dye is a good exercise in letting go.  When I am on the cushion watching my breath I never know what is going to come up and what I am going to have to face just as I never really know how my tie-dye will turn out.  I often start out with a shirt and an expectation of the finished product. I often enter into a meditation session expecting/ wanting a certain outcome.

I plop my butt on my cushion, set the timer, and settle in and hope to come out of my session a little bit closer to enlightenment.   Most often I end the session with numb feet as memories and emotions surface and the monkey mind chatters away.  I focus on my breathing, counting breaths, and suddenly discover I have lost count.  I start over and over and over.  Sometimes I end the session crying, other times laughing, often merely relieved that I got through it.

Dying can be like that.  The studio in the garage can be uncomfortably hot and dying is a messy proposition anyway.  I fold and tie a shirt, plop it on the rack over the sink, pick up a bottle of dye and apply it.  Sometimes my hand shakes, sometimes the dye comes out of the bottle too fast or not fast enough, sometimes I am distracted by other things and put the dye in the wrong place or pick up the bottle of dark blue when I wanted black.  I prep a certain number of garments to dye in one session and I set a timer for the number of minutes I want to meditate.  There are days when I get to the end of the stack and am happy it is over because the dye, like my thoughts, was not doing what I wanted it to do.

Just as the effects of meditation will carry over once your session has ended, dyed garments have to “cook” for a while in order for the dye to bind with the fibers.  After the “cooking” period the garments are washed out to remove excess dye. Life events can “washout” the endorphins produced by the meditative state.  Dying creates permanent changes to a garment and regular meditation creates permanent changes to the brain.  Both processes are sloppy and messy and emotional.

The chaos in a dye studio is not obvious to someone buying a shirt at a festival and the chaos of meditation is not obvious to someone who is not on the cushion.  Colorful garments flapping in the breeze do not seem to have anything in common with a blank-faced someone sitting still.

But the process is the same.  I have to let go of my expectations of what the combination of dye and fiber will do as I have to let go of the emotions and memories that surface when I sit and my expectations of what life will bring me.  There is peace in that. Giving up the constant need to control what is happening, whether it be in dying or human interactions creates enormous freedom and makes room for boundless joy.

 

Wild Spirals

wild spirals

Health problems and weather have finally given way and I have been able to get back into the garage and start experimenting again.  These are “warm-up” shirts, exercises in color mixing to get back into the groove.  Plans, oh, do I have big plans now!  The challenge will be to get the images into my head translated into fabric.  I have started to  name my custom colors mixes after friends who have made particular requests.  In the mix up there you will find Zim’s Purple and Tom’s Yellow.  Let’s just hope my notebook survives the splattering.  I still have Technicolor hands.

These are what is left of the last batch of 6.  I am flattered that friends grabbed the others before I could photograph them.  The one on the far left with the big red spiral is already spoke for but the other two are available for adoption.

Middle shirt, purple and green, Fruit of the Loom me’s size large crewneck.  $25 includes shipping and taxes.

Right shirt, dropped spiral, FOTL men’s V-neck size 2x (I think it would be fun as a woman’s sleep shirt) $30 includes shipping and taxes.

PayPal only.  freakflagdyeco@gmail.com

Fly your flag, peeps!  Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes!  Much love to all of you.

 

Finally Back At It

blueombre

This is an experiment, not a production piece but I am finally back at it!  It is exciting to see if I can make the shirt that is in my head.  If it turns out the way I want it to I will write down what I have done and do it again.  In the meantime, I have an appointment in a couple of hours and will show up with bright blue hands. *Shrug*. . . . after all, it IS the Equinox today and I often make jokes about painting myself blue on high holy days.

Happy Spring, ya’ll.  Stay tuned.

A Question For You

profile pic

Oh, best beloveds, I need your input concerning marketing, etc.  Any and all constructive criticism will be very much appreciated.

The header of this blog is also the front face of my business card.  I added the definition of Freak Flag from Urban Dictionary in order to explain my thinking behind the name.  It is also a reference to the song from the musical, “Shrek” and a nod to a favorite  tune by Southern Culture On The Skids.  On the back of the card above my contact information it says “Fly Your Flag.”  My intention is to encourage people to not be ashamed of or hide who they are but rather to celebrate and embrace our differences, to boost self-esteem, and add a little fun and joy to the mix.

A much younger friend recently schooled me on some of the darker, kinkier, street meanings of the word “freak” and suggested the phrase, “Recreating Individuality” instead of “Fly Your Flag”.

I kind of like it, but need some input here.  I am out of touch with popular culture in a lot of ways largely due to my age (64) and lack of interest.  I don’t have the developmental issues the most influential up and coming age group has now.  Been there, done that.

But I also need to sell stuff.  Already I live in a very conservative rural area and do not sell much locally, thus the push to develop an online presence.  I have been on the receiving end of some negative remarks about my company name and motto, but for the most part people around here just don’t seem to understand it.

Speak up, please.  Share your thoughts.  As long as you are not intentionally being rude I will welcome anything anyone who reads this has to say about marketing and branding.  I am already part of an online group concerning this, but I would particularly cherish input from my readers.  I feel I have a closer connection with you.

Many thanks.

Spring!!!

kite

We are finally having beautiful weather here.  It comes in spasms, but there are more gorgeous days than wet and cold.  Over the weekend friends and I wrangled assorted kids,went on a picnic,and decided to teach the kids to fly kites. I sent someone into a store to buy them for the crowd and this is the one they chose for me.  I hung it in the studio both for inspiration and as a memento of a wonderful day with friends who love me.  It may not stay there long, however, as everyone had a blast and I am sure we will be doing it again.