Tag Archives: sea island indigo

BBQ on Saturday night — end of Sea Island Indigo workshop

IMG_0950Southern cooking at its finest! We had: Ossabaw pork (roasted and smoked for 24 hours and basted with a mustard/vinegar sauce and donated by Holy City Hogs), hash, chicken bog, okra stewed with tomatoes, cukes with dill and red onion, succotash that featured raw (delicate!) corn and butter beans, cornbread, and Carolina Gold rice, donated by Anson Mills.

Rebellion Farm host and pig roaster - Jeff Allen

Rebellion Farm host and pig roaster – Jeff Allen

Hash - Phase One

Hash – Phase One

Hash in its final form

Hash in its final form

Hash, apparently, can be made of various parts. For this one, our host used pig’s head and feet. It tasted remarkably like pate. ‘Chicken bog’ is a porridge of stewed chicken and rice. On the Anson Mills site, they call it ‘the most famous unknown dish of the South’ and include a recipe.

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our dinner’s father, top left

Ossabaw hogs are a breed of pig derived from feral pigs found on Ossabaw Island, Georgia. Unique in many ways, these hogs are “the closest genetic representative of historic stocks brought over by the Spanish”. Read more about them here.
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IMG_0931Sides were prepared by Gullah Chef BJ Dennis. I didn’t get a great picture of him, but there’s one on this post about the evening (and, by the way, you’ll also find lots of other great pictures). For a wonderful portrait of Mr. Dennis that also talks about Gullah food generally, go here.

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Kathy Hattori and Laura Kissel

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For the dinner, we were joined by foodies, botany experts, fashion designers and entrepreneurs and a filmmaker.  It was an interesting and vivacious group.

Donna Hardy holding up jar of sorghum

Donna Hardy holding up jar of sorghum

IMG_5443IMG_0960IMG_0955 The pole barn was transformed with white and indigo-dyed linens. Bouquets of local flowers and indigo leaves (of course) dotted the tables. A glorious sunset lit up the horizon.
IMG_0959After dinner we were treated to a showing of Laura Kissel’s documentary about clothing manufacturing called, “Cotton Road“.  The movie starts with cotton in a field in South Carolina, follows the fiber to China, and then back again, as clothing being shipped into Charleston Harbor. It was poignant and disturbing.
IMG_5447From the website:

Cotton Road uncovers the transnational movement of cotton and tells the stories of worker’s lives in a conventional cotton supply chain. From rural farms in South Carolina to factory cities in China, we span the globe to encounter the industrial processes behind our rapacious consumption of cheap clothing and textile products. Are we connected to one another through the things we consume? Cotton Road explores a contemporary landscape of globalized labor through human stories and provides an opportunity to reflect on the ways our consumption impacts others and drives a global economy.

All in all, the Sea Island Indigo workshop was an educational, stimulating, fun, and worthwhile experience!

*  *  *

Sea Island Indigo Workshop took place September 18-21, 2014 in Charleston, SC.  A field of indigo was grown for us by Donna Hardy, of Sea Island Indigo, on Rebellion Farm, in Ravenel, SC.  Fiber artist Kathy Hattori, of Botanical Workshops, flew in from Seattle to co-lead the two days of hands-on indigo dyeing.  My participation in the workshop was funded by a kickstarter campaign.

 

 

Dyed Together — Sea Island Indigo, Day II

IMG_0826The thing I really loved about the second full day of the Sea Island Indigo Workshop* was how dyeing united us. Sounds philosophical, and maybe it is, but I simply mean this: the love of blue made us kin.

Leigh and Sarah

Leigh and Sarah — coated, flexible copper was to keep yarn skeins from tangling

On Thursday– we were parents or not, retired or not, local or not, from the North or the South, staying in the city or elsewhere, but by Saturday — IT WAS ALL ABOUT INDIGO. What are you dipping? How did you do that? Let me see! Batman?!  Honestly, that’s pure genius! Ooooh!

Meghan's son lucked out -- look at that Batman!!

Meghan’s son lucked out — look at that Batman!!

