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Washing My Tie-Dyes

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The Tie-Dyes

During the mid-80s I started to experiment with coloring material using different kinds of coloring media: house paint, India ink, & eventually dyes. Towards the end of the 80's I was turned on to the incredibly vibrant & permanent colors of Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes, which became my dye of choice. Since these dyes were totally colorfast & would stick around for a long time, I figured my designs should be worth having around for a long time, so my experiments became more controlled. As with all my dyework (Waxworx too) the material I start with is white & 100% Cotton (or any other natural fiber). Generally, I fold, pleat or twist the fabric a certain way for each different design (often in combinations), then rubber band it. The rubber bands usually don't leave any marks on the finished piece; they serve only to hold it together while it's being dyed. The dyes are mixed from a powder form & poured into squirt bottles for maximum control during the application. I apply all the colors one at a time in the same sitting. After the fabric has been dyed, I let the piece sit (about a day) until the dyes are spent. The last step is the washing. It's important to get out all excess dye particles, so that no running or bleeding occurs later on. Please click on each design below for an up-close view.

This one's done with pleats.


Pleats in a circle.

Pleats in a V.

'Indian Sun' w/ fiery colors
Dye on Velvet

Crunched w/ black only.

Compounded pleats.

'Indian Sun' w/ green, amethyst...

The Classic Spiral
Twisted pleats.

'Cousin' w/ burgundy

Dye on Velvet



'Spider' w/ pewter, green, purple...

'Cousin' w/ Ice blue

'Agua Mambo' w/ seafoam, turquoise...

Continue on with the next category, String Designs...

© 2009 Adam Maiale, Adz-Art Hand Dyed Originals