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Peace, Love, and DIY at Johnson City Library Program on Tie-Dying

Learn the art of tie-dying Oct. 11 during the Johnson City Library’s first free program in its Do It Yourself Craft Series.

While tie-dyed clothing was ubiquitous in the 1960s, it’s a fashion statement that actually dates back to the sixth century in Peru, India, Japan, and Africa.

And it could be making a comeback in Johnson City on Oct. 11.

The Johnson City Library begins its free Do It Yourself Craft Series with the Tie-Dye Designs on Fabrics workshop at noon Thursday. That will be followed by Graphic T-Shirt Design with Cricut at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Cricut is a brand of die-cutting machines with which you can, with the help of a computer, design and cut out designs in fabric, leather, paper, and even balsa wood.

The third workshop in the series is Painting with Alcohol, which is 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24. Participants will use Sharpies to draw and color designs on fabric, aluminum foil, or ceramic tiles. They will then apply rubbing alcohol, which will give it a stained-glass look.

All three workshops repeat in November. The library is located at 501 N. Nugent Ave.

For the tie-dye workshop, the library will provide the space and dyes; you bring the clothing or material (100 percent cotton is best, but cotton and polyester blends will work).

The process includes tying up material with bands and soaking it in a variety of dyes to create colorful, circular patterns or lines.

RSVP for the program by calling the library at (830) 868-4469.

Kristen Axtell will teach the tie-dye workshops, while library staff will lead the others.

While it’s associated with America’s counterculture movement, tie dying actually found its way to the country in 1909 by way of Charles E. Pellow, a professor at Columbia University, who gave a lecture about and demonstration of the ancient technique.

Several decades later, Rit Dye, an all-purpose dye that can be used to color most natural fabrics, was struggling to find a market. Rit’s Don Price began a campaign targeting the hippies of New York City’s Greenwich Village, who shunned suits and ties and formal attire.

It was a success, and the rest was fashion history.

Johnson City Librarian Maggie Goodman said the series of DIY workshops can help people get a jumpstart on their Christmas lists. She suggested creating your tie-dye items at the first workshop and coming back for the Cricut class to add a logo or a saying.

“The Cricut machine is tied to a computer program,” Goodman said. “It lets you design any type of logo or picture. The computer sends the information to the Cricut. The Cricut cuts the design out of vinyl. We’ll put the sticky vinyl onto a T-shirt, mugs, or anything you can think of to have a logo.”

The series is possible because of a grant consortium of six libraries for the “Do It Yourself Rolling Technology.” The grant is from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The Bulverde-Spring Branch Library staff members wrote the grant.

“Bulverde bought the equipment, and we get to use it,” Goodman said.

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