Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tie Dye to Die For!

Recently, I got to spend some time asking some questions of Sara from Artfire.com's tiedyebysara
Sara creates beautiful tie dye clothing that is truly wearable art using 100% cotton. I know from experience that her work is beautiful because I am wearing my favorite piece of clothing right now and it is a custom dyed dress made by non other than Sara! Here is what Sara had to say.

          Artsytype-What is your biggest inspiration?

  Sara-  I think it’s the experiment of it all. With tie dye, you can do the same folds, with the bands in the same spots, using the exact same colors and still come out with two totally unique pieces.
  I’d love to be able to say that I don’t crave approval or want everyone to absolutely love my pieces, but I do. So, I guess you could say that plays into my inspiration. Even the ones my husband dyed from my designs and colors I chose, feel like a part of me, because it’s my heart in there. So, when someone loves it or hates it, it feels personal. Everyone tells me it shouldn’t, but if it didn’t, I don’t think it would turn out the same.

         Artsytype-  What, if anything, did your family do to foster your 
         creative spirit when you were a child?

  Sara--The funny part is that I was into creative writing as a child and was actually quite good at it. Working with “crafty” stuff was for suburbanite housewives, with their tole painting and potpourri sachets. Then, in the fourth grade, I went from a neurotic 4.0 GPA student, to an 11 year old with severe burn out and that changed everything about how I thought or did things. I ate Tums, ground my teeth and was hysterical if I got less than a perfect grade. So, on the advice of our MD, my parents pulled me out of public school and I was homeschooled for a couple of years, until we moved and I started a new school. My parents never pushed me to be perfect, they only wanted my best effort, but the school I had been at wanted nothing less than 100%, 100% of the time. I had a breakdown, just what the MD was hoping to prevent and just shut off about school. I suddenly became okay with just “getting by” and lost the ability to write creatively.
  My family helped me by being okay with who I was, not what my grades said I was.
  I can’t write a story anymore to save my life, but starting in my 20’s, I taught myself to tie dye and make earrings.

          Artsytype-  Why were you initially attracted to your preferred medium?

  Sara -I guess the best way to put it would be that it was the color and controlled chaos. Plus, I can’t draw or paint, so this lets me be artistic, without pulling my hair out as much.
  I started out just making stuff for my family, but then I got requests from perfect strangers for paying orders and it grew from there.

       Artsytype- How do you address those times when you are experiencing artist’s block?

  Sara -I just don’t work on it for a while. I find something else to do. Or, sometimes, since it is a period style, I watch more “hippie” movies and listen to my Grateful Dead, Three Dog Night, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, etc. It gets me in the groove a little easier. I just have to find that calm place.
  Sometimes, the time off makes it harder to get back into it, like this past summer (2010), when I had taken a year off to go back to school. I had done the dying on my own before then, but when I needed to get the lead out, so to speak, I couldn’t wait out the block, so I ended up teaching my husband how to tie dye and we knocked out about 100 pieces every weekend for the better part of 2 months. He is very production oriented and took on the larger stuff and special designs like hearts, while I stuck to the littler stuff and getting all of the other supplies like carbon receipt books, business cards, signs, advertising, ordering new racks, buying more lights, storage totes and generally getting stuff for our new, larger 10ft by 20ft booth together.
  I think we sold somewhere between 300 and 400 pieces between early June and the end of September, with five festivals.

Artsytype-Let’s say that the earth is going to be hit by a rogue meteor. And stretch your imagination to the point that you can even pretend for a moment that humans have their shit together well enough to find a way to evacuate the planet. But, each person can only take three items that must weigh in at less than 20 lbs. collectively. What three items would you take? 

Sara -
-I’m toast then, because I couldn’t leave our Golden Retriever, who weighs about 60-70 lbs, plus some dog food for him to start out with. I’d use the fact that we could use his fur to make blankets as a selling point, so we could take him. That fur is why he lives outside.
  If, aside from that dilemma, I had to choose 3 items; there is the stuffed bear that was in the delivery room when I was born, my pocket knife and a jumbo can of WD40 wrapped in a bunch of Duck tape. Wrapping the Duck tape around the can makes it one item.
  As you can see, I’m all for loopholes.
  There are 6 of us in our house, so I’m sure we’d have it covered for the family.

Here are some of Sara's beautiful pieces. She also dyes pieces out of bamboo fiber like the cute little socks, shown. The backgrounds in the photos are so beautiful. Makes me want to move to Oregon!
Please visit Sara's Artfire studio and have a look around. You are sure to find something for the tie dye lover in your life.

And while you are at it, take a look around my studio too!

Thanks, Sara!

Please join me next time when I interview another, fascinating, memorable, Artsytype!


  1. Thanks for featuring me.

    I am following you, apparently twice and not showing an avatar in the followers list.

    See you later dear.

  2. Great interview! Nice to get to know other ArtFire folks better. And taking only 3 things that weigh less than 20 pounds??? Will computers and digital media work on this other planet? If so, I need to start scanning photos and books!

  3. It's always fascinating to learn what inspired
    people, what sparked and fostered their creative drive and see how they continue to develop it. Great interview! What an interesting artist Sarah is.