Every two weeks, I will be profiling an extraordinary human being who lives in our community. If you know someone who is doing something interesting with their life or has an inspiring story to share, I want to hear about it. Send me an email at [email protected].
There’s nothing black and white about Jason Martin.
“I love colour,” says the eccentric Huntsville native.
And the proof is in the pudding. Jason is a master at the art of tie-dyeing. It’s something he’s been doing since he was just a kid. It was a way to kill time when he had all the time in the world and now it’s ignited into a full-blown passion.
“I remember being on my parents’ deck with buckets of cheap dye from the Dominion Store. We didn’t have YouTube back then. We were just experimenting with making a mess and it turned out interesting. I never stopped messing around with it.”
Jason is 46 now and he’s no longer experimenting with making a mess. His level of skill and the quality of his handmade creations are nothing short of breath-taking.
He creates the bold and the beautiful and that has garnered the attention of people from all walks of life. Because, really, you’re never too old or too young to rock some serious colour. Jason can’t help but smile when he talks about the pair of socks he made for his oldest customer. She was 101.
The thing about tie-dyeing is that it’s always blowing my mind. The colours mix differently and the patterns are always interesting. It’s multicolour, it’s multidimensional… you can never do the same thing in a tie or a compression and you never have variables that are the same and I think that’s awesome.
Over the years of twisting and turning and tying and folding and compressing, Jason has become an expert (although he humbly declines the title of an expert because he says he’s forever learning). Different techniques yield different results. There isn’t a style he hasn’t tried nor an item he hasn’t tie-dyed. He’s made everything from pants and t-shirts to underwear and socks; onesies for babies to yoga pants and one-piece jumpers; curtains, bedsheets and pillowcases to altar cloths and recyclable bags.
His evolution has been natural: it’s evident he’s gone from being good to great to amazing. He’s progressed from the most commonly known method of tie-dyeing using elastics to “taking it a step further” and using artificial sinew to create a greater resistance and intensify patterns. He’s incorporated silk screening into his creations as well as a variety of metal objects which, when compressed with the fabric, can leave different shapes.
Right now, Jason is working on introducing a botanical line of one-of-a-kind pieces using natural plant dyes and materials. This ancient Chinese/Japanese technique of dyeing, called Shibori, has inspired him in a refreshing way. He’s used material such as rayon, bamboo and hemp and will tell you that each fabric boasts a unique attribute. He absolutely loves the silky texture of bamboo. Rayon is even silkier. He’s also been tapping into his mathematical side as he ventures into this new technique.
I wasn’t a scholar in school by any means but it’s using sacred geometry in a series of folds and it’s the little images that create the beauty.
By playing around with plant-based dyes, Jason’s made some remarkable findings. (The fact that the Martin household eats mostly a plant-based diet helps provide the necessary ingredients to experiment with).
“Who would have thought that turmeric is like sunshine on fabric or avocado makes an incredible pink?”
Colour has a magical way of bringing people together, just like music. It speaks to people. Jason’s been to hundreds of concerts in his lifetime (he tries to make it to at least two a month with his lovely wife, Wendy) and he’s never been to a concert where he hasn’t seen someone wearing tie-dye. It seems to have held its appeal in making a subtle yet revealing statement.
“The thing about tie-dye is that it connects people to a moment in their life when they truly felt free. It takes them back to their youth or adolescence. It’s like an unconscious pull, and that’s a beautiful thing.”
(Check out more of Jason’s creations at www.muskokatyedye.com)
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