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The Best Tie Dye Tapestries Ever!

Updated on September 12, 2014

Grateful Dead Tie Dye Artist

Courtenay Pollock was the man that really popularized tie dye in the beginning of the seventies on the Grateful Dead scene. I was there in those days and remember it well. He brought Tie Dye from a hippy craft to a high end art form over the last 40 years.

He claims to have developed a one of a kind tie dye method that is like an origami on fabric. He describes his original technique as 'Fabric Fractal Art' or 'Geometriart'. This kind of tie dye art style is unique among the other tie-dyers out there, as every piece is different and has it's own color combo and design signature. His method is really a high end art form.

Tie Dye Art

Courtenay came onto the the Grateful Dead scene in 1970 and met Bob Weir at his house in Nicasio Valley. He became friends with Bob and the crew and was commissioned to tie dye their speaker fronts after the guys saw his amazing style of tie dye.

Soon everyone in the Grateful Dead family wanted a wall sized Mandala to decorate the walls of their homes.

I got one myself and remembered that they cost $250 for a Courtenay Tie Dye Mandala back then, which was a lot for those days, but they were the best and everyone had to have one. Those old ones from back then are worth a fortune today!

He eventually created the famous big backdrops used behind the Grateful Dead at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, California in 1981, 82 and '83.

They still are the best tie dye tapestries around in my opinion. Although there are many great tie dye artists on the web these days, no one does it like Courtenay.


Tie Dye Mandalas

Courtenay Tie Dye's famous design

Courtenay's signature art pieces are his full size Mandala Tapestries that cover an entire wall or ceiling. They average about 6 to 9 feet square.

These wall hangings are collector's items and many collectors do buy them, knowing their worth increases with age.

"My mandalas are the hallmark of my work. This Geometric expression was the inspiration that started me on this path. They are my true Masterpieces" says Courtenay.

Most all of the colorful Mandalas he creates are large pieces. They are full height tapestries for wall hangings, ceilings or stage backdrops.

His Mandala design technique is unique and unusual. Creating these Mandalas takes Courtenay many hours of precision folding, tying and meticulous dipping. It is an intense labor of love to create one of these.

Owners of his Mandalas usually frame and backlight them to bring out the design, Many will hang them on the ceiling in the frame or use them for drapery on big picture windows.


Speaker Fronts

Courtenay's first commissions however were the speaker fronts for the Grateful Dead's stage set. His first creations for the Dead you can see in this picture from 1970. After that he went on to do speaker fronts for all their speakers for a few years until the wall of sound came and they no longer used covers on speakers at all. He continued to create unique speaker covers for Hard Truckers and individual commissions over the years.

Backdrop for the Furthur Band - 2010

Courtenay created a backdrop that went on the road with the Furthur Band, a group that is spearhead by two of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead. This is just one of the commissions Courtenay has done in the in the more recent years.

Home Decor

Bedroom Design

Courtenay has done many fabulous commissions over the years. His best work these days is for Interior design. He creates masterpieces for the home, including a complete room of tie dyed walls including the closet. He can also do the bedspread to go with it. He offers several choices in color and design.


Art Panels, Silk Scarves, T- Shirts and Aprons too!

Even though his specialty is Tie Dye Art and larger commissions like backdrops he still has a small selection of T-Shirts on the site as well.

Courtenay Tie Dye Art Prints

Courtenay is also offering his artwork as prints on different mediums, which is kinda cool. You can get one of his favorite pieces printed on canvas, metal, paper as as 5'x7" cards. If you would like a framed Tie-Dye Print check it out!

Have you any memory of the Tie Dye in the early Grateful Dead days?

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    • profile image

      crstnblue 5 years ago

      Interesting lens! Thanks for sharing!

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 5 years ago

      Yup. Now I'm showing my age

    • profile image

      DecoratingMom411 5 years ago

      Tie die is just so great! Everybody was astonished by this amazing idea!