The Up-Cycled Cloth Collective
We created a group on Facebook to promote global awareness about how we use, re-use and dispose of old cloth.
I received a stash of old fabrics from a deceased estate. It is a motley collection of different colours, prints, weaves and fiber sources. I am up-cycling these fabrics using my own hand carved lino stamps. I am sending bundles of these fabrics out to textile manufacturers and fiber artists all around the world to transform into finished items.
Click through and join our Facebook group if you would like to follow the journey of this cloth...
Keep your kids busy with useful crafts this coming holiday...
Kids really love to make tie dye because there is such a magical Wow Moment! right at the end of the process. They wear them and love them in the months that follow and when somebody compliments them on what they have made, they get to say...
"I made it MYSELF!"
It is a powerful feedback loop for building confidence in children.
Watch the video and see just how easy it is to keep a whole group of them busy this holiday...
Where to find all the FREE stuff!
The link to the FREE online tie dye course...
The link to the FREE online lino printing course...
The link to the FREE lesson plan for school teachers...
The link to the FREE list of suppliers for Fashion Designers in South Africa...
Order and pay for your 1mx1m lino sheet before Midnight on 28 February, and you save R750! This product usually sells for R4500 plus R250 shipping. Order and pay today and you get it for only R4000.
Order and pay for any three Box Of 5 Kits before midnight on 28 February, and you will pay only R1400 including shipping and handling. You save R240!
email Bonnie today to place your order at
These offers are for a limited time only. We do not extend these special offers beyond the dates stated here. Order and pay today if you do not want to miss out on this opportunity.
The Fail-Safe Method
There are many ways to play with dye and manipulate techniques to get different finishes. If all YOU want to do is to redye your faded denims and maybe a few stained items, I have uploaded a video that will help you...
Valentines Day Competition
With Valentines Day just around the corner, we have to do another competition for this great stamp.
This 20cm x 20cm craft stamp is so versatile. You can use it in so many ways for your craft projects. Print on cloth, paper, card, wood and other porous surfaces. Use it to emboss into soft ceramic, polymer clay and cake icing. Many of our customers just use them as place mats and coasters because they are so pretty!
Send an email to
with the words "I want to win your heart!" in the tagline to get your name into the lucky draw on Valentines Day at noon (SA time).
New Online Courses
Many of you have been in touch to ask about workshops and classes. Instead of waiting until I finally reach your town to teach, you can sign up ANY TIME and take the online course instead.
Sign up at a time that suits YOU when you have the money for it, and learn at your own pace in the comfort of your own home, without the distractions that come with other students in the workshop.
Here are some of the new online courses that you can sign up for...
Learn how to make a Rainbow Spiral
Learn to dye a Heart
Learn Different Binding Patterns for Tie Dye
Order and pay for ANY TWO Box Kits from the image above before 1 February and you can save R135!
2x Box of 5 @ R505 each
Shipping & handling @ R125
You pay only R1000 if you order before 1 February
Send an e-mail to email@example.com with the words "I want TWO Boxes!" in the tagline to qualify for this special offer.
If you want to learn different binding techniques for achieving different patterns with the dye, the detailed online course is live. With eBooks and videos packed with ideas this course is great value at $125. If you want to mass produce tie dyed garments to sell, this course is worth investing in. I teach you all of the patterns that worked for me in the retail environment. Payments via PayPal.
Click through to the link below to view the course curriculum and sign up...
If you are in South Africa and you would prefer to pay for the course by eft or over three months, contact Bonnie today to speak to her about an invoice and payment terms...
2017 Price List For Fabric Dye
"You can't do it like THAT!"
"You can't do it like that!"
I often hear these words when I get involved on forums about techniques. And perhaps this is a good time to explain where and how I learned what I know?
When I first started working with textiles in 1993, there was no such thing as Google. I learned what I needed to know about the products that I work with directly from my suppliers and when they could not answer my questions, I would return home and TRY IT FOR MYSELF.
There was no internet to refer to; no access to online craft teachers to harass for information.
Over the years, I personally manufactured THOUSANDS of hand dyed and lino printed garments and fabrics for retail. First I sold my own clothing line through markets, and later I manufactured custom textiles for the Fashion Industry. At the height of my manufacturing career I pushed around 100 garments a week through my hands with little help.
Fashion Weeks come with deadlines and I often had to produce something magical on an unfamiliar fabric within 24 hours. Designers would give me only one frock to work on. No sample to try the technique on first. I was under pressure to get it right first time, every time.
Designers would also make requests for things that they did not understand were not possible (certainly not within the timeframe and budget that they expected) and I became quite practiced at understanding what can and cannot be achieved on cloth, on a shoestring budget.
Often they would press me to go back to my workshop and try anyway. Often I did, usually to my own personal cost. I remember every lesson I learned this way, until I learned to say "No. This is unsustainable for me". I have tried MANY things, with variable results.
Image by Ivan Naude for SA Fashion Week 2005 from the Black Coffee Collection. www.planetivan.com
And on this journey I worked out a handful of simple, fail-safe techniques that reliably serve a wide range of needs within short timeframes.
Such techniques are safest to use when you are a fashion designer who needs to make a sample now, that you can replicate later when you have an order for 60 garments from a store, and the store has an expectation that your production run will look the same as your sample. They are also suitable for anybody who wishes to teach crafts to beginners and children.
