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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Let's Tie Dye, Everybody!

It's the beginning of August, and for some weird reason, I am in a sixties kind of mood.

Which is quite interesting, given that the 1960s were way before I was born!

But think about it for a second.  The 1960s were a decade of great change.  It was a decade in which we saw protests and hippies.  Psychedelic patterns and flower power.  A decade which saw the music of the Beatles, the Turtles, the Rolling Stones, and the Mamas and the Papas, concluding with the epic music festival known as "Woodstock".

Basically, it was a decade that I would have loved to have experienced.

Unfortunately, I was born about twelve years too late to even get a little taste of the 1960s.  But my parents - who are celebrating a huge milestone later this month - lived through the whole decade, and I have to say that they have a lot of fine moments of the 1960s.

So, since the 1960s were a groovy decade, why not declare the first week of August to be "SIXTIES WEEK"? 

Mind you, only six of the seven days will be devoted to the 1960s.  There's no way that I can make "The New Archies" sixties era.  So, Friday gets a pass.

But from now until the 6th, I will be devoting every blog topic to a subject from the sixties.  1960s music, 1960s film, 1960s toys and games, 1960s activities...even a 1960s Tuesday Timeline entry! 

So, what subject will I be talking about today?

Well, how about a particular craft that many people took part in during the 1960s.  If done correctly, you could have a beautiful looking piece of wearable art that would make even the most hardcore beatniks stop and stare!  If done incorrectly, you would have permanent stains all over your walls, carpets, hair, and even your hands.

Which might be great if you were a member of the Blue Man Group, but not good in everyday life.

Of course, I'm talking about the art of tie-dying, a way of turning ordinary shirts into fantastic looking original creations.

It was all a part of the whole psychedelic movement, where drab clothing was splattered with vibrant coloured fabric dyes in brilliant shades of red, yellow, blue, and green.  It was very difficult to blend into the crowd with a shirt like that - unless of course you happen to be in a crowd of people all wearing tie-dyed shirts.

And you know, it wasn't just shirts that people tie-dyed.  They tie-dyed their jeans, their jackets, their scarves.  Heck, some probably tie-dyed their underpants. 

Now, you might believe that tie-dying began in the mid-1960s, and there absolutely was a heightened interest in tie-dying beginning around 1965.  By the early 1970s, tie-dying had definitely reached its peak in popularity.

But you may be surprised to know that tie-dying has been around for thousands of years!  Some of the earliest examples of tie-dying come from the South American region of Peru as early as the 6th century!  The garments had lines and circles, and were dyed in brilliant shades of red, yellow, and blue.  It would actually be interesting to see how they managed to get dye that colour back in those days.

And in Thailand, this is just one of the examples of the tie-dying art known as mudmee.  As you can see, it's done a little bit differently than the standard tie-dye design, but the end result is something that is absolutely beautiful.

So, how does one make a tie-dye shirt?  Well, admittedly, I don't know myself.  And I'd really like to learn how to do one because I really want to make a few shirts for an upcoming event that I want to plan (think 1960s themed for this one), and I think it would be cool if the main guests all wore tie-dyed shirts.

Certainly, there has to be a few examples of how to make basic tie-dye outfits.  Really, all you need to have is a shirt made of 100% cotton, some fabric dye, and soda ash (the catalyst in making the perfect tie-dyed shirt).

Oh, and that 100% cotton shirt is CRUCIAL.  You could use a cotton-poly blend, but the colours won't be as vibrant.  And don't even think of using polyester to dye a tie-dye shirt.  Polyester will not keep any dye in at all, and you'd just be wasting your time.  You'd be best to just buy a 5-pack of Fruit of the Loom or Hanes T-shirts and use those.

Of course, I still don't know what techniques to use...I wonder if there are any do-it-yourself videos on how to tie-dye.

Oh, look!  Here's one right here!

Thanks, Tatjanna for the brilliant ideas!  On some weekend when I don't work, I will have to try this out!

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