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Sarah successfully dyed wooden buttons

If on Friday, we were felters, weavers, quiltmakers, spinners, storytellers, or fashion designers, by Saturday — we were all JUST INTO INDIGO. The enthusiastic focus that three large vats created was wonderful. It was binding. And the results were nothing short of spectacular.
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doilies, grosgrain ribbon, commercial cotton: mine

doilies, grosgrain ribbon, commercial cotton: mine

IMG_0815 IMG_0816 IMG_0842 IMG_0860It was hard to take pictures. What?!! Pause and lose out on another dunk? How could you? Gloves on/off, hands dried — when you could be twisting a cloth, eagerly dreaming of ghostly stripes or submerging that thrift store shirt?!  And, it was one thing to get faces, sleeves, and shoes blue, but cameras and phones?  Not so good.
IMG_0898 IMG_0900  IMG_0907There were beautiful kimono scraps, woven shawls, and skeins of wool for sale, and even though I ran out of material at some point, I resisted. Do I get extra points for that?
IMG_0809Speaking of getting blue on everything, take a look at Heather, above, and Julie, below.
IMG_0767Margo dyed her hair.Margo (with blue) and BarbaraAnd, I was told I looked like I’d been ‘kissed by a Smurf’! PICTURE TO COME. Kathy Hattori sent me 1/2 dozen yesterday and you all should see at least one, but I want to post this today and though I could easily download pix to ‘dropbox’ I haven’t figure out how to get one to show up here.  You will have to wait!

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Batman creator, Meghan

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I almost fell in a vat when Sage told me she was an Applied Physics major at Stanford – I guess SOME differences still popped!

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Kathy & Ximena conversed in Spanish all w’end. Ximena grows mangoes in Columbia.

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my fave, as you know. it faded A LOT at home (boo!).  Donna Hardy on left.

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Using strips of muslin, linen, and vintage table cloth for ties means you have those at the end, too

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how did she stay so tidy?!!

IMG_0839 IMG_0848 IMG_0871 IMG_5417 IMG_5427We learned Michel Garcia’s 1-2-3 method on Saturday as well — which Glennis Dolce had gone over back in 2012 during her online Indigo Dyeing class, but I didn’t get around to it then.  Maybe soon?
IMG_0753 IMG_0755I didn’t envy Kathy trying to get our attention on Saturday!
IMG_0752The food was so unbelievable that night that it deserves its own post.  Suffice it to say, that the aromas of roasting pig and Carolina Hash were mouth watering by mid-day Saturday!

hash in progress

hash in progress

  *  *  *

Sea Island Indigo Workshop took place September 18-21, 2014 in Charleston, SC.  A field of indigo was grown for us by Donna Hardy, on Rebellion Farm, in Ravenel, SC.  Fiber artist Kathy Hattori, of Botanical Workshops, flew in from Seattle to co-lead the two days of hands-on indigo dyeing.  My participation in the workshop was funded by a kickstarter campaign.

what is enough?

IMG_5336Sea Island Indigo’s workshop is allowing us THREE bags of fabric for the dye pot.  By that, I assume they mean the standard grocery bags.

Well, I am flying.  I am NOT going to check two bags.  So this morning I am balancing my squirrel-like packing skills (of which I am rather proud) with the greed to bring more (and more) fabric.  To my surprise, it was a great relief to put half of the cloth away… to name the feeling, ‘greed’, and put that away, too.  Setting aside greed allowed love to come in.

You see, I had collected a bunch of needle-resistant cloth for the rag quilting workshop.  Made sense…. it looks like sewing will be limited with this method.  But an awful lot of the tough fabrics I own are a tad gross in feel.  I find myself protesting, “NO!  NO! I’m only bringing fabric I love”.

Selecting fabrics you love is not at all the same, of course, as fending off greed.  Instead, it is governed by pleasure, aesthetic discernment, cultivated tastes, sensory delight… by all those irrational preferences for some colors over others, and in my case, by a slight mania for a good jumble of patterns.  When you’ve gathered a pile of fabric you love, sometimes looking at the stack is enough!

Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about.

I will save my greedy impulses for food.  There’s gonna be some AMAZING food on this trip!

 

 

Time for details

faceNow it’s time for the nitty-gritty.

But first — more kickstarter gratitude. I continue to be bowled over by the immediate and overwhelming response of my readers and friends.  Twenty-two of you have given me $850!!!

I almost wish there was a way to receive funds without seeing how much each donor is giving (it wouldn’t work) because EVERY gift meant the world to me — and, in fact, sometimes a ‘small’ gift from someone feels HUGE because I have a sense of financial struggle out there.  So, again — thanks!

Just booked a room in West Ashley.  It’ll be my first airbnb experience.  I’m a little hesitant about staying in a room in someone’s house, particularly because I’m not that chatty a person (ha!)… and because who knows about people, right?!

I picked a convenient, very reasonably priced place with almost 50 positive reviews.  But seriously?  It was the picture of this guy’s dog and his backyard that clinched it!  A sweet old hound and beautifully tended perennial beds — surely these indicators of character?

The folks at Sea Island Indigo are being super accommodating in terms of helping to coordinate rides out to Rebellion Farm, where two days of the event are being held. Given how many OTHER details they are managing right now, I especially appreciate this.  It looks like I will be able to get by with a couple of cab and bus rides and no car rental at all.

