5.24 | Monday, April 15, 2013
about how indigo was used years back
APRIL 15, 2013 -- In the last issue, we discussed the history of indigo in the Lowcountry and its major proponent, Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Let's turn now to the cultivation and dyeing process for this natural dye.
To produce this amazing dye, tiny indigo seeds were sown by hand in rows, usually in late March. The first cutting of branches was in early July with a second cutting in August and perhaps even a third in December. The cut plants were laid in vats and allowed to ferment in water for about twelve odiferous hours. The liquid was drained into a second vat or "beater" where it was agitated and lime water was added causing the solid matter to settle to the bottom. This material was collected and became "indigo mud" which was dried in linen bags. It was then spread on boards to dry further and finally cut into "bricks" and packed into barrels for shipment.
Dyeing with indigo is an amazing process; perhaps some of its earliest users thought it magic. The cake of blue powder requires no mordant (fixing agent) as do many natural dyes, but must first be reduced and made soluble in water. This was accomplished by adding an alkaline agent such as wood ash lye or ammonia (stale urine). The resulting liquid is not blue, but a pale yellowish-white. The yarn or fabric is dipped into this "indigo-white" liquid and appears greenish when lifted out. Upon exposure to the air, however, the fibers magically turn blue and can be re-dipped until the desired depth of color is achieved.
Because of this oxidation process, indigo was difficult to use in printing fabrics. However, two methods of using indigo directly were developed in the eighteenth century. In "pencil blue," an arsenic compound was added to the indigo paste, delaying the oxidation so that it could be applied with a pencil or brush. In the "China blue" method, unreduced indigo was printed onto the fabric which was then oxidized in baths of ferrous sulfate. The result was a beautiful but lighter shade of blue, similar to its namesake, Chinese porcelain.
Indigo: Natural Blue Dye in the Lowcountry, a small, focused exhibit in the Charleston Museum's Textile Gallery from April 27 - September 2, will explore this rich blue dye.
Indigo-dyed textiles, in their many shades, will serve as a backdrop for the history of this interesting product. Although most of the processed indigo was exported, it was a common component for the wool weft of locally woven coverlets (pictured at right), contrasting with the naturally white cotton warp threads. These simple but beautiful pieces were often woven on South Carolina plantations, by skilled weavers, both enslaved and free.
Imported goods, such as a lovely block-printed bed valance owned by Eliza Lucas Pinckney, displays the delicate "penciling" of deep blue indigo after the bold brown and red design was stamped on. The blue is still strong, even though the yellow underdye in the green leaves has faded, leaving them blue as well. A delightful curtain roller-printed in "china blue," depicting English country scenes, would have been fashionable in early 19th century Charleston homes.
The darkest of blues is evident in a luxurious cloak (pictured at left), worn by Charlestonian Joel Poinsett in the years following his service as United States Minister to Mexico. Not only is the color intense, it too shows little sign of fading even after 180 years.
If the indigo dyeing process has you intrigued, the Charleston Museum will be offering a hand-on workshop on this very topic on April 27!
the money and save employers from expansion fines
2013 -- When South Carolina business owners figure out how they'll face
millions in fines if the state doesn't take billions in free federal money
to provide better health care for hundreds of thousands of low-income
workers, they'll rise up in disgust.
part of the complicated implementation of the Affordable Care Act to expand
access to health care through the federal Medicaid program, South Carolina
businesses that employ at least 50 workers could face fines of up to $47
million if Gov. Nikki Haley gets her way and state lawmakers turn down
federal expansion dollars.
it bluntly, the governor is playing the dangerous political game that
business owners won't figure out they're liable for fines of up to $3,000
per qualified employee who signs up to get Obamacare through a federal
exchange. Why? So she can blame President Obama for "causing the
problem" when the bills start rolling into business owners.
all avoidable. The federal government will pay for 100 percent of Medicaid
expansion efforts through 2016 and for 90 percent from then to 2020 under
the Affordable Care Act. That would pump $11 billion into poor South Carolina
over seven years, compared with having to pay hundreds of millions of
fines over the same time frame.
are cutting off our nose in spite of our face because we have a president
they don't like," said Frank Knapp, head of the S.C. Small Business
Chamber of Commerce. "That's the only reason this is going on. It's
all party politics."
highlighted the value of federal Medicaid expansion money: "If we
think it's a good return on investment on this Boeing venture ($120 million
in bond money to support a new expansion), it's a much better investment
to expand Medicaid. We're talking about it creating about 44,000 jobs.
Boeing's not going to create 44,000 jobs."
