My Booth at the San Clemente Street Faire - Southern CA
There is a special place for tie-dye in my world. I suppose it always will be dear to me. I grew up with it. I love all the designs and the colors, the brighter the better. Like most people growing up in the sixties, I dabbled in this area of art. After I moved to CA in the 1970’s, I got into it big time. By this, I mean I had my own tie-dye factory in my garage. I made clothes to sell at the street markets around southern California, for others and for my own booth.
I had about whatever you would want in the clothing area, including, T-shirts for adults, and kids, tank tops, shorts, shirts, skirts, sweatshirts, leggings, long and short dresses with sleeves or without, onesie’s for babies, bandannas, tote bags, belts, etc.
I purchased industrial sewing machines and made trips to the garment district up in LA. I bought material by the bolt and sewed my own clothes to dye. I made everything except the T-shirts, onesies, and bandannas. I kept very busy with cutting things out, sewing them up, and then dyeing them.
I bought an old used washer and put it in the garage to use for my tie-dye. Workbenches lined one side of my house outside, and that was my dye work area. I sewed together a thirty-five-foot length of shade fabric, so I could work out there in shade in the summer.
Inside the garage, I had a table dedicated as my folding area, where I would weave and tie the designs into my clothing. On the other side, I had a washout table and sink. It was a big operation for one person.
I spent hours outside bent over my dye buckets. I mixed my own colors from dry packages of dye I would buy. Everything had to stay covered in plastic overnight, and then I washed it out the next day, first in the sink and then the washer. The hand wash was necessary to remove most of the excess dye.
My biggest enjoyment was seeing the colorful designs emerge after I took out all the rubber bands. Seeing the miracle of white fabric transformed into something so beautiful right before my very eyes urged me on to try something new. I was amazed every time, even if I had done the same design a hundred times. Once I saw the finished product, I forgot about all my sore muscles and aching back.
This was very hard work. I was usually exhausted by the time the weekend came, and it was time to go and set up my booth somewhere for the weekend. The worst part of this was getting up before daylight, which I hated because I’m a night owl. Once I was at the show and by the time 10 am rolled around, I was wake and ready to do business. I even worked like this with a pinched sciatic nerve in my leg for two and a half years. Painkillers didn’t even fix that, but I persisted with my tie-dye business, even though it was killing me half the time to stand up so many hours in a row. One things about me though is that I am stubborn, determined, and not a quitter.
I wore tie-dye every day in those years. My husband got sick of seeing it. I don’t wear it as much anymore, but I still have lots of it, drag it out now and then, and put it on. Those were some good days. I’m glad I could experience the whole thing, even if it did beat me to death.
Richie Havens 1941-2013 RIP
If you’d care to listen here is a link: