STORY BY DAVID CLEWETT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKKI GIFFORD
Natalie Walheim, the founder of NadsDanks, produces custom, one-of-a-kind bleach dyes with far reaching design possibilities including hoodies, leggings, bandanas, wall art and shoes.
Seven years ago while living in Kalamazoo, Michigan and studying chemical engineering, Walheim met a woman who sold beautiful bleach dyes with a silk screen print on them. It took only a brief training before she understood the process and began creating her own custom bleach dyes.
“It is a craft meant to be passed from one person to another as a means of spreading art and energy throughout,” Walheim said.
Upon making her way to Bend she found the urge for an artistic release, a hobby beyond hiking and floating the river. She began making bleach dyed clothing in her garage about two and a half years ago and quickly developed her own unique style.
“The purpose and passion behind my art is trying to encompass a specific creative energy in my clothing that is comparable to the energy I give. My thought is that if my positive state of mind and creative flow can be regenerated into an article of clothing and passed along, that those vibes will resonate through the person wearing it and continue the spread of energy,” Walheim explained.
Walheim often provides two different mediums on her clothing. First is the actual dye designs and on top of that is a hand painted design. Even the most abstract item can inspire her and each shirt is completely unique from the last.
“Sometimes the strangest things make great stencils. Patterns on scarfs, dried pressed leaves, wall decorations, lace, even letters and numbers. I have so many designs that the combinations are endless. I’ll be in my studio and just look at a specific design and ta-da! A whole new concept I hadn’t thought of before,” Walheim confessed.
She frequently uses recycled doilies from antique or second-hand stores. Her most cherished doilies were originally made by her step-grandma. She repurposes second hand clothing and doilies bringing new life to each while keeping the prices down and making a clean impact on earth. NadsDanks is looking into an all organic style, most likely with T-shirts.
As NadsDanks continues seeking new customers and retail clients, Walheim’s creative energy is overflowing. She has an ever expanding catalogue and is creating a brand much larger than just bleach dyed clothing. She would like NadsDanks to tap into snow gear with bleach dyed prints on snowboarding helmets and pants. She plans to start creating art for walls including blankets, tapestries and canvasses.
“I had a few logos made by a good friend and even better designer Jason Emmet Dyl out of Portland. I’ll be teaming up with a local screen printing shop and will have my logo on the shirts as well. Possibly even patches. The sky is the limit,” Walheim said.
In addition to her Etsy sales, Walheim plans to stay active with booths and sales at regional festivals and events. “My plan is to be a vendor at local festivals, Saturday Markets and events here in Bend. My goal in years to come is to create a pop-up tent with a comfortable all-in-one atmosphere. Clothes, food, art, music and a safe, enjoyable place to rest at an event or festival. The NadsDanks House,” Walheim said.
Walheim is still working toward a degree in chemical engineering and hopes that NadsDanks can help her pay for college. She welcomes custom orders and embraces the challenge. She is available for wholesale orders for those wishing to supply her clothing in their shops and boutiques.
Walheim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and her clothing can be purchased at www.etsy.com/shop/NadsDanks.