Bay Area tie-dye artist, Jason White specializes in traditional and unique, custom-made designs. He crafts ancient art patterns that are centuries-old as well as his own creations. White offers his tie-dye artistry on a variety of wearable items and tapestries. “If it’s white cotton, I can dye it,” he stated. White guarantees the tie-dyes are done in the “Dead Family tradition.” White sold tie-dye outside Grateful Dead shows before he started making it himself. “To make more money, I needed to make my own,” he said. Thus, White sought out to learn the art of tie-dye. While visiting Galveston, he met tie-dye artists Joe and Jennifer Luther. According to White, they were the sole artists of their kind selling handmade hemp and tie-dye wears along the beach at that time. White and Joe Luther recognized one another from the Grateful Dead tours. White asked to learn how to make tie-dye. Luther agreed but insisted that White learn the “hard way.” White assisted by carrying water buckets, mixing dyes and wringing out t-shirts and fabrics. He said he learned from the “Kung-Fu-Tie-Dye Master.” Fifteen years later, White is running Texifornia Tye-Dyes. He’s creating his own designs and selling them online along with his girlfriend Mosey Giroux and partner Blake Plsek. White’s designs range from ancient mandalas to modern guitars. White’s works have come a long way from the common tie-dye spiral patterns associated with the 1960s. He decided to get out of the traditional patterns and created his own. “My guitars are very rare designs,” White remarked. “They set me apart from other artists.”
He added the process is “real work and can take days to pull off.” White said the details are more complex than the tie-dyes of the 1960s. White explained the process begins with pre-soaking the fabric in soda ash and wringing out. Depending on the design, White said he draws a design onto the fabric. Then, he folds the fabric and wraps with string to create the “lines.” White stated he usually folds all day. He joked, “It’s like baking cookies. It’s easier to do 12 at a time.” Next, White mixes the dyes and injects the color with needles “one drop at a time to place the color right where I want it.
“It allows for more accuracy over other techniques,” he added. The fabric generally sets overnight and dries in the morning sun. Finally, White opens the designs and rinses them three to four times to prevent bleeding. White admitted he’s sometimes surprised how the patterns turn out.
He said he studies the angles and aspects of the folds. White noted, “It’s like cutting snowflakes out of paper.” He stated he also learns from each project and has determined what he may see as a mistake is simply something he wasn’t expecting.
Recently, White joined forces with the Morphis Art Collective. He stretches dye pieces for paintings. White proudly shared that it has given him recognition in the art community as an artist and not ”just a maker of clothes.”
White is also a musician and member of the local band, Mama Tried. He sells his pieces at their shows. Find Mama Tried at Cabo on Monday nights or view more of White’s wearable art and tapestries online at https://www.facebook.com/texifornia.tyedyes or call 832-883-1603.