This is where my techniques were born. I sampled a bunch of things and then turned the simplest of them into learning material for beginners to give them the best chance of good results with little experience.
This sometimes frustrates my students who are hoping to hear very complicated information from me. Great teaching, like great design, is all about economy and elegance. It is my aim to make it simple for you. Not difficult.
Some of my techniques come under fire on the public forums where theories abound. My information comes straight from trial and error and hard personal experience.
I am NOT teaching you from the place of a craft teacher who has read a few techniques from books and then dabbled in my kitchen with a few bits. I am a mass producer sharing what I have learned over twenty years of making THOUSANDS of garments for retail
I have trained at least as many people as I have made T-shirts over the past twenty years. If the information seems almost too simple for you, it is because I designed it that way so that you can have the best chance of success on your first projects, without having to walk the same road of expensive trial and error that I did.
There are MANY ways of achieving similar things. I teach the ways that have worked best for me commercially.
If you prefer to use another way that you learned somewhere else, it is awesome! I am happy to hear that your spirit of adventure and trying for yourself are alive and well.
Please do not suggest that I use somebody else's material and start to teach their techniques. My material is ONLY authentic because of how it came to life and I have no interest in copying others, whether it is their designs or their training material.
Our final FLASH SALE for 2016...
Order and pay for your Party Kit before 1 January 2016 and SAVE! The Kit includes...
1 x Favourite Five Box Kit @ R420 (enough dye for up to 50 T-shirts)
1 x eBook @ R200
Shipping & handling @ R125
TOTAL VALUE R725
You pay only R525 for the Kit. You save R200!
Order and pay for the Bulk Dye Kit before 1 January 2016 and SAVE! The Kit includes...
250g Golden Yellow @ R660
250g Pink @ R660
250g Turquoise @ R660
250g Navy @ R660
250g Black @ R660
eBook Mixing Your Own Colours @ R200
Shipping & handling @ R200
TOTAL VALUE R3645
You pay only R3000 for the Kit. You save R650!
Our prices go up on 1 January with our annual price increase to keep up with the rising price of our imported chemicals. This is the last time that you will see these products at these prices. Order today and save.
Two Options For International Payments By Credit Card
We offer you two different payment gateways to choose from so that you can pay by credit card from anywhere in the world...
Bespoke Author Made Prints
I have decided to start selling my hand carved lino stamps. There are many Fashion Designers out there who would like to know that the fabrics in their collection at Fashion Week are as unique as their garment designs.
If you are one of these designers, you can purchase the stamp and the exclusive rights to print it on your fabrics, for only R5500 per design. Here are some of the designs that you can choose from...
Get in touch with Bonnie today to view the selection at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Offers For YOU
On 1 January 2017 our prices go up with our annual price increase and I know that there are many of you who might like to stock up now before this happens?
We have some fantastic special offers for you...
Order three Rainbow Boxes for only R800, including postage. You save R150! We will also throw in a complimentary eBook valued at R200 to teach you how to use the kit to do dyeing with a group of children. If you are a teacher, this is the offer for YOU!
Bulk Dye Special
Order three 250g Bulk Packs in assorted colours and pay only R1650. You save a massive R455!
If you love our heart-shaped Jaclyn stamp, you can order six for only R1000. You save a massive R500! They make fantastic stocking fillers for the ladies.
Contact Bonnie today to take advantage of these amazing offers before the 2017 pricing kicks in.
Offer valid until 1 January 2017.
Why I believe tie dye is important to ALL children...
Why I believe tie dye is important for ALL children...
Yesterday Sam Brown experienced the Wow Moment with her students for the first time. Late last night she was still buzzing with excitement from the day.
It is truly magical to watch them all light up!
When kids make their first tie dye they have little idea of what they are doing at first. In that magical moment when they open the T-shirt from its bindings, they light up with surprise to see what they have made. They get a kick as they realize... "I made this MYSELF!"
It is a powerful moment for any human. It is the private internal moment where we step into competence and confidence.
The T-shirt then becomes a powerful feedback loop for building on that first spark of confidence. Every time that kid wears the T-shirt that they have made, and somebody comments on how nice it is, they get to say "I made it myself!"
The most common complaint that I get from Moms is that they cannot get their kids out of the T-shirts afterwards. Many kids will wear them again and again as they emerge from the wash, and until they are way too short and small, before they are ready to give them up.
Often Moms will just come back for another kit so that they can make another one in a bigger size.
The value of the experience far outweighs the small amount of cash that you spend on a kit like this. For around R10 per child for the dye, you can give them this empowering experience that will boost their confidence for the rest of their lives.
Include the cost of the T-shirt and extra bits, and this experience costs around R60 per child. A very small amount to pay for a powerful emotional experience that will last a lifetime.
As kids we are often told "Be careful. Don't mess that up." This kind of language can make a child shrink back from trying at all in an effort to appease the adults.
The Rainbow Wow experience gives them the space to try and succeed for themselves. When they open the T-shirt with their group of friends and everybody cheers together, they get the positive social feedback that they need to cement the internal experience.
When kids make their first tie dye, they are not just splashing some colour onto a functional garment. They are unlocking their will to try for themselves and succeed. They are learning to receive and give praise for a job well done. The internal experience is far more powerful than the playful methodology gives away at first glance.
