For those of you following NYFW, you may be thinking of giving your own Spring/Summer 2015 style more of a DIY spin. Then hie thee down South to Charleston for the three-day Sea Island Indigo Retreat weekend September 18-20th, being held at the organic Rebellion Farm in Ravenel, SC! There you’ll learn the fine and historically-based art of indigo dyeing, using indigo from a field raised solely for this workshop. But hurry and sign up while there are still spots available. You won’t be sorry. Charleston will be gorgeous at this time of year and what an exquisite opportunity to explore ancient dyeing methods right at the source.
Friend and colleague Kee Edwards, designer of the beautiful organic cotton-based collection Loup Charmant, is one of the sponsors, and has donated some of her exquisite organic cotton so that you can create your own pareo, scarf or wrap out of LC fabrics, learning to dye them Sea Island blues, an experience close to her southern heart.
The indigo plant has a long and storied background in South Carolina and Charleston long ago served as home of American indigo farming. Sea Island Indigo’s Donna Hardy, a master dyer, has been crucial in revitalizing commercial indigo production in South Carolina. And the dyes you will use during the retreat will be from the same strain of indigo plants grown in the region over 250 years ago! Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors will be on hand to help you with the dyeing process, as well.
Among a slew of southern-style events, there will also be a hands-on quilting workshop at the Charleston Museum with Sharon Cooper-Murray, spokesperson for Gullah textiles and culture (Gullah, descendants of the original West African slaves, often retain much of their traditional Geechee language stemming from the mid-1700s, something I experienced first-hand after moving to Charleston in high school; in fact, I nearly flunked US History that first year because I had a hard time adapting to my teacher’s patois!).
Be prepared for an old school South Carolina barbecue and bluegrass throw-down that Saturday night, thanks to locals like Holy City Hogs, who will be donating a heritage bred Ossabaw hog, and Anson Mills, who is contributing heirloom grains. There will also be a screening that night of the Cotton Road documentary (partially filmed in Charleston) with director/producer Laura Kissel.
Please find out more about the retreat and Donna’s research here. Hope to see you there!