THRIVE combines my two favorite pastimes, yoga and Indigo dying. Gretchie Wagner, the designer and maker behind this Atlanta based label, focuses on hand-dyed yoga and meditation accessories such as Zafu meditation cushions, lavender & flax seed eye pillows, and the coolest yoga mat bags I have ever seen.
The beautiful words below explain her inspiration and process:
This is me and this is my small business.
I found Thrive when I found yoga. It was the typical story of new girl meets new city. Looking to try something different, I started taking yoga and meditation classes. In hindsight, yoga might not have been the best activity for trying to make new friends in a new city, but it did help me find a truer calling.
It all started with one meditation cushion. And then another. At the beginning they were all for friends, or friends of friends, but eventually a few months in, I got my first order online and the rest was history. I compiled countless prototypes to create my own sewing patterns that are continually evolving. Next thing I knew there was a whole product line, Thrive was born and I was in the throes of running a business from my kitchen table.
With each collection I like to experiment with different dye methods and product designs that continually push my technique and creativity in new directions. Hand dyeing the fabric for each order is a humbling process and reminds me of how much I’ve grown and how much more there is to learn. I’m not an expert, but I sure know a lot about tie dye.
Since the beginning, I’ve moved to a bigger city with a smaller studio, but the joy I find in my work continues to grow alongside Thrive.
Slowly but surely, I develop new collections from concept sketches, to dyeing, sewing and shipping the final products. When there’s free time, I’m adventuring around Atlanta listening to live music and drinking lemon/honey tea, but most days when all the boxes are packed up and ready to ship, you’ll find me sweeping the floors of my home studio.
The Tie Dyer
When I first laid eyes on the work of Garner Blue, I knew I wanted to share it with you. Lisa Garner, the designer/maker/owner of Garner Blue, creates breathtaking Indigo pieces for the body and home. Her work is nothing short of captivating and the photography on her site causes a serious spark of inspiration. Lisa not only creates textiles, but she also makes the coolest hand-dyed birch wood earrings.
Since I love talking with other Indigo enthusiasts, I jumped at the chance to ask her about our shared passion.
H & F: How did you first become interested in natural dyeing?
Lisa from Garner Blue: I first got into indigo dyeing to actually teach a quick workshop on it at a weekend camp my friend and I organized to dive into a few fine craft methods (basics of leather working, rope tying a door mat and photo transfers on wood were the other projects). So I learned as much as I could to teach about it to a group of a dozen women and while learning I realized how much i enjoyed it (and how much more there is to learn!)
H & F: Do you have a favorite tool you use in your dyeing process? (clamp, wax, string, etc.)
Lisa from Garner Blue: This summer I’m hoping to experiment with some more resists but for now i’m having fun with some non- traditional forms like cassette tapes and shapes i cut out of wood and acrylic to create different patterns.
H & F: Where do you derive your inspiration from?
Lisa from Garner Blue: inspiration comes from all over for sure but rocks, shells, woodgrains, leaves, well loved textiles, Turkish kilim, and always the work of creative friends.
H & F: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from all your experience with natural dyes?
Lisa from Garner Blue: I actually only have experience with indigo…I’m sure at some point I’ll venture into others but for now i really enjoy the indigo being the constant in what i’m making. And I feel like such a newbie still– but I’ve learned to not rush the process, and as silly as this sounds to respect the dye vat. It feels a little like a dance, even though i know some say it’s a science.
Thanks Lisa! xx
I am all about the vibe and spirit of the textile artist and maker Karina Manarin. Based in Arizona, Karina is inspired by the textural, vast desert landscapes. Her hand-dyed pieces vary in color, from rich indigo to desert bloom peach. I also love the silhouettes of her clothing, which are effortless and perfect for this upcoming summer.
Charlotte Bartels, the artist behind the shop Rejell, makes the coolest Shibori totes. I love this simple shape and the symmetry of her patterns.
Here is her SHOP.
Every once in awhile I am completely inspired, and this is one of those moments. Rachel Blodgett, from Serpent & Bow is creating unique pieces that are like no other I have seen. She specializes in hand-dyed Indigo bralettes and underwear, each representing a moon cycle.
Each piece is truly a work of art.
From her Etsy page, she describe their process, “At Serpent & Bow we use Batik wax resist to create imagery on our garments and textiles. A mixture of beeswax and paraffin are heated to the perfect temperature (not boiling, but hot enough to penetrate through cloth) create the perfect formula for textile painting (not too crumbly, not too greasy). Using a tjanting (a traditional Indonesian batik tool), or a sumi brush, we slowly paint each design onto our cloth, making sure the wax has blocked out the design on both sides of the cloth. After the design is complete, the cloth is submerged into the indigo vat. To get different shades of blue, we wait for the dyed cloth to dry, then apply more layers of wax and continue dyeing the cloth to successive shades of blue until the fabric reaches the coveted deep indigo.”
Image credits: SERPENT & BOW
Today’s inspiration comes from these West African vintage textiles from Woman Shops World. Some of the above items have recently sold, but I highly recommend checking out her shop to see what’s new (there is SO much more to discover). The story behind Woman Shops World is so inspiring. She gets to travel the world, support international artisans, and sell their goods online to people who don’t have the means to travel to faraway lands. On her “about” page, she writes, “As humans, we create borders and name countries, but I believe we are all one and the same. WomanShopsWorld is an extension of my love of and fascination with humankind, travel, color, and love of the world.”
Read her Etsy feature here.