This kit is not "just a toy for kids". This kit is a way of transforming humans in a magical and FUN-damental way.
Try it on children of all ages and you will see that the outcome is the same.
Click through to the link below to read the latest newsletters...
Be a WINNER
WIN a Rainbow Kit that you can use to entertain kids during the holidays. This kit will dye up to thirty T-shirts and we will supply you with a video and eBook with the information that you need to pull it off painlessly.
All you need to do to get your name into the lucky draw on 25 November is to send us an email that says "I want to win!" in the tagline to
and your name will go into the hat!
This prize is valued at R600
Your Christmas Orders & Year End Price Increase
If you need your dye in time for Christmas, you really should order now.
At this time of year we get really busy and sometimes there are delays with suppliers and shipping. If you want to be sure that the product reaches you in time for Christmas, it is best that you order from our mail order channel now. Of course you always have the option of purchasing off-the-shelf from one of the stores on our Stockists list if you prefer that option.
At the end of each year we adjust our prices in line with inflation and the rising costs on our imported raw materials. On 1 January 2017 our prices will go up.
If you know that you are going to need Slipstream Dye in 2017 and you would prefer to pay 2016 prices for it, be sure that you order now, before the increase kicks in on 1 January.
Contact Bonnie today for an Order Form at
The eBooks Hold The BEST Answers!
Over the years we have received so many e-mails with so many questions about how the products work, that we created eBooks to answer every one of them. Many people get frustrated when they ask a specific question and we suggest an eBook as an answer, instead of just spitting out a short answer for them. Perhaps they feel we are just out to make money?
The reality is that we have always tried to supply quality knowledge along with our quality products, so that you have the best chance of success the first time you work with them. Many questions have "It depends..." answers. It is simply not practical to go into all of those in personal e-mails when a detailed eBook answers EVERYBODY's questions and explores all of the "It depends..." answers.
When we direct you towards an eBook to answer your questions, it is because we want to arm you with the best information possible so that you can get the best results without too much previous experience.
And in the real world of business, sending and answering a bunch of e-mails costs the business money in wages. Somewhere, somebody has to pay the admin lady. Many of our customers work it out for themselves and simply buy and use dye. It does not seem fair that they should pay for the admin lady? Raising the price of the dye does not seem fair to these people?
This is why the eBooks cost a nominal fee, that helps to support the infrastructure that is available to answer your specific questions when you need them answered. This seems like a fair way to deal with the challenge.
Many people say "It is only fair that you supply us with instructions for the products."
We supply BASIC instructions with all of our products, free of charge. When you ask a SPECIFIC question that requires a specific answer that is outside of those basic instructions, we suggest an eBook.
And we have an eBook to answer a number of questions...
• Costing And Pricing Your Hand Made Products
• Dip Dyeing In Detail
• Dyeing Flat Colour In A Pot On The Stove
• Dyeing Flat Colour In Your Washing Machine
• Even More Of Melanie’s Lino Printing Ideas
• How To Do Dyeing With A Group Of Children
• How To Dye Your Tekkies Using Slipstream Dye
• How To Start A Dye Manufacturing Business
• How To Thicken Slipstream Dye For Printing
• Lino Block Printing 101
• Melanie’s Favourite Creative Spaces
• Melanie’s Lino Designs
• Mixing Your Own Colours
• More Of Melanie’s Lino Printing Ideas
• Peeling The Copyright Onion
• Plant Fibre vs Animal Fibre
• Printing With Found Objects
• More Printing With Found Objects
• Six Basic Binding Techniques For Tie Dyeing (Picturebook)
• So You Want To Publish A Book?
• Supplier’s List – T-shirts, Fabric, CMT’s and Patternmakers
• Tried and Tested Colour Combinations For Tie Dye
• The Quilter’s Crush
• Unlocking Your Creativity
• Using Printing With Found Objects To Teach Kids Maths
• Washing Your Tie Dye And Responsible Water Use
• Working With Bleach
Contact Bonnie today and order the ones that YOU need. Ask her about special offers for orders of more than one.
The Perfect Holiday Activity For Kids
Tie dye is the perfect holiday activity for children.
Kids LOVE tie dye and the Wow Moment when they get to see what they have made and if you do the activity with a whole group of them together the experience is amplified when they can share what they have made with the rest of the excited group.
“Well it was a great success! The Kids were overjoyed when they opened up their shirts and found the different patterns and colours! Thank you for all your help.” Charlotte Manzie
“The party was a success, the kids were so excited and I'm keen to do more. Your dyes are so easy and fabulous to work with.” Adi, The Party Pros
“Here are my little boys t-shirts! They enjoyed it so much!! Thanks so much for your great book and advice!!” Christel Ferreira, Port-Elizabeth
We get feedback in the months that follow that from parents who say that their kids live in their tie dyed T-shirts. They go from wash-pile to child without passing through the cupboard. Moms say to me "We are going to have to do that again soon. That T-shirt is too small, and he/she is still wearing it!"
And what drives this behavior?
Every time the child wears the T-shirt, and somebody compliments them on it, they get to say "I made it myself!"
This is a very powerful feedback loop for building confidence in children.
It is even more powerful in the Education and NGO space.
