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 Those Who Read This

colorwheel

Facebook is no more as of a few minutes ago.  I am not sure when or if I will go back to it.  I have never been a big fan of Tumblr and am on the fence about Instagram. It looks like Pintrest will be my distraction of choice for the next little while and I am not sure how long that will last.  Here I am trying to learn to be an entrepreneur and I am sick and tired of ads being shoved up my nose every time I turn around.  Capitalism is not my thing in spite of trying to sell my work.  Marketing and self-promotion are not my strong suites and I shy away from people who are aggressive self-marketers.  It was one of the many reasons for leaving Facebook.

I started this page as a business page, as a way to sell the stuff I dye.  It seems to have turned into more of a personal blog and I am wondering if I should continue to combine the two.   I love color, am fascinated by combining and blending color combinations and by how it effects people’s emotions and moods. The graphic at the head of this entry is an example.  I don’t agree with the astrological data (the colors match the seasons but not the characteristics of the signs) but am intrigued by the word associations with the colors. (Apologies to whoever I stole this from.  If you don’t like it, contact me and I will take it down.  I found it in a random internet search ages ago.)  I am also an advanced amateur photographer (most of the pics on the blog are mine) and an avid gardener who particularly loves flowers.  So if you want to talk about color, I am your person.

A more business savvy friend of mine said that people like to have personal connections with people they buy from.  I have never considered that.  I know I am more inclined to take my business back to people I feel connected to but I never considered using that as a business strategy.  I am known as a galloping extrovert.  I have always liked people and am fascinated by their stories.  I would like for the clothing and yarn I dye to be a reflection of the people who wear and use it.  But using my people connections as a sales gimmick feels manipulative to me. Nothing pisses me off more than an insincere salesperson.

So, what think you, dear readers?  Please chime in. Should this blog stay strictly business and sales?  should I set up another blog for thinking out loud? or is the combination of the two acceptable?  I wonder if it might be a little confusing.

Catching up

I was having a nice phone conversation with someone today who wanted to see this site.  As we were discussing the content I realized that there is a lot more stuff on Facebook than there is here.  What I post here is automatically posted to FB, but it is not the other way around (Fie on you, Mark Zuckerburg!)  So here is stuff you may not have seen.

November2017 (1)November2017 (2)November2017 (3)November2017 (4)November2017double dyed smallTank topsvertical reverserusty spiralmandala reverselight scribbles rev

Extroversion and Tie-Dye

Alaree in reverse dye scribble

It makes sense to me that extroversion and tie-dye go together.  Tie-dye is unpredictable and can be wild. No matter how I try to control the dye there are always surprises.  Compared to some of the other tie-dyers I follow online I am actually pretty tame, but I am still relatively new at it.

There is a sort of alchemy  in the process when I mix dyes and blend colors; watching my reactions to the colors and patterns as well as other people’s. Start digging into the psychology of color and things get more interesting.

It is a primal, messy process involving splashing liquids around and incubating the fiber to set the dyes. Kind of the way I live my life; the cooked pasta approach; throw it at the wall and see what sticks.  I throw dye on fabric and see what it turns into.

I have been called a galloping extrovert and (please pardon the buzzword) an empath.  I like people.  They fascinate me.  I have never met a stranger.  I am constantly curious about them, sometimes to the point of having been called nosey and intrusive.   Give me 10 minutes with another person and if I am in the  right mood I can often hear their life story and tell you how many eyelashes they have.  And interacting with other people is very similar to dying, there are always surprises, not always pleasant and not always what I think I want, but never boring.

I am famous for having connections with people where ever I go.  I walked into a grocery store in California and struck up a conversation with a young woman who turned out to be from my hometown in NC and whose grandparents were known to me. That sort of thing happens often. in my life.  Someone I know says there are only 100 people in the world.

Friends and I were discussing taking a trip to Florida to visit some of their friends.  I can think of 3 people in the area that I know and a couple along the way that I would love to stop and visit with if time allowed.  If I were going alone I would probably do it.

I can talk with almost anyone about almost anything and have a great time in the process.  There isn’t much of a filter on my mouth (I try, I really do try). I am eternally curious, overly analytical, and have a wicked sense of the absurd in addition to being well-read and in love with wordplay.  Sometimes I like the sound of my own voice too much and tend to blather on too long, but the Universe has ways of shutting me up.  I try to lay down my ego and pride every day.  They get too heavy and I often trip over them.  If I don’t try to put them aside, they may get yanked from my grasp.

“Telling stories” is a southern, mountain thing.  The oral tradition is strong in the Appalachians and, though tending to dwindle, still exists in the groups of men having their morning coffee together in the local restaurant, women on girls’ nights out, and people in fiber crafting groups.

Some years ago I dragged a friend away from his PhD studies long enough to visit my family in the Western NC hills.  He had been born and raised in Michigan and had never experienced a group of people who just sat around the table after dinner and talked. He was astounded.  Not only did we talk, we “told stories” on each other, knee-slapping tales with tongue in cheek humor and only mild exaggeration.  It is a bonding experience and the habit is part of the famous “southern hospitality” as well as part of the reason those of us with roots in the hills have been considered clannish.