Oh, and did I tell you they will be feeding us like queens?!!

Eagerly awaiting the supply list!
laundry-line

Soul Collage card, 2012 - "Dreamer"

Soul Collage card, 2012 – “Dreamer”

Going back to 2012 dye pictures, I found this Soul Collage card.  Funny, that a card titled ‘Dreamer’ features blue hands, huh?

Oh, and I just noticed that the sleeper in the background may be covered by a pieced denim coverlet — that’s one of the great things about Soul Collage — the discovering of things later.

Off to the pages.  But not for long.  It is also a Farm Share pick up day. Possibly a post office day (chocolate to Boulder). Have to pick up a script.  And, there’s a quick, near doctor appt.  Not much time for writing today, in other words.  But thank goodness it is cooler.  Yesterday was a beast of a day.

 

 

Joy — kickstarter campaign 103% funded in two days!!

14" x 14", 2002 or 2003

14″ x 14″, 2002 or 2003


 

I am 91% funded!!!  Make that over goal.  By the afternoon, I hit 103% funded!!

This is me jumping for joy (actually, it’s Cary, about 12 years ago) — but you get the idea.  Thank you Thank you Thank you — to all of you who have contributed to my kickstarter campaign. It is remarkable to feel this support pouring in!

Do you know that Sea Island Indigo will be using indigo with provenance dating back to Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s day?!!  How cool would that be — to actually work with plants that are connected genetically to the 1740’s?

My going to this workshop feels almost as fortuitous as Eliza studying at a boarding school in England that was gifted a greenhouse when the childless next-door neighbor died.  I look at that stroke of fortune and wonder, how much flowed from that — for surely she must have discovered her love of horticulture then.
tugged-on-the-lineI just revised the campaign and it is much better now — more about my project and why the trip would be a boon, and a little less about the indigo workshop itself.  Even if you’ve been, take a second look.

Thank you, Jude, for putting me on your sidebar.  The metrics of my site show me where the donors are coming from — and your link matters (of course it matters!)

This whole process has been kind of unbelievable to me.

Thank you. Thank you.

Ken and I are heading up to Salem today.  It promises to be cooler than yesterday, which is good, because we will be rearranging furniture (among other things) at my sister’s. I am disappointed that I managed to visit Salem almost every week during the Peabody Museum’s Turner exhibit and missed it.

But with this kickstarter news, I won’t be feeling that disappointment for long!

Blood and Indigo — the great reveal

photo of photo in the Charleston Museum

photo of photo in the Charleston Museum

“Blood and Indigo” — that’s my working title for a novel about slavery and planters taking place in the mid-eighteenth century in South Carolina.  I wasn’t planning to be so open about the project just yet (though I am now more than two years into it), but there is an indigo workshop being held in September just outside of Charleston and I’ve launched a kickstarter campaign to try and garner the cost of the class and a rental car (I have miles).

IMG_2461It would be so perfect!  I traveled to Charleston this past April, as some of you know, but was only there for a short while — I took tons of pictures and did two plantation tours and visited the Chalmers Street former slave auction site and spent two afternoons in the Charleston Museum,  but this would be fabulous — I’d get to see the area in the fall (and take tons more pictures) and the indigo!!  Well, check out Sea Island Indigo!!

IMG_2454It all started with a book by India Flint called “Eco Colour”.  In it, she devotes a page to the colonial settler, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, and her work with indigo.  Next came Eliza’s letters.  Once I started asking myself, ‘what were the lives of her slaves like?’, I was off and running.

from my indigo vat, 2012

from my indigo vat, 2012

For more than two years now, I have been writing, writing, writing, and researching, researching, researching (there’s an example of great writing right there!). I have learned so much about American history that I feel like a different person than when I started out.  Reading history about the enslaved changes you. Details about the slave trade, the slave codes, the brutality, the labor practices, the attempts at rebellion, the words used by the elite to describe “their” African Americans — all change you. The most recent and best thing I have read about racism (I cannot recommend this article enough) was published in a recent issue of The Atlantic Monthly, and it’s called “The Case for Reparations”.  Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, it is hard-hitting, incredibly full of examples of ongoing harm, and it will make you shake your head in sadness and wonder at what we are — we Americans, this America.

An African American crafter, as part of the weekend, will be teaching participants rag quilting and talking about Gullah culture.  I cannot say how perfect this event feels as a boost for my writing project!
manacle

paper piece revealing what must be the name of one of Eliza's sons

paper piece revealing what must be the name of one of Eliza’s sons, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Even if a donation does not make sense for you at this time, please share my excitement for this work!  And now that the cat is out of the bag, I will feel freer to discuss what I am learning here on the blog, and hope you will gladly come along for the ride.