“Hi Mel, thank you soo much for all your hard work and efforts. Words cannot express how much joy you brought to our children. The kids are literally still glowing and they are soo pleased with themselves they haven't stopped raving about how they actually made the t-shirts themselves. I can't begin to explain how much of a difference you made in their lives.” Hannah Kitele
Love Made Visible...
"Love made visible..." is how Kahlil Gibran explained it. Textile finishes like dyeing and printing take time and care if you want them to be both beautiful AND robust to washing year after year.
This week we did a photo shoot to create some interesting images for our website and social networks. I was clothed head to foot in "love made visible...
The corset was manufactured by Ronel Stronkhorst. One of my students who has attended several of my workshops in an effort to master dye recipe mixing so that she can dye matching elastic, lycra, lace and trims to exactly the same colours for her bespoke underwear. Her business is Women With Curves. She dyed the cotton corset using Slipstream Dye.
The skirt was made by Karenza Pastorino. She attended my Dip Dyeing workshop to learn how to add the finish to her tribal skirts. I have bought several of them from her.
If you would like to learn how to do Dip Dyeing for yourself, click through to the link below and sign up for the online course...
Peeling The Copyright Onion
Over more than two decades of working in the Creative industries, I have looked at the issue of copyright from many angles. My work has been copied in many ways.
In the early days I suffered hot self-righteous rage when my designs were copied. I remember one morning when I was 27 walking down an aisle at the flea market to find my designs replicated almost exactly by a competitor, two aisles away from where I had been set up, selling that product for a couple of years already. They had copied my work and undercut my price by R10.
Later I felt safe when I tied up my intellectual property in a glossy printed book with Metz Press, only to find it available for free download online on a bootleg site. More than once.
And once I started INVITING people to copy my designs with my tutorials in my books and eBooks, I opened a whole other can of worms.
And while I invite others to copy my designs these days, copying somebody else's work is still a line I am loathe to cross. ESPECIALLY when I have my own ORIGINAL ideas tumbling out of me all the time. My personal challenge is keeping up with making all of the things that boil from inside me. Outside input not necessary. Too much data confusing. I can only make one thing at a time.
It is important to me as an Artist and human with some empathy for others, that the things that I make are my own. Or as much my own as I can make them in a world where everything has already been done before, and where any creative work can only hope to be an ITERATION of something else that has passed before, possibly even HUNDREDS of years before you thought of it.
Please do not send me designs and ask me to copy them for you. I get frequent requests for this kind of thing, and I must be clear...
It is just not what I do.
While the world is full of people stomping on other people's feelings when they copy their original designs, I can only lead by example myself and insist on working from my own authentic source.
And if you want to understand in more detail why I take this stand in this way, please buy and read my Copyright eBook.
When You Buy From A Small Business...
Many of our customers make and sell handmade textile items. They make extra money that goes towards school fees, food and other gaps that salaries do not cover. Many of you contact us and ask us to make your tie dyed items for you. Please support our customers who buy from us. They will do a happy dance if you buy from them.
Of course we will do the same happy dance if you buy our tie dye kits from us to have some of your own fun doing your own happy dance...
Whether you choose the self-service option or the ready made option, there is sure to be dancing!
Answering Your Specific Questions
Many of you contact me on messenger and whatsapp with your detailed and specific questions that you would like me to answer for you.
Currently there are so many of these requests that I simply cannot answer all of them AND run a financially sustainable business.
I also know how frightening it can be when you are working with new products and techniques that you barely understand, so I have created a wide range of training tools to answer your specific questions.
I have published two full colour glossy books with Metz Press with 100 full colour photographic tutorials between the two books. Contemporary Dyecraft and 50 Silk Scarves embody my workshop content in a slick visual package and you can order them online from Amazon.
I have made two DVD's. The Dyecraft DVD explains in detail how the dye works, what fabrics are best to work on, different ways of heating the dye and the reasons why you should heat it, different binding techniques for different tie dye patterns and a whole lot more. The kids DVD is a concise methodology for doing tie dye with a group of kids.
Every time you guys ask me a question that is not answered by one of the above resources, I try to answer it with a concise eBook with detailed answers. For R200 I solve your challenge. There are currently more than twenty eBooks in the collection that answer a number of questions about dyeing and printing fabric, working with kids, and starting and running a small business.
For those of you who are looking for a workshop experience, I have designed online courses that you can work through in your own home, in your own time. Click through to the link below to view the selection that you can choose from...
All of these resources are available on easy payment terms of 2, 3 or 6 months.
You will find most of the answers to your most obvious questions in these resources.
The Value Proposition
What Value do YOU get from my training tools?
They save you Time
They save you Money
They empower YOU to make more money for the rest of of your life.
Many of the answers that I supply in my eBooks are available for free and gratis from the university of Google. And too much information can be confusing. Many of my students do the reading on Google and still come back to me with a string of questions.
My training tools take you directly to the best answers that I could formulate for you, based on more than two decades of making experience.
The information in the eBooks saves you money because it takes you to direct answers. In the early 1990's I manufactured tie dyed clothing for flea markets. There was no Google to consult back then and I learned from massive experimentation. Many of my experiments did not work and I had a bargain bin where I sold off these flops at cost to recoup my financial losses.
Garments are expensive to work on and I shorten your costly learning curve considerably with the extra information that you get from my training tools.
