"Tie Dye with a Twist," an eclectic collection of tie dyed fabric designs from award winning tie dye artist Michael Martelli, will be rocking Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster this August.

The public is invited to come out and experience this glorious color explosion of exhibit on opening night with a First Friday Reception, Aug. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the studio located at 19-21 North Mulberry St., Lancaster.

Many of us have dabbled in tie dye as a child (especially if you have spent any time at summer camp) and you have certainly seen it at your favorite boardwalk beach shop or musical festival- but Martelli's work is taking on the gallery exhibition scene, and it is perfectly suited there. Using a variety of media, Martelli presents his artistically crafted tie dyes in new ways. Pieces are presented traditionally as fabric and also as hard pieces with the fabric stretched over wood and finished with a hard resin coating.

Martelli was drawn to the kind and loving vibes of the Grateful Dead’s music and Deadhead lifestyle from his teen years. He followed the Grateful Dead for 10 years during which time he found a deep connection to the music and the kindness centered way of life among the Deadheads. He developed a great appreciation for the beautiful tie dyed artwork he saw on tour, but did not know how it was made or ever try his hand at such work at the time. Years later, as Martelli was nearing 50 years old and raising a family of four children with his wife, he suddenly faced a series of health crises. First, his wife experienced a brain aneurysm rupture. Then Michael himself suffered a heart attack. Michael then had two aortic aneurysm ruptures followed by a series of operations that left him with serious medical complications. It was during this time of recovery that Michael decided to try his hand at tie dye, and found suddenly that he had a gift he’d never known about.

With each trial, his skills improved. He began to find new ways to approach his art and build his understanding of that craft to create new ways of making and presenting tie dye. He found healing in his artistic expression and has found that it is his love and passion. He is acutely aware of how limited time on this earth can be, and is inspired to spread beauty and joy as far as he can through his art with whatever time he has in this life to do so. Martelli continues to find new ways to present tie dyed art pieces and has become an inspiration to others in the field. He has found especially great joy in providing large pieces for backdrops at concert venues. His ability to create a beautiful piece of art from very large fabric pieces has won him admiration from fellow artists. His stage backdrops have been enjoyed at concert venues locally as well as across the country, all the way the San Francisco.

"I am inspired to spread joy through the beauty of art as far and as long as I can with the time I have left to do so," Martelli says.

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