Resurrecting a dyeing art.

I’ve gotta make this quick. I’ve got important shit to do. But Leon, it’s Canada Day, what important shit could you have to do? I’ll tell you. I’ve gotta finish up my tie dyeing. What year is it? I hear you say. Which may indicate some series Joan D’arc level psychosis on my behalf, but the only armies I tend to lead are my armies into the sleevies of my new tie dyed shirt. The tie dyeing was not my idea. It should be apparent that it wasn’t my idea, because I had no notion of how ties came into dying shirts into psychedelic colours. Perhaps its some ironic rejection of The Man and his corporate ecosystem I thought. Turn the necktie, a symbol of financial experience and/or inebriation when tied around the forehead (I watched a lot of anime growing up), into an icon of free spirited bliss. Of course I was wrong. It’s ’cause you use rubber bands to create those trippy white lines to differentiate from the coloured segments. The bands also create handy sections for ease of colour separation. A group of us got together last night with a kit and spread out on a friend’s deck. We wound shirts into spirals and fought over the yellow (easily one of the more vibrant colours). We hung out, chatted and drank beer while using excessive amounts of dye. After we’d finished we read the instructions (which suggested to read all instructions before starting) which instructed us to use dye sparingly. Oops.

I dyed two items. The first was a shirt that I’d bought last minute for a schoolgirl costume. It was labelled XL, which it may have been in Lilliputian sizes. Of the six or so buttons in it, I can successfully button two. To put it frankly, I’ve never seen anything so strained in my life as the top button that I can successfully button. I’d call it Atlas if I were one to name buttons. It looks like it could give out at any second, but seems to be hanging in there like a motivational cat. Anyway, this super sexy top (with scandalous midriff) cost me almost nothing, but also has very few applications. I figured I might as well experiment with tie dying and perhaps have a snazzy pride-ready shirt. The end result is super cool. The colour wheel went purple, green, blue, yellow, pink and orange. Colours bled and melded with one another to create a pleasing, tropical array. It reminded me just how much I like the yellow/purple combo. Turns out I may have fluked into harmony by pure accident.

The other item was a pair of boxers. I tried something different from the rose petal pattern used on the shirt. For this one I tried rolling it up like a play doh sausage then spiralling it like a snail. The result was vastly different. The segments split vertically, with purple atop green atop pink. Not only that, but the colours burst vibrantly on the right hand side of the boxers, fading to a majority of white on the left hand side. It’s a nifty effect I couldn’t have predicted. Primarily because I knew fuck all about tie dying before trying. I’ve rinsed out the excess dye, which I’m sure you could gather was a shit-ton. Apparently I need to do two (!) washes in hot water before drying them. Drat.

Tie dyeing was a rad experience in all senses of the word. Are there a ton of neat crafts I’m missing out on through ignorance either wilful or not? Do I need to pursue making stained glass? Melted crayon art? Coloured sand jars? Origami? Beer bottle glasses?

The possibilities are only as limited as my interest in Pinterest.


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