If you implement the things that you learn from me in your business, you will make more money for the rest of your life.
Marle Coetsee is printing products that she sells using lino techniques that she learned from me almost a decade ago. Every garment that she sells with a lino print on, has a spark of my energy at its roots. She made a once-off payment for a workshop that has added value to her business for years after as she prints small runs of items in-house and on-demand, on a shoestring budget.
Dozens of my students are selling tie dyed products at markets. They attended one workshop for a once-off payment and are now making a living from selling tie dyed items.
Still more school teachers and people who work with kids are able to expand their businesses using my ideas and convenient pre-packed kits.
My Costing & Pricing course is guaranteed to make you more money as soon as you implement what you have learned.
ANY training tool that you purchase from me holds the promise of INFINITE value and is worth EVERY cent that you pay for it.
Sixty Shades Of Brown And Other Skin Tones
A few of me have asked for recipes to make skin tone fabrics for your quilts.
I am currently putting together the eBook for you.
Most recipes for skin tones are made up of two thirds yellow, which I find quite ironic as an analogy for human nature. Most humans are, in fact, two thirds yellow when pushed.
Even pale Caucasian skin tones are brown recipes with lots of water in.
Look out for the new eBook that we will be launching in a few weeks time.
If you are interested in learning more about Mixing Your Own Colour, join our Facebook page where we talk about colour mixing...
Or click through to the link below to sign up for the online course...
How buying from our Stockists works...
How the mail order works...
If you elect to use the mail order option, please make sure that you include your nearest Postnet branch for shipping and your cell number for the waybill. We frequently receive orders without this information and it is very difficult to actually ship the product to you without it.
We currently use Postnet because they are quicker and more reliable than the local post office. If you are in a remote area and there is no Postnet nearby, we can use the post office although you should expect your orders to take longer to reach you.
48 hour Special Offer On Bulk Dye
Order and pay for this special offer before the end of the day on 30 September 2016, and save big!
You can choose any theme from our five colour themes in the 250g Bulk packs. 250g normally sells for R660. Order and pay before the end of September, and you will get all five colours for only R3000, including shipping. We will also throw in a Colour Mixing eBook to help you to understand how to use the dye. This is a massive saving of R750.
Mixing Your Own Colours
Many of you are interested in mixing your own colours for making garments and quilts.
Humans have been fascinated with mixing their own colour throughout time and recently a little known Dutch publication about colour mixing has historians excited and chattering on all the blogs. Click through to the links below to read more about this early colour recipe book...
For those of you who just want some light reading and a community forum where you can ask your questions, you can join our Facebook community...
Then for those of you who want more in-depth information, you might want to order my eBook on the topic? Click through to the link below to order the eBook...
And for those of you who really want to learn about colour mixing in depth, you can always sign up for my online course. Over a period of weeks, we will guide you through the colour mixing process and teach you how to mix and colour sample more than 100 different recipes. by the end of the course, you will have an impressive recipe colour chart that you can use to cross reference colour swatches when there is a specific colour that you are aiming for.
Why do blue denims run in the first wash?
When I teach workshops I realize how little is understood about basic dyeing processes by the average human. Many people do not realize that it is a very wet process where the garment is submerged in dyes and chemicals. Most people also do not realize that there is a process of washing those chemicals out at the end.
Some of the dye is fixed to the cloth to form a molecular bond with the fiber, and some of the loose chemical is trapped between the fibers of the cloth. The excess must be rinsed away with vigorous rinsing in clean water.
In our modern times, clean water is becoming scarce and factories look at ways of saving money and resources. Many of them trade their last washing process off to their customer and this is where you find fabrics on retail shelves that bleed and run.
A fabric will bleed like this for two reasons...
If the dye was not heat set properly, the colour will run and will continue to run until the fabric is very light. If there is some bleed and then it stops, leaving a vibrant colour, the dye was properly heat set, only the fabric was not properly laundered before it left the factory.
In South Africa we have water restrictions from time to time and I have written an eBook that looks more closely at Mindful Water use...
How much do you charge for your handmade products and WHY?
This morning somebody in my network shared a fantastic video with me about Pricing Your Products by a leading global art expert. I enjoyed the video very much and she had many useful tips for growing your art career. Click through to the link below to watch it for yourself...
Her video left me thinking..."There is SO MUCH more to it!"
The conversation is too linear in my mind. The question we are typically asking is "How much do I sell this for?"
At the end of the month when we struggle to make ends meet, the ACTUAL question is "How many of these have I sold and at what profit margin to pay my rent, food, overheads and costs, school fees, medical aid, pension, insurances, holidays and savings?"
The linear question simply does not address the complex, organic realities of month end.
Until we wrap our cost of living into the sum, the numbers are practically meaningless. If we cannot cover our personal cost of living from selling our art, no matter what the price we charge, we have real challenges. Artists who work for less than they need to survive financially, spend their lives on the outside looking in at the financially active community. After a lifetime of that, they are bound to be embittered about their art when they are eating cat food from a tin in their old age?
One school of thought will say "They were irresponsible and should have got a real job like the rest of us." Others will say "Artists work for LOVE not money!"
And the Struggling Artist struggles on...
