May 292012
 

I worked on a new batik gi.  I don’t know why, but I ended up determined to put an image of Cthulhu on the back.  For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Cthulhu was created by H.P. Lovecraft, a horror fiction author from back around the turn of the 20th Century.

Click here for images of Cthulhu.  And if you’re interested in reading the stories, the entire H.P. Lovecraft library has been published online as it has fallen out of copyright.  Call of Cthulhu, for example, can be downloaded here.

It was my first project where I really tried to do something with multiple colors and build the final color of the gi with multiple dye-baths.  Overall, it worked out pretty well.  I’m going to have to learn to be a bit more patient applying the wax, but that will come. 

Batik, I’m learning, is like drawing really fast with a magic marker that bleeds.  Or, have you guys seen pictures of classical Chinese calligraphers?  I imagine them with large paint brushes wet with ink that they apply to the paper with quick, deft brushstrokes.  Well, batik is like that, except that I am just learning to control the brush.  But I’m thoroughly hooked.

Below is stage one.  A blank canvas, so to speak.  The canvas in this case is a generic, Lucky Gi knockoff, A3 (actual fit is somewhere between A2 and A3).  The quality is actually REALLY good.  The top is a high quality, gold weave material, and the bottom is heavy, canvas.  All of it had green, offset stitching and details. 

I hand drew a picture of our buddy, Cthulhu, on the back of the gi.  I did it big, because he is the ultimate evil, after all. 

cthulhu1

The next step was to block out only those areas that I wanted to remain white, or that I want to be able to dye bright red.  The final result looked like this:

cthulhu2

Okay.  Next step was the first dye bath: Kelly Green.  And the result:

cthulhu3

At this point, I had to re-draw my friend Cthulhu and then reapply more wax only where I wanted to keep the bright green, then another trip into the dye bath.  This time, Dark Green.  The result looked like this:

cthulhu4 

Okay.  Starting to come together.  At this point, I removed all of the wax and then applied more wax to those areas I wanted to protect and keep green.  At this stage, I’m going to dye it one more time, this time in Oxblood Red.  The result will give my gi its final color, while also making the eyes and some other highlights nice and bright red. 

Below is what the image looks like with the final application of wax:

cthulhu5

And then the finished product.  I added my belt so that you can get a sense of the color.

cthulhu6

And the front of the gi.  The finished product is pretty cool.  I didn’t spend as much time agitating the water as I should have.  Frankly, after three dye baths, I was getting impatient.  But the result looks like an intentionally uneven finish with areas of deep maroon/purple, and some green peeking through.  You can see a bit of that in the image below:

cthulhu7

Anyone want a one of a kind Cthulhu gi?  I’m pretty happy with it, but ultimately, I’m going to have to sell some of these projects to make room for more. 

Also, I think I’m going to start creating patches as a less expensive way to explore the batik side of things.  Let me know what you think!

May 062012
 
gray gi

I completed a couple of projects. The batik is for me.

I’m also offering a custom dye service for $60 for a limited time with your supplied gi, or $150 for a high quality pearl weave gi custom dyed in your choice of color. The gi I offer is the same as the dark green gi below.

Check out all the options at my store.

Mar 282012
 

Good times lately. I’ve been watching several food documentaries, and while I’m sure that people have their opinions on food, I’ve decided to give a vegetarian diet a try for a while. I don’t have any real moral compunction about eating animals. I like steak and chicken and don’t overthink our place at the top of the food chain. That said, I do try to buy food where it’s pretty clear that the only real bad day the animals had was their last one. Free range just seems to me to be healthier all the way around.

But I’m game, and it seems as though there are many fellow Jiu Jitsu practitioners who are vegan or vegetarian, so I’m looking forward to getting information and recipes. I’ve already received several great leads on websites, from the happyherbivore.com to information on the Dolce diet, which is a lot of vegetarian/vegan stuff.

