indigo

Give Daufuskie

A Day on Daufuskie

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 5.27.13 PMGive your friends and family a refreshingly different gift this year. Set up a day on Daufuskie for them. With guided and self-guided options, we can create a wonderful experience that they will truly enjoy. Once all the details are in place, they will just have to give us a quick call to set up a day. Take a look at our holiday gift options. Give memories with Tour Daufuskie.

Sea Island Sculptures from The Iron Fish

24852207_1111634852206300_1697308625162266440_nChase Allen specializes in crafting beautiful coastal inspired metal sculptures. Fish, mermaids, sea turtles, crabs, and lobsters are just a few of the pieces he creates. Although Chase ships his sculptures worldwide, you’ll have to come to his gallery on Daufuskie Island to get something in time for Christmas.

Organic Wine and Wine Glass Holder, Wine and Woodworks

This breathtaking post and beam barn located on the north end of Daufuskie Island is the home to Mike and Joanne Loftus’ woodworking and wine shop. With organic, sustainable, and low production wines from vineyards throughout the world, you are sure to find a bottle to fit every palette. Paired with one of Mike’s hand crafted beach wine stands, this is the perfect gift for friends and family.

Indigo Dyed Scarf

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 11.55.50 AMThis mystical natural blue dye is truly unique. Daufuskie Blues uses natural indigo to create unique patterns and designs on scarves and organic fabrics. Based out of Maryfields School on Daufuskie Island, this little shop is home to production and sales. Sold exclusively on Daufuskie Island, you’ll have to stop into Daufuskie Blues for these lovely pieces.

Daufuskie Island Rum Company’s Spiced Rum

Photo Dec 07, 2 11 15 PMWith cooler weather approaching, give some warmth with Daufuskie Island Rum Company’s Spiced Rum. Reminiscent of the holidays, this naturally spiced rum pairs wonderfully with eggnog. In addition to their spiced rum, the distillery offers numerous other artisanal rums, all made on Daufuskie Island.

Silver Dew Hand Crafted Pottery

IMG-0187Inspired by the pottery of Native Americans he unearthed from the island he grew up on, Lancy Burn’s pieces are a true reflection of Daufuskie Island. The work that his wife, Emily, and he create is not only beautiful, but practical. Take a peak at their gallery located on Benjies Point Road on Daufuskie Island.

Handmade Soap from Daufuskie PeachScreen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.19.20 PM

Daufuskie Peach’s hand crafted bath and body products are made in-house using unrefined, organic shea butter. From start to finish, these soaps, lotions, butters, and scrubs are created in small batches on Daufuskie Island. Pure, simple, clean. Explore her ever indulging scents at Daufuskie Peach next time you’re on Daufuskie Island or take a look at her online store.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.26.15 PMSpartina, Where it Began

Spartina 449 company founder and CEO, Kay Stanley, found inspiration for her handbags, jewelry and accessories from her seaside cottage on Daufuskie Island. Although you can buy Spartina 449 all over, getting it from the Lowcountry adds a special memory. Find Spartina Retailers here.

“Daufuskie Blues”, the indigo artisans

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Leanne Coulter and Rhonda Davis have hit the Daufuskie artisan scene with their new endeavor, Daufuskie Blues. These ladies use organic indigo to create eye-catching dye patterns on scarves, cloths, and other fabrics. Indigo is culturally significant to this area of the South, and Daufuskie Blues is honored to be carrying on the tradition with this unique and tricky dye.

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a selection of Daufuskie Blues’ indigo-dyed fabrics

Before the synthetic age in the late 1800s, using the indigo flower was the only way to obtain blue dye.  Interestingly, the first successful cultivation of indigo in America was done by a 16-year-old girl named Eliza Lucas.  After her success, indigo quickly became one of the colonies’ largest exports.  Indigo was economically important because blue dyes were so rare, and it represented a status of wealth. Civilizations were shaped by their choice and ability to produce indigo dye, and South Carolina was no exception.

Rhonda and Leanne started Daufuskie Blues after taking an Organic Indigo Vat workshop together.  “We spent the next two years on our front porch. We’ve had an indigo vat going almost consistently ever since we took that class two years ago,” explains Leanne.

The “Blues girls” create an indigo vat by combining organic indigo powder with a fructose source, such as bananas, honey, henna, or any non-acidic fruit. Indigo itself is non-soluble in water, so you must break it down in the reduction vat. Leanne compares the vat to a kiln, in which you need to remove oxygen for the process to occur.

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the indigo vat

Once the dye is prepared, you can simply dip a material in the vat and pull it out. Interestingly, the color starts off as a light green. Only when it oxidizes with the air does it change to the indigo blue color. “It’s magical. It’s just so magical,” says Leanne. By adding folds, twists, or stitching, the Blues girls create a variety of interesting patterns of color in their fabric. Lately Rhonda has been experimenting with nautical shapes, such as turtles or starfish.

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When applied to fabric, the indigo dye is initially a light-green color.

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Rhonda Davis uses stitching to create nautical shapes

Why do the Blues girls love working with indigo? “Indigo is so different from any other natural dye,” says Rhonda, “…The culture, the history, the mystique surrounding it, the amazing way it physically works, and the process of maintaining the vat of dye”. Indigo vats must be given attention; it needs stirred daily and requires to be fed fructose to keep the dye active. “I mean, it’s like you’re caring for a little living thing, you know?”

Leanne is also drawn to the unique qualities of indigo and appreciates the complicated process it takes to create the dye. “Other dyes are so easy to use. You either cut the plant, get the root or whatever the dye material is, cook it up, strain it, and that’s your dye product.” Not so the case for indigo! The traditional way to extract the indica (dye property of the plant) is to place the indigo in a large vat of water, beat the indigo many times to allow the sediment to come out, drain the water, and repeat the process over again. “And that’s the process that was used in South Carolina,” adds Rhonda.

As Rhonda mentions, mystique and lure surround the indigo vat. Many believe that the vat must be kept “happy”, which means keeping it away from certain people. This includes pregnant or menstruating women, people who are depressed or suffering, unpredictable children, etc.

While indigo is the Blues girls’ staple dye, they have been expanding and experimenting with other natural dyes.  Can you guess what creates this natural pink dye that the ladies use?

cochineal

The answer might surprise you: it’s a bug!  Cochineal is an insect native to South America, Mexico, and Arizona.  The insect is crushed and dehydrated into a powder, which the Blues girls then use to create the dye.

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Daufuskie Blues is currently located in the historic Maryfield School.   Future plans including growing their own indigo to harvest their own dye, and providing education to visitors about the dye extraction process.  Stop by to learn more!