We must sweep aside perceptions and social pressure and act selfishly in our own best interests to educate and stand on our value. Artists are smart. We have every right to the same financial freedoms as everybody else. If you are a freelancer, the only person who can take that freedom is YOU. You cannot afford to wait for permission to sort your shit out if you do not want the coming month end to hit you like a train smash.
And it is complex...
Until we wrap the market into the sum the numbers are also meaningless. If we cannot find enough people out there to buy at our price, we have real challenges.
By asking..."How many of these do I have to sell and at what price to pay my rent, food, overheads and costs, school fees, medical aid, pension, insurances and savings?"
...we have a more realistic view of what we are facing.
...it informs timelines.
...it informs sales strategies.
...it helps you to decide what is worth pursuing and what work you should abandon completely.
My Costing & Pricing online course connects these numbers for you in a meaningful way. It is written in plain English and the concepts are simple to master, even if you are not good at numbers.
The course powerfully shifts your awareness about the numbers so that you begin to have the confidence to charge what you need to to survive and the wisdom to ignore the constant peer pressure for cheaper pricing.
When you invest in the course you are investing in your own financial future. As soon as you implement what you have learned you will begin to make more money.
If you sign up for only one course this year, it should be this one.
Click through to the link below to read more about it and sign up...
For BEST Results...
For the best result using our house brand of Slipstream fabric dye...
Our Box kits are pre-packed with the chemicals in the right quantities so you do not have to worry too much about that if you are a beginner. If you are working with Bulk Dye you are likely sourcing your own salt and soda ash. The ratio is constant and can be used for all of the colours.
Dye : Salt : Soda Ash
1 : 4 : 1
The product works best in suspension. This means that you are working with liquids. If you want something sticky to paint on to fabric that is an opaque block-out, you need to find a fabric paint. Fabric dye is a wet mixture, often applied in a pot.
If the dye does not reach 65-70 degrees ON THE FABRIC for long enough, you will get variable results. We recommend an hour of heat if possible for best results. Flash heating in the microwave oven also works well. For more information about these techniques, refer to one of our eBooks or order the Dyecraft video.
For maximum wash fastness, leave the colour on the fabric for 24 hours before washing off the excess chemicals. If you do not want the colour to fade, give it a chance to bind properly with the cloth.
Click through to the link below to order your dye...
Expanding Our Range
For some time now you guys have been asking for more options in the pre-packed Box kits. We heard you and have launched a bunch of new colourways to suit every taste.
We had a great time playing the name game on Facebook and I must say a big THANK YOU to all of you who added your ideas to the list. Thank you for helping us to name the new kits. We could not have done it without your input. Every time you order a kit with a name on that you suggested, know that your energy has become a part of our packaging forever.
Here are all the different colourways that you can now choose from when ordering Slipstream fabric dye...
Kids Birthday Party Kits
Are you looking for a way to entertain a group of children?
Whether you are a school teacher, a Mom, a kids craft teacher or a kids entertainer, our kits are the perfect tool for keeping your group busy with some super fun craft activity. Click through to the link below to see how the whole thing works...
Cotton Knit Dresses
Many of you have commented on the cotton knit dresses that I wear when I teach. I buy them ready-made in cream from Rheola's in Harrismith. Rheola runs a Skills Development Center called Tsa Lapeng, where she teaches rural women handcrafting skills that they can use to be self-reliant. They manufacture quality knitwear made from natural fibers, sourced locally. They specialize in 100% cotton and cotton/bamboo blends. They make jerseys, dresses, shawls and beanies. The shawls are by far my favorite and I always have one draped around my shoulders in chilly weather.
Contact Rheola directly for pricing on 058 623 1521 or 083 334 2724, or click through to her Facebook page below to see more of their products.
I have taught there a few times and I always enjoy it very much. Here is the color chart that the ladies at the center created after one of their training sessions...
If you would like to learn how to create your own color chart of recipes like the one in the image above, sign up for the online course today and work in your own home in your own time to make this useful reference tool for manufacturers.
I stumbled on this old video today...
In 2011 we did a make-and-take stand at Hobby-X. We invited people into the space to come and make two T-shirts. One they could keep, the other they left behind as a donation for needy kids in orphanages. We collected hundreds of T-shirts this way over three days. Here is the video so you can see the action in the stand...
Our drive to benefit needy kids with rainbow T-shirts continues, and I would love to see the idea spread virtually around the world. Click through to the link below to become a member of the online community that drives it...
My Favorite Publications
I have two Fiber Art publications that I love the most. They always inspire me and their information is interesting, educational and from trusted sources. If you want to learn about natural dyes, community development projects and who is making waves in the industry, click through to...
Q&A And Free Resources
Many of you who are new are just busting with questions. While we try our best to answer them here with my eBooks, many of you want free resources that you can refer to to answer your specific technical questions.
Paula Burch has done just this on her incredible website. It is a mine of information and she has taken the time to answer every conceivable question about dye in detail for you.
The Dress That Caused All The Hullabaloo
My network sends me links and images to interesting things that I might like on Facebook. This week I was sent an image more than ten times by different people. The dress is certainly breathtaking and it captured the imagination of the world, sweeping across the social networks like a wave.
Here is the link to the entire article of how it was made...
There was a great deal of speculation about how it was made among those who saw only the image and not the whole blog. When you read the blog Taylor Ann tells you that she airbrushed it. And it has spurned an uprising Dip Dye trend on all the social networks...
