Two sisters, two coasts, one blog



To prepare a dye bath, one must carefully weigh the fabric, measure dye powder, chemical catalyst, water, salt and then combine them in a particular order, being careful not to splash or stain. But once the fabric is in the bath, an almost instantaneous and (to me) endlessly magical transformation occurs.

One color becomes another, the density and hand of the fabric changes.


Each fabric takes the dye up a little differently, so that when dyeing a piece made with more than one type of material, one can end up with shades of color, one of the reasons I love to garment dye.

On my morning walks with Stella, I’m seeing plants of all kinds waking up, budding, blooming. Sometimes it feels as if it’s happening before my eyes, as instantaneous and magical as the dye bath.

We walk through our neighborhood, past large brick houses with stately manicured lawns, past a church, a daycare, a school, the homes abruptly becoming more modest, some with old vinyl chairs on the porch, some with wind chimes, painted eggs hanging in a tree.

We wind our way up a hill, past planned greenways and places wild from neglect, and slowly the yards and houses get bigger again, two storied or long low ranch style.

And of course, Rucha and I have experienced a transformation of a sort, having had another birthday. 38, hard to imagine, that I’m so close to 40. It’s bittersweet, leaving my 30’s, becoming truly an adult (ha!). Kirk got me flowers, which are still blooming, beautifully, on the dining table.


10 Responses to “Transformation”

  1. ruchapowers

    Great photos! I love the bodice on the dress form and the yellow house with the hot pink blooms (garish!). What are you dying with the gorgeous blue?..had my toenails done in the same tone yesterday. I can feel the transformation of Spring too. Go with it’s energy…your shows are going to turn out great. Oh, and p.s brownie points to your husband for the bouquet!

    • oami powers

      Kirk and I talked to the lady who owns the yellow house one day, she was sitting outside on the front porch with her two dogs. I liked the house a lot more after we talked to her, she was funny & sassy so it suits her!

      I’ll add some more photos of the finished pieces later this week when I can snap some pics on a model…the ones on the dress form didn’t turn out so well. The bodice is a bamboo jersey tank, tucked into a highwaisted, full linen skirt. The blue fabric is my sprout print over-dyed, and is destined to become the cocktail dress. At some point.

  2. modaspia

    happy birthday oami ! ha, late 30’s … you guys are babies still!
    oami, that blue is pretty cool ! as the cocktail dress, wowee. is that in the show then?
    i love all the pictures. it actually looks kinda like fall, pretty..jealous of that pink dogwood tree. is that in your yard?
    i agree, interesting to see what’s growing now…i keep trying to identify what’s coming up in our yard.

    • oami powers

      All the tree pics are from our walk…the dogwood outside our house is white, and we have a smaller yellow, but no pink. I think we’ll have to plant one so we can have all three colors.
      I’m going to show the hand painted cocktail dress again in the fashion show, it will be available for special order, the blue version will be stocked at the booth. Everything will go up for sale online too.

  3. Norman Ross Powers

    I liked how, with a handful of brief paragraphs and a dozen photos you deftly sketched examples in your life of at least five different kinds of primal tranformation/transition, each morphing into the next. You told me you were fighting sleep late at night when you wrote this, and what I think you got is a sort of dream-flow, a poem almost.

  4. kelly smith-tilly

    Hey, that’s the dreamy fabric we were all touching the other night at your house! I love how the tank turned out. And all the dying is so beautiful. Next time you’re doing that, I’d love to come over and see it happening. And your outdoor shots are so pretty. I love spring in NC.

    • oami powers

      It is! I’m going to have to name it the Tilly Tank since you convinced me to use it for a tank rather than curtains! I’m doing another round of dyeing this week, I’ll email you the day before….


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