Care Act envisions low-income workers who don't have health insurance
being able to get coverage for free through Medicaid if they earn 100
percent or less than the federal poverty level. If they earn between 100
percent and 138 percent of poverty, they will qualify for tax credits
to help pay for health insurance through Medicaid.
states that don't take federal money to expand Medicaid, an employer with
50 full-time employees who doesn't currently offer health insurance --
like a lot of folks in the tourism industry -- will have to pay a $40,000
fine ($2,000 per employee for the number of employees minus 30). If the
same employer offers insurance that's of such low quality that just one
employee decides to use a tax credit to get Obamacare through a federal
health insurance exchange, the employer could face an annual penalty of
$3,000 per employee who takes the credit up to the $40,000 amount calculated
to a March study by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, South Carolina employers
could confront fines of $30.4 million to $45.7 million if state lawmakers
don't figure out a way around Haley's obstinacy.
for expanding Medicaid say there's still a chance state senators will
include expansion dollars in the state budget. Later this month, busloads
of preachers and health care workers are expected to flood the Statehouse
to support the measure. Meanwhile, some conservative House members are
reportedly looking for an alternative to allow the state to take the money
to pay private insurers instead of an exchange for the extra health care.
Time is growing short.
people might not like how health insurance implementation is playing out.
They might feel like a gun is being held to their head to force implementation
of Obamacare. But the time for that debate is long past. Now, it's best
for lawmakers to do what's best for South Carolina and stop fighting old
battles (sound familiar?). It's time for South Carolina to join other
industrialized nations and implement broader health care for workers without
crippling our hospitals and forcing costs to go up -- both of which will
happen if we remain bull-headed.
Let's not be dumb and send the Medicaid expansion dollars we're supposed to get to California or New York.
Platt: Don't ignore my candidacy
In the following days I received hate mail from supporters of the Democratic incumbent who unfairly charged that my candidacy "spoiled" the election for her. Perhaps that was to be expected; after all, Democrats tend to believe their candidates are entitled to all votes a truly progressive candidate -- such as a Green -- might receive. Of course, not only Greens but responsible, mature voters of all political leanings utterly reject that line of reasoning in favor of this: No one owns the vote of anyone else.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, founded in 1676 by the Drayton family. It has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. Open 365 days a year, Magnolia offers its visitors splendid tours of nature and history and the role African-Americans played in the development of its award-winning Romantic-style gardens. Visit www.magnoliaplantation.com to learn how you can experience a complete plantation experience.
of spring abound throughout South Carolina
15, 2013 -- The fine green film of pollen has finally washed away, leaving
pops of color everywhere in the Low Country and the feeling of Spring
has bloomed throughout our beautiful state. Aside from the obvious plantation
gardens that are always a sure bet when you hunt for Spring, we have scouted
out a few more places locally and further afield that are bursting with
those signs of Spring we crave; gorgeous flowering bushes and trees, cardinals
and songbirds everywhere we look, and bees and butterflies at every turn.
Enjoy links to these Spring hot spots and many more at Pluff Mud Kids blog!
Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out.
Charleston named one of South's tastiest towns
issue of Southern Living magazine names Charleston one of the South's
"tastiest towns. Read
N.C., took home the top award, the magazine said Charleston impressed
editors and voters for its hyper-attention to local sourcing and indigenous
heirloom ingredients. Chefs Sean Brock and Mike Lata are cited as the
city's star tastemakers. The magazine also singles out Butcher & Bee,
Two Borough's Larder and The Macintosh and recommends having a barrel-aged
Manhattan at the bar at Husk.
"The South's culinary scene has become richer and more diverse than ever," said Southern Living Travel and Features Editor Jennifer Cole. "Whether you're a native or a tourist, there's an endless variety of dishes, restaurants and local flavors to discover across our region."
Other tasty towns: Asheville, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Austin, Texas; Greenville, S.C.; Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn.; Miami, Fla.; and New Orleans, La.
Standing up to racism
across the Charleston area will stand up to inequality and for human rights
at a four-day event and rally called Stand Together Acclaim A New Day
(STAND). It is sponsored by the YWCA Greater Charleston with several other
four-day event is an outgrowth of the National YWCA's "Stand Against
Racism" movement which began in 2007 and drew some 250,000 supporters
to outdoor rallies held nationwide last April. The Charleston rally is
set for 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., April 26, at the YWCA, 106 Coming Street. It
will include speeches, music and food, a poetry slam, drummers and dance.
At 4:30 p.m., rally goers will form a human-chain demonstration along
Calhoun Street between St. Philip and Coming streets, across from the
College of Charleston. The rally is open to the public and admission free.
show the American people are moving in the direction of full, equal rights
for all people and a greater acceptance of diversity. All-in efforts are
needed to keep the Lowcountry moving forward lest we fall behind the national
trend" said YWCA Executive Director Kathleen Rodgers.
other than the kickoff, are held at the YWCA, 106 Coming Street, downtown
Charleston. Thursday's event is $5 general admission. More
County resolution seeks to ban text messaging while driving
Charleston County Council will consider a resolution banning text messaging while driving during its 5 p.m. Finance Committee meeting on April 18.
According to the draft resolution, the county is seeking the resolution to promote transportation safety. Texting while driving is banned in 39 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"Studies from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute show texting while driving increases the risk of crashing by 23 times," the resolution says. "University of Utah studies show that using a cell phone while driving delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent."