There were also a great number of people who spoke about trying to copy it or trying to order a copy from somebody else. Once again illustrating how incomplete the general understanding is about Copyright.
If you were in the shoes of the Maker, how would YOU feel to hear these conversations?
This is a great way of figuring out whether you are doing something ethical or unethical when using another work for inspiration. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who made the original work. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if I made this creative work and saw somebody else copying it in this way?
And then, there is the compelling conversation on the other side of the wheel, presented by one of my FAVOURITE Fiber Artists, Katwise...
What Does It Cost To Hire Top Talent In Fiber Art?
This is the question that Abby Franquemont answers in concise detail in this fantastic blog. Click through to the link and have a read if you would like to know what the industry unit standard is currently.
As a Fiber Artist who has worked extensively for the local Fashion Industry and who has published two books with editions in South Africa, USA, Canada and Russia, I still often get requests from people who ask for workshops and then ask "Do I have to pay?"
The common perception, when we dig deeper, seems to be that Creatives work for Love, not money, and that that should be good enough for us. It is very difficult to continue loving something, when pursuing it excludes you financially from so many things that "other people" seem to be doing with their financial resources like pay rent, food, medical, education, savings and a pension.
If you spend a lifetime on the outside looking in at that while you doggedly persist with the work that you thought you loved in the beginning, you do not love that work in the end. You might go to your grave with bitterness for the very thing that you Loved because you feel that you wasted years chasing a dream that was not real.
Redyeing Your Faded Denims
This week we have had a deluge of inquiries from people who want to have their old second hand things restored with dye by a professional. THIS IS NOT A SERVICE THAT WE OFFER. If you read the website you will see that we supply CRAFT DYE KITS for home use.
We do not dye second hand garments, carpets, couch covers, car seat covers or wet-suits for anybody, ever. Not even if you beg us.
You can try Paul at XClusiv Colors 4U on 0792537526. Please contact him directly. He is in NO WAY affiliated with our company. We are simply providing you with a number that you can try.
If you are a Fashion Designer looking for custom printed cloth, you can try Imaterial
Manmade vs Natural Dye
Almost every week I get an inquirey from somebody looking for a natural dye that they can use to manufacture a more environmentally friendly product. The issue may not be quite as simple as that. Let us compare the two to figure out the real story.
Chemicals are mined from the earth and synthesized into man made dyestuffs. Natural dyes are made from natural materials, gathered from the environment, such as lichen and bark.
Ten grams of man made dye powder can dye 250 grams of fabric to a vibrant shade, every time, if used correctly. Natural dyestuffs will have variable shades. Vibrancy depends on the potency of the raw materials. As much as two kilograms of raw material is needed to produce very dark colours on 250 grams of fabric.
Man made dyes result in the same colour every time if used correctly. It is possible to get an exact colour match using these chemicals. Natural dyes will give you varying colours, every time. Colour changes with the potency of the raw materials. This is governed by climate, soil and plant dna.
Heavy metals in certain man made colours, fixatives and other chemicals used in the process put a burden on the environment and the health of the people working with them daily. Mordants used to fix natural dyes will have exactly the same effect if you create enough waste and do not dispose of it in a responsible fashion.
Man made dyes are robust and colour fast over many washes of they have been used correctly. Natural dyes will fade over time.
People often assume that if they can find a natural dye, they are free of the guilt that they might feel about polluting the environment with their commerce. The truth is, no human activity is without its footprint.
In fact, the dye is only part of the problem. What about the fabric that you are about to dye? Was it produced with organically grown cotton that has not been genetically modified? Were the workers on the farm treated fairly or were they children? Was water used responsibly throughout all stages? Was the fibre scoured with chlorine in the mill? Chlorine is one of the most damaging chemicals out there.
The answer seems not to lie in the chemicals, but rather how to dispose of them in a responsible manner. We cannot escape our responsibility, but the least we can do is minimize the damage. If you would like to explore the thinking further, you might be interested in our eBook...
With so many things to consider, finding a natural dyestuff is not the quick-fix you might be hoping for.
How Does Slipstream Dye For Animal Fibers Work?
While the product comes with full instructions, one of our loyal customers, Ronel Stronkhorst from Women With Curves, has published a blog about her process of dyeing a bra orange. She documented it so beautifully that we feel her explanation is far better than ours.
Click through to the link below to read what she has to say...
What Do I Do If I Spill Bleach On My Trousers?
As a dye specialist, this is the most common question that I am asked by people. I do not have a simple answer for this challenge.
Dye is translucent, not opaque. This means that the light actually passes through the colour and reflects off the white fabric behind it. Dye is see-through. When working with it, imagine working with sheets of coloured transparency film with light shining from behind.
It is this quality that leads to such vibrant results when experimenting with dyed techniques. It means that the base cloth can be seen through subsequent layers of dye. If the base is uneven, the next layer will also appear uneven.
It is very difficult to cover bleach marks. You will have to completely saturate the fibre to get rid of the mark. The lighter marks may reappear later in subsequent washes as the fabric fades again. Those particular fibres will always have less dye on them than those that were not bleached.
Bleach is very destructive, and if you did not wash it out thoroughly just after the spill happened, it is likely to damage the fibre. A fibre that has been softened in this way may not hold dye very well either. This further reduces your chances of solving the problem.