I see a saddening erosion of community in the world these days, a lack of deep connection and awareness of the world around us.  In my small way, I try to reverse the process. Nothing is accomplished by a person alone in spite of all the dramatic tales you may hear.  Look behind the tales of the heroes and see who and what helped get them there.  Even Batman had Alfred.

We are all connected on many levels. There are many stories behind every sentient being and every thing we encounter if we are willing and able to try to listen.  Sometimes we have to ask others to listen to us, too.  Sometimes it takes severe circumstances to yank our heads out of our own asses and wake us up to the world around us.

I  recently read an article on addiction that spoke to the theory that addictive behavior is a result of a lack of feeling connected to others.  But being connected also means being vulnerable.  Energy travels both ways.  Reciprocity.  Lack of connection means a lack of feeling safe, of isolation.  So we are self-destructive or other-destructive because we have no tools to create the connections we crave.

When I dye a shirt, I do a little ju-ju over it.  I ask that whoever wears it feels loved, that they have happy times when they wear it, that they grow and learn, that any attention the shirt garners be positive and lead to connection with others, and that the wearer have the strength and support to accept and grow from whatever comes their way.

That may be a big order for a yard of cloth and some chemicals, but otherwise. . .why bother?  You tell me.

 

How Do You Pronounce “Turquoise”?

Da Blues
Da Blues

I have been at it again and for some reason turquoise was the dominant color.  I have great intentions of adjusting my palette, but it did not happen this go ’round.    I love multicolored spirals, but even then that blue color dominated the scene.

rainbow spirals
Spirals
Corporate colors
Corporate colors

I did get away from the blue to try out some corporate colors for a local business.

 

Flower fold
Origami with cotton

And then there was practicing origami folds.

Black ice
Trying out a new black dye with ice.

A new black dye.  I like this one a lot.  The black is deeper and richer.  It still breaks at the edges into gray and purple but when I am not deliberately causing it to break, it looks like it will be a true, deep black.

 

Experiments
Experimenting again

And the final set of experiments.  Another origami like fold, although I refuse to make cute little animals out of t-shirts, but I like the black.  I was trying for a Barney purple and got pokeberry instead.

Dying When in a “Mood”

blue experimentpurple experimentpink experiment

These are the result of dying when one is in what is euphemistically called “a mood” here in the small town South.  I went into the garage, starting yanking shirts off the rack, and splattering dye around,  I was mostly using the drip and squeeze method of dying for this go ’round.  I think because there were a few necks I wanted to put my hands around and squeeze.  Looking back on it now, it all seems silly.  But I do remember steam coming out of my ears at the time.

In spite of my “mood” there was a little bit of method to this madness.  I am thinking of toning down the palette and wanted to see what the colors looked like and how they acted on the fabric, so their was more dilution, more single or two color dying, and less time wasted on folding and tying.  I spent more time fiddling with dye concentrations and color mixing.  The leftmost shirt in the middle row is done with black dye which bleeds into blues and purples and washes out as grey unless it is very, very concentrated.  The same dye was used on the left shirt on the bottom row.  The pink shirt with the bull’s eye on the bottom row is the same red dye used on the shirt next to it but diluted.  The purple and green shirt is custom mixed colors done from basic primary pigments.

The bull’s eye pattern, by the way, is my first attempt at tying a mandala and I think it would be cute on a pregnant woman.

Dye fascinates me in that it acts much like watercolors do when painting.  No matter how much I try to control it, it does it’s own thing and always surprises me.  When I get my colors figured out I will spend more time on the very tedious and fussy process of folding and tying, which I will have to figure out as I go along because so far following instructions from books and videos has not worked well for me.  I have had some interesting adventures with dental floss, fake sinew, and rubber bands.

Figuring out equipment is another adventure.  Books and videos don’t work with my  idiosyncrisities, which is sort of the story of my life.   For one thing, I absolutely hate and despise my washing machine.  It is too idiot-proof (my big complaint about a lot of electronics and software) and not flexible enough for me to fill first, add detergent, and then toss in the shirts while it agitates. (Believe me, it matters. The yellow spots on the top left shirt were not supposed to be there.)  So when my sugar daddy comes along the first thing I am going to do is replace the washer for one that does what I want it to do.  I don’t care if I end up with a 1968 Kenmore as long as it is can do what I need it to do. (Like agitate with the lid open, anyone?)

I have put out a call to all my friends to save me their empty dishwashing liquid bottles.  It turns out that I have better control with those than I do with the fancy lab wash bottles one video suggests I use or the pointy topped condiment dispensers I have been using.

Don’t get me started on the instruction to use kelp to thicken the dye, either.  That was a major mess.

At least I am using gloves now.  The days of zombie hands are (mostly) over.

If anyone is interested in any of these shirts, get in touch.  I will make you a good deal.  I would (and do) wear these kind of experiments for grubbing in the garden or painting, etc. They are mostly women’s JMS 5x with a few other odd’s and end’s tossed in there.