Training regularly and feeling pretty good. I’m going to try and amp things up a little bit and compete at the Revolution in November. That’s the goal, but in order to do that I’ll need to drop a few pounds. To be clear, the diet stuff above isn’t about losing weight, but hopefully that’s a by product.

20120328-200415.jpg

Moving on. That’s the crew from Phantom BJJ. Great bunch of guys. We took a couple pictures, and that’s the hamming it up one. If you look carefully… okay, not too carefully… you’ll see a few of the gis I’ve dyed over the years. The one I’m wearing is one of my favorite gis, and the second one I ever dyed. It’s holding up really well. The orange one and the light green one are two others I’ve done.

I’ve also been pretty busy recently, doing a chocolate brown Gameness for Rhino and a Fire Red Hayabusa for Brandon. I’ve got a couple projects on tap, as well. I picked up one of the Prana “flow” gis and dyed it Mist Grey. I’m going to do a ShoYoRoll “The Count”, as well. Also Mist Grey.

One last thing. I’m going to do ScriptFrenzy again this year. 100 pages or more in one month. Write that screenplay that you’ve been dreaming of. Who’s with me? Last year, I wrote a first draft of a full length screenplay about, what else? BJJ. The goal this year is to push myself a little and write something with a little more dramatic heft. I don’t know if I’ve got the emotional gas tank to make that work, but I guess there’s no way to find out without trying.

Jan 182012
 

Me:  Brandon, I’d be happy to dye a gi for you.  What color are you thinking?

Brandon:  Can you do green?

Me:  Sure.  {pulls Dharma Trading up on my Droid} Which one do you like?

Brandon:  I like Bright Green.

Me:  Well…  that’s pretty bright.  It’s going to be as green as Bing’s gi is Orange.  You want it that bright?

Brandon:  Well, I want it bright.

Me:  How about one shade darker?  Let’s go with Kelly Green.

And that’s how we ended up here:

kelly-green 

PR66 aka Kelly Green. 

PreDye

Above is the gi before going into the dye vat.

rinsed

Here it is after a rinse cycle in the washer.  It’s still wet and has a lot of excess dye, so it’s a little darker than it will be once it’s dry.

washed (2)

Washed twice, but still wet.  All of the rogue color is gone, so this is pretty close to the final color.  It will still get a little lighter once it’s dry, but I think it’s pretty close to spot on according to the color chip below.

kelly-green 

And here’s the final product.  I hope Brandon likes it.  The color turned out close to flawless.  It’s very even, and I can’t see any imperfections.   He was very specific about wanting a really bright green, so I think he’s going to be very happy.  I put my belt on there to provide a little context, so you can see that the color is pretty accurate.

greengi4

What do you think? 

And if you’re interested in doing your own projects, please take a look at my step by step guide.

Mar 032010
 
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Ryan picked up a Teko gi that was slightly used.  It’s in great shape, but was a little dingy.  No big deal.  I washed it with vinegar and it brightened back up very well.   If you want to know why I swear by vinegar, check out my article on Washing the Gi

Any discoloration came right out.  But Ryan said that I could play around with it.   I’ve really been holding off dying this gi until I had one of my own, but that hasn’t happened.  I do have a new Warrior One gi I’m going to dye, but I’m not quite ready to batik it yet, so instead of waiting any longer, I figured I’d better get Ryan his gi back.

When I ordered Bing’s orange dye (that I’m going to probably do next), I picked up another color as well: Wedgewood Blue.  I really wasn’t sure what it would look like.  My concern was that it would come out too light.  You know, not manly enough.  That’s when I remembered that Ryan didn’t care what color I dyed his gi.  I threatened to dye it pink several times and he was okay with it.  So, I figured this was my opportunity to try out this color.

Overall, I think it’s a very cool color.  It’s lighter than the standard blue, but came out very evenly colored.  As usual, the patches and dye failed to take the color, which gives it a nice, finished look.