When faced with this dilemma (yes, I too am clumsy), there are only two routes that do not lead to more heartache:
If the spill is relatively small, I find a permanent black marker at my local stationer that is closest in colour and simply colour it in. Remember to keep the marker in your handbag because the ink is bound to fade and will need touching up once in awhile. (You will usually notice it on the way to a job interview or a meeting with an important investor.)
If the spill is large and the “koki-treatment” just too tacky, I simply go with the flow. I go outside to the hosepipe with the garment, the bottle of bleach, a syringe and some rubber gloves. I put on the rubber gloves, draw some bleach into the syringe and squirt it all over the garment to create an artistic dripped effect. As soon as I see the marks I want emerging, I spray the fabric off with the hosepipe to slow down the reaction.
Do not stand too close to such a project. The chlorine gas released by the reaction smells bad and can make you very ill. Try not to breathe in the fumes and wear a face mask if you have one.
I have created some fabulous “designer” garments for myself from some of my clumsier moments.
Wash the fabric thoroughly to remove all the bleach. How many washes will depend on how strong the bleach was that you used. When you can no longer smell it, you can stop washing. If you leave traces of bleach in the fabric, it will weaken the fibre and you can expect the garment to tear.
Good luck with your spill.
Written by Melanie Brummer
Author of Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press)
Rated one of the top 5 Tie Dye books of all time.
Order your copy on Amazon at the link below...
Hot Or Cold Dye?
What is the difference between a Hot and a Cold reactive dye? One would think it is quite obvious; the one is used with hot water and the other with cold. Almost every commercial dye available is labelled this way. Unfortunately, for the consumer who buys this product, this labeling is a little misleading.
A Hot reactive dye requires boiling at one hundred degrees Celsius for the bond with the fabric to be permanent. A Cold reactive dye does not need to be boiled, but its optimum temperature is still sixty five to seventy degrees. If you measure this heat with a thermometer, you will see that it is still steaming hot. I have burned blisters on my skin at that temperature.
The other misconception that people have is that they assume the Hot dye is more colour-fast than the Cold one because you have boiled the colour in. This is not so. Cold dyes are more robust and colours will remain brighter for longer than Hot dyes. The cooler process is not only a little easier, it is also more lasting.
Cold reactive dyes are very reliable and used throughout the global clothing and textile industries to permanently colour fabrics made from plant fibres. The dyes react with the fibre on a molecular level to produce a permanent bond that withstands wash after wash. The colour becomes part of the fabric.
A Cold reactive dye is, in my opinion, the most convenient by far for the hobby dyer.
It can be used to dye any fabric that starts out as a plant, i.e. cotton, linen, hemp and bamboo. Any fabrics with these bases will bond with reactive dye, e.g. denim, twill, calico, muslin, T-shirting, toweling, corduroy, cotton velvet, viscose, track suiting, poplin and cheesecloth.
Cotton/lycra and viscose/lycra blends also work well, providing the lycra content is under five percent. Reactive dye does not bond to lycra. Poly/cotton blends will only take the dye partially. The cotton fibres that run in one direction will take up the dye normally, but the polyester fibres that run in the other direction will remain white.
Because these dyes are used at high temperatures, expect your fabric to shrink.
The fabric is woven on a loom in the factory, where it takes its dimensions from the equipment. From there it is usually put through a stent which steams the fabric into the desired dimensions for shipping. Sometimes there are variances in fabrics that come off the same equipment. Research has shown that such variances are caused by differences in the cotton fibres used. A fabric made from a crop that has had more water will behave differently from one that had less water in the field. Fabric stability is fibre-specific and will vary from one roll to the next.
Most cotton fabrics shrink about ten percent in the length. The width is usually stable to within one or two percent.
Why kids of ALL AGES love tie dye!
* They have to dress up to do it…We recommend kids kit up with mask and apron to make tie dye. This will protect their clothes from spills that stain. By far their favourite is the latex gloves they have to put on to keep their hands clean. I am told they make for very good water bombs when you are ten years old.
* It gets messy! Most kids enjoy activities that are messy…of course!?
* They play with color. Most children love to play with bright colors. Color is known to stimulate the brain in a number of ways.
* They work with their hands. Tie dye improves strength and fine motor co-ordination in the hands. Children are forced to work with both hands using string and elastic bands.
* They have to follow a set of instructions from beginning to end, in order to achieve a desired result. This teaches children to read, concentrate, think logically and analyse their results. All skills they can use in later life.
* It gives them a sense of achievement and self-worth. Having successfully made something on their own fills a child with a great sense of pride which leads to more confidence in their own abilities.
* Tie dye lends itself to self-expression and uniqueness. Children learn about uniqueness and the beauty of a hand-made thing. These are old-fashioned values that have been lost in our mass produced society.
* The Wow Moment! Kids love the moment when the bindings come off and the end result is finally revealed. I call it the Wow Moment. After more than tweny years, I still experience it every time I open a new tie dye.
* They get to wear what they have made. Kids get an even bigger boost to their confidence when they are praised for work well done. Every time they wear their tie dye, somebody will tell them how beautiful it is, or ask where they got it.
* Conclusion…tie dye is a kids-confidence-builder…and it is fun!