Hands-on Workshop from "Farm-to-Fabric" ~ Our Local Indigo

Hands-on Workshop from "Farm-to-Fabric" ~ Our Local Indigo

from 75.00


Indigofera suffruticosa is the botanical name for our local indigo. It refers to a perennial tree or shrub ­with a woody base and herbaceous top of the pea family native to tropical and subtrop­ical regions of South America.

Indigo, best known to Americans as the traditional colorant of blue jeans (now chemically-produced), has been esteemed and used for thousands of years in its natural form throughout the world. Indigofera suffruticosa as been one of the most commercially-significant sources of indigo dye in history. The plant grows 3 to 6 feet tall, with compound leaves 2 to 3 inches long with many pairs of rounded leaflets. If you tear a leaflet, the cut edges will turn blue. Clusters of tiny coppery pink pea-like flowers are produced in late summer, followed by small curved seedpods. 

In 1744, a young woman in South Carolina, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, became the first person to grow indigo successfully in colonial America, using seeds that her father had sent from the West Indies. Her formidable efforts, and an economy dependent on the unpaid labor of enslaved African and Native American people, American growers were exporting more than 1,000,000 pounds of ­indigo to England just before the American Revolution. The advent of cotton as a cash crop after the war ­and the loss of the British import demand contributed to the demise of indigo production in the United States.  You will experience one of the first commercial indigo crops grown in South Carolina since that time. 


Beginner and intermediate 


  • all material necessary to make the dye from the plant + gloves will be provided
  • a large cotton dish towel will be provided for you to dye, and you may also bring your own white cotton or silk items to dye (nothing too large)
  • you will receive educational materials + a beautiful printed botanical illustration of our local indigo plant to frame
  • lunch will be provided (please let us know of any allergies) + refreshments + snacks


  • your own hand pruners
  • an old shirt or apron – and please wear old comfortable clothes
  • closed-toe shoes
  • bug repellent if the weather is hot and humid
  • a hat


Our workshop will start at the farm in Eastover SC where a Bolivian farmer grew a row of 40 plants. After harvesting the top half of the plant, we will go back to the studio and prepare the leaves for the extraction of the dye (a 2 1/2 hour process). Lunch will be served. We will have a presentation on the topic of "the old indigo and its revival". We will prepare our cotton towels and dye them in the beautiful "blue of the heavens" that you will have prepared with your own hands. 

Workshop starts at TBD and finishes at TBD with a break during the day for lunch, presentation and art. More information will be provided closer to time.

  • Workshop Cost: $150.00 pp
  • Location: Arnold Farms in Eastover SC and CHI design indigo studio in Columbia SC (directions will be provided closer to time)

 Limit 12 students
* If you prefer to pay in two installments, choose $75 in the drop down menu below instead of $150 and you will receive an invoice 1 month before the event to pay the other half. *
** This workshop is non refundable. If, for medical reasons only, you must cancel, CHI design indigo will refund 75% up to a week before the event (or $112.50) **

Payment Options:
Add To Cart