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Isabell finds passion, peace through tie-dye projects

April 19, 2021 | 12:11 am

Updated April 18, 2021 | 8:07 pm

Nick Isabell

Nick Isabell said he doesn’t view himself as an artist, but his ever-growing collection of tie-dyed and handmade inventory tells a different story. After ordering his first set of tie-dying materials in 2018, Isabell has spent the last three years learning and evolving in his craft. 

Not only does Isabell tie-dye a variety of items — including dresses, tapestries and shoes — but he embroiders many of his products with a sewing machine. 

When it comes to tie-dying, the process is “very chemistry-oriented,” Isabell said. Finding the right balance in pH levels, humidity and temperature are tasks of their own, but Isabell also mixes his own colors to create the best shades for his projects. 

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“It can be a time-consuming process,” he said. “I learned almost everything by watching YouTube videos.” 

Isabell said he always enjoyed chemistry, so the tie-dying process came pretty naturally to him. Most of Isabell’s projects contain a variety of bright colors, such as blue, green, yellow, pink, orange and purple. 

“I like colors that pop on the fabric,” Isabell said, adding that it took a lot of mixing and experimenting to create the bright pink color he used for several of his tapestries. 

Inspired by bands like The Grateful Dead, Isabell said a lot of his artistic style stems from the 1980s culture. 

Aside from tie-dye, Isabell customizes iron-on patches and drink koozies using a computer software program that gives him the ability to create designs. 

The first music festival Isabell and his wife Harmony attended as vendors was what really convinced the Indiana native that he was talented. All of his inventory was sold by the end of the first day. 

“That’s when I first realized, ‘Wow, people really like my work,’” he said. 

Isabell, who is in line to become the next owner of Little Einsteins Too!, said he brings his non-toxic dyes to the daycare center often, giving the kids the chance to create their own splashes of color on T-shirts they get to take home with them. 

Looking ahead, Isabell said he hopes to open his own brick-and-mortar location where he can sell his garments and products alongside an array of local artwork. For now, he’s still taking the time to figure out his style and aesthetic. 

“I have fun with it. It’s relaxing for me to get to spend time on a project and play with different colors and patterns,” he said. “The long-term goal in my life is to get to do something I enjoy every day.” 

April 19, 2021 | 12:11 am

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