Why Tie-dye?

It’s shaping up to be a year of reviewing the history of certain Seed events.  Tie-dye day is at the top of the list.  I’ve looked over my blogs about tie-dye, written since 2012, and each one takes a slightly different slant on the event.  One year looked at it as a rite of passage, while another focused on the innovative aspect of the art form.  Yet another post emphasized the teamwork of staff and parents who organized the event.  As I read through each year’s reflection on tie-dye day, I wondered what else I could possibly say about it.  Then it occurred that it might be interesting to look at the “why” behind our decision to offer this celebration of color year after year.

It’s no secret that the Seed’s roots go back to the 1970s when tie-dye was part of the pop culture.  The school started as an alternative approach to education, emphasizing a child-centered, innovative curriculum.  Within the carefully planned environment, from toddlers to elementary students, the Seed has always given children opportunities to make learning their own, expressing what they know in unique, creative ways.  It made sense that school shirts should reflect this way of thinking.

Earliest forms of tie-dye date back to Peru  between 500 to 810 AD.  An 8th century tie-dye practice called shibori originated in Japan.  Some believe tie-dye techniques from Nigeria inspired modern day designs in the western world.  Particularly in the 1960s, tie-dye became popular in psychedelic circles, then spread to a wider population as cheaper dyes became available for people to decorate items at home.  Additionally, high end fashion designers made one-of-a-kind garments, inspired by the tie-dye movement.  

Aside from the unique, free form quality of tie-dye, there’s a practical reason for applying this technique annually to our school shirts.  We invite our students to get messy, both indoors and outside.  Tie-dye shirts easily mask drops of paint and splotches of mud.  Such additions to tie-dye shirts over time bring character and a bit of history to the artist’s (and teacher’s) wardrobe.  The need to be careful not to ruin nice clothing is eliminated, giving free expression an opportunity to flourish.  

One new feature of our approach to tie-dye this year is the pre-order/payment process.  To streamline the process, all shirts will pre-ordered and the price of dyeing the shirt is included in the cost of the shirt.  Anyone wishing to dye other items will be charged an additional fee.  If you’ve never done tie-dye before, we hope you’ll give this event a chance.  Lots of help will be available before the big day to tie shirts and with the dyeing process the day of.  In case you want to read more about this most excellent Seed event, check out these links: