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Indigo Dyeing with   Daisy McClellan

Join local artist Daisy McClellan for her Indigo Dye for the Home Workshop. In this class, you’ll learn the fundamentals of using indigo dye from beginning to end and dye your own throw pillow and tea towel. We’ll discuss the history of indigo in South Carolina and then dive into how to create a dye vat and various shibori tie dye methods that reveal beautiful patterns. You’ll go home with 1 throw pillow cover and 1 tea towel you custom dye. We love using our tea towel in the kitchen and bathroom as a hand towel but many of our students frame them and turn them into wall art. The possibilities are endless!

| $40 per person | 

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Indigo—both as a plant and a dye—forms an important chapter in the early history of the South Carolina Lowcountry. 

Indigo is the name of a large family of deciduous shrubs, identified in modern scientific nomenclature as part of the genus Indigofera. Some species are native to subtropical climates and flourish in places like the coastal regions of the American southeast.

Indigo is also the name of an organic blue dye extracted from the leaves of a number of plants around the world. For thousands of years, humans have used this dye to impart a lasting blue color to a wide variety of textiles. 

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Indigo was grown in early South Carolina to produce a blue dye that was exported to England for use in the British textile industry.

 

Indigo formed a significant part of the South Carolina economy for approximately fifty years, from the late 1740s to the late 1790s. During that period, indigo (or, more specifically, indigo dyestuff) was South Carolina’s second most valuable export, behind rice.

The cultivation and production of indigo also involved the labor of thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of people in the South Carolina Lowcountry. For this reason, the cultural memory of indigo is heightened among members of the African-American community along what is now called the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

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Indigo is a very visible and popular topic of conversation in twenty-first-century South Carolina and beyond.

But there’s a significant difference between the historic use of indigo and our modern fascination with the topic. While South Carolinians in the eighteenth century undertook the cultivation of indigo plants and the production of indigo dye in the hopes of making a good profit, most efforts to cultivate indigo in this area today focus on education, explorations of cultural heritage, and expressions of artistic vision.

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