I never gave a damn about tie dying before the dumpster fire of a year called 2020.

In mid-March the world changed for a whole lot of people, myself included. A planned two-week, work-from-home situation morphed into seven months and counting of living in times that can make you question your own humanity, and that of the people to your left and your right.

In late March, my boyfriend, Graham, decided to paint signs and hand them out for free. It became the best way to spend a weekend. Get up, break open some spray paint and get artsy. Weekend after weekend, we’d come up with different slogans. He’d make a template, we’d paint for hours and then end the day drinking beers on the porch and chatting from afar with folks who were thrilled to have a little light in some dark days.

I bought a khaki sweatsuit and things got weird.

Ok, I didn’t purchase the pieces together but that’s beside the point … it was bleak. Surrounded by a fortress of spray paint, I battled the khaki-ness. The outfit looked much better with a little navy paint but (pro tip) spray paint is not meant to dye clothes.

Khaki No More

PS: if I’d known this photo would live on, I’d have straightened up a few things but whatareyougonnado.

I dove head first into YouTube videos and Pinterest blogs. I read about ice dying and kept planning to give it a try when I felt more brave.

Finally, I did it.

And then I did it again and again.

My closet is full of ice dyed shirts, Graham’s closet is full, even my mom’s closet is full. People started buying things for me to dye, bringing over shirts they wanted to give new life to. I WAS ADDICTED. I’ve spent a little time unpacking this addiction and I’ve come to a conclusion …

Ice dying is unpredictable and borderline chaotic. You can prep two shirts exactly the same, soak ’em in soda ash for the same amount of time, use the same type of ice, and the same color of dye. The only guarantee is that they won’t turn out the same. The ice will melt differently and the colors will dance differently.

I’ve waged a war with that fate. Thinking I had to perfect a process to make the same-ish shirt in every size.

After talking with a few my favorite people, it became clear I was making a mountain out of a molehill and that I just needed to f*cking EMBRACE THE CHAOS. For the record, I hate chaos. But, I love this thing called tie dying. In a year where I’ve never been more aware of how little control I have, ice dying has become a welcome invitation to redefine what I thought control (and therefore success and self worth) looked and felt like.

Alright, ok, enough. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for coming to my TED Talk. I hope you’ll stop by the shop and find a thing or two that you love. Everything you see is one-of-a-kind, dyed by hand in Central California, and a personal revolutionary act.