CANTON — Jessie Corkins was driving home to Vermont Friday morning when something caught her eye: dozens of brightly-colored T-shirts flapping in the breeze in downtown Canton.
She decided to make a pit stop at the Canton Farmer’s Market to get a closer look.
The stand she was drawn to is operated by Ty W. Danboise, a 59-year-old Massena man who has been making and selling his tie-dye creations for more than 30 years.
For the past decade, he’s operated a farmer’s market stand at the corner of Main and Park streets.
Mr. Danboise said he has no plans to stop transforming white fabric into colorful clothing.
“Is that just fireworks or is there something else going on?” Mr. Corkins said, pulling out a T-shirt that was hanging on a rack with several others.
Besides long and short-sleeved T-shirts, customers can find tie-dyed tank top dresses for children, as well as scarves, onesies for babies and socks made from bamboo fabric.
“They’re super bright and sunny,” Ms. Corkins said as she looked through a rack of T-shirts. “You don’t always see good tie-dyes.”
Mr. Danboise said he doesn’t use rubber bands during the tie-dye process which takes place at his home, either on tables he sets up in the living room or on his back porch.
“It’s the spun and folded method. I just hand manipulate it,” he said while demonstrating how he creates folds. “You put the colors in different places in different ways, but all the patterns are some variation of a spiral.”
During the summer months, he spends about 40 hours a week on his tie-dye business, which includes dying the clothes at his home and selling them. Besides Tuesdays and Fridays at the Canton Farmer’s Market, on Sundays he’s a vendor at the Keene Farmer’s Market. He also works as a cashier at the Walmart store in Massena.
“I’m busy, but I like being outside in the summer,” he said.
He’s held tie dye workshops for children at Robert Moses State Park, Massena, and Coles Creek, Lisbon. He also held a tie-dye fundraiser to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and taught an adult class at SUNY Potsdam.
The response from customers is a rewarding part of his tie-dye business, Mr. Danboise said.
“The idea that people come looking for you is fun,” he said. “People are always telling me that they like how I make the town look so bright.”
The Rev. Michael Catanzaro, pastor of the Canton First Presbyterian Church, is a regular customer, who said he owns about 20 tie dye T-shirts. On Friday, he was looking for more.
“I come to Ty a couple of times a year and stock up on my tie dyes. If I’m not at work, I have a tie dye on.”
Linda Buchanan, West Stockholm, stopped Friday to pick out two tank dresses for her grand nieces.
“They live in South Africa and they’re going to be here this summer,” she said. “The kids love these.”
tHE GIST OF IT
n WHAT: Tie-dye stand in downtown Canton offers creations by Ty Danboise, Massena.
n WHERE: Corner of Main and Park streets
n WHEN; Tuesdays and Fridays during Canton Farmer’s Market