More About Gigi’s Thailand Trip

(Newsletter reprint)

In response to our last newsletter some of you told us that you enjoyed the report about Gigi’s Thailand trip and that you wanted to hear more about it.

Obviously the big news was, as reported previously, that Gigi got to do an internship with the owner of our studio in Bangkok, Thailand, who is one of the very few people in the world with this great mastery of the traditional Mudmee tie-dye art.

Gigi had left Thailand many years ago to live in the US and now she had to re-learn what citizens of Bangkok have to do most every day – battling traffic. Since Gigi had left, Bangkok has expanded immensely. The increase in car traffic had brought it nearly to a stand-still. Often traffic is just grid-locked and you get faster from one place to another by walking.

But Thais are creative and inventive and solutions on different levels have been implemented to get a grip on the situation. On the private level are the operators of motor cycle taxis! Unimaginable for us here in the US, but a viable means of getting around cheaply in Bangkok.

One of the city-wide solutions for the traffic grid-lock has been the construction of the Sky-Train lines. These are (often elevated) city trains that quickly connect main points of the city, a very big city with estimates of size range from 7 to 20 million people.

When Gigi had to learn to commute to her internship, she had to employ several of the new means of transportation. Taking a normal taxi or private car would have just taken too long.

So, leaving the house of her friend, where she lived during her stay in Bangkok, she had to walk only a short distance until she could flag down one of the motor cycle taxis. The very low fare bought her a seat on the back and a short and sometimes scary ride to the next sky train station. After that it was half an hour on the train and then another ride with either a regular cab or another motor cycle taxi.

The whole trip took her between 60 and 90 minutes – not too bad for a commute in Bangkok. Then she put on her student hat and went to work. In the last newsletter we showed Gigi working on one piece being tied. I found this picture showing one element completed…

One part of a tie-dye piece finished tied

You can clearly see how tightly rubber bands are used to create resistant areas in the garment. When the whole piece is prepared like this – and HOW it is prepared that is the artistry – then it’s time for the bath in the dye.

There are many different dyes and methods, the one depicted here uses dye that is heated up pretty high to accomplish a fast and thorough setting of the color…

heated tie-dye bathes

You can see here that each of the baths has it own burner with a gas supply line to keep the dyes at the required temperature.

OK, this was another interruption of your busy day and now we let you get back to your other activities.

Christmas is approaching in giant step now and if you still need that one special present fo a friend, loved one – or yourself, there is still time (although little) to get something from as we are shipping the same day by priority mail.

Our tie-dye bags make great presents as do the cotton jersey tie-dye scarves.

We are glad that you stayed with us to the very end of this letter and will see you at the tie-dye website

PS: Right after Christmas we are planning to set up a little show-case, you sending us pictures wearing out tie-dye pieces with the chance to win a free hoodie – would you be interested, please let us know. Send us an email or leave a comment – thanks!

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