The draft resolution, which could be voted on by the full council on April 23 if it is approved by committee, encourages the General Assembly to make it unlawful to drive a motor vehicle while texting, typing, sending or reading data on an electronic device.
Charleston Animal Society is nation's leader in certifications
The Charleston Animal Society is the nation's leader in United States animal shelters in the number of fully accredited trainers under the ASPCA's SAFER (Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming) program. In Charleston, 11 professionals at the animal shelter have received the training, according to a press release.
Designed to assess the probability of future aggression in dogs age six months and older, SAFER evaluates potential behavioral issues to help potential adopters make informed decisions.
are examined in dogs when compiling their SAFER profiles. Dogs in Charleston
Animal Society's program must undergo routines involving look, sensitivity,
tag, squeeze, food behavior, toy behavior, and dog-to-dog behavior before
they are put on the shelter's adoption floor. It also serves as a useful
tool in behavior modification for dogs that may need training and assistance
before they are deemed eligible for adoption.
This eighteenth-century house in northern Charleston County was the centerpiece of a large rice plantation and home to members of the Horry, Pinckney, and Rutledge families. Though a construction date has not been conclusively determined, the Horry family, early Huguenot settlers of the Santee Delta area, may have built the house between 1730 and 1759.
When first constructed, Hampton was a relatively simple timber-framed farmhouse, but before the end of the eighteenth century it had grown into an impressive Georgian-style mansion. Possibly around 1761 Colonel Daniel Horry undertook an extensive building campaign that included the addition of two large wings, several upstairs rooms, and a ballroom. Sometime prior to 1791 Horry's wife, Harriott Pinckney, supervised the construction of a massive Adamesque portico, one of the earliest of its type in American domestic architecture.
By 1804 a traveler to the region described it as a "seat of wealth, splendor, and aristocracy" in the tradition of "cultivated English taste." Hampton Plantation was home to two notable South Carolinians: the pioneering indigo planter Eliza Lucas Pinckney and the poet laureate Archibald Rutledge.
The impressive architectural display of Hampton's mansion was financed with profits created by the intensive cultivation of rice, the Lowcountry's basis of wealth. However, the plantation was not just a residence for socially prominent families. It was also a community made up of hundreds of enslaved African Americans, which included field workers and domestic slaves as well as artisans such as blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters, and masons.
Plantation was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Since
1971 the South Carolina State Park Service has managed the site as a historic
house museum. In addition to the house, the plantation also includes
a surviving kitchen building, archaeological sites, remnants of rice fields,
and extensive 20th century gardens.
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
Charleston Currents offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally.
Charleston Currents is provided to you twice a week by:
Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413
We hope you'll keep receiving the great news and information from CharlestonCurrents.com, but if you need to unsubscribe, click here.
© 2008-2013, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Most generous cities in the South
The South is the nation's most generous region with nine cities ranking in the top 25 in online giving in 2012, according to a new report by Charleston's Blackbaud. Those cities, each of which has at least 100,000 people, are:
95th nationally. Number one? Seattle. See complete rankings here.
It's that time
Insert your email address and click subscribe for free.
IN THE WEEK AHEAD
(NEW) Trade talk: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., April 15, Harbor Club, 35 Prioleau St., Charleston. Sir Peter Westmacott, the British Ambassador to the United States, will discuss opportunities for trade and investment between the U.S. and United Kingdom at a luncheon hosted by the World Trade Center Charleston. More: Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Design secrets: 3 p.m. April 18, 4 South Adgers Wharf, Charleston. Designer Kimberly Grigg will offer secrets of Southern design at a talk at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's 36th annual Designer Showcase. More.
(NEW) Third Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., April 18, downtown Summerville. SouthRail Bluegrass Band will perform in Hutchinson Square as visitors can visit local boutiques and stroll through an art walk. More online.
(NEW) Charleston Academy of Music concert: 12:15 p.m., April 18, Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, 86 Jonathan Lucas Street, Charleston. Young musicians from the Academy will perform at MUSC. Free. More.
(NEW) Farmers Market: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays through Oct. 3. The Daniel Island Farmers Market will resume starting April 18 at a new location on Seven Farms Drive in front of the Family Circle Tennis Center. More.
CONTINUING AND IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
(NEW) Burger luncheon: Noon, April 26, Fish restaurant, 442 King Street, Charleston. Local author Ken Burger will discuss his newest novel, "Salkehatchie Soup," at Blue Bicycle Books' Author Luncheon series. A champagne and dessert reception will follow in the bookstore, 420 King Street. Tickets are $25. More: BlueBicycleBooks.com
Pencil Point: 11 a.m., April 27, Physician's Auditorium, College of Charleston. The Charleston International Film Festival will offer a screening of this S.C. Film Commission-award winning short film by Charleston-based composer Ayala Asherov-Kalus. More on the film.
Hunt & Habit: Through April 21, Charleston Museum, Meeting Street. The museum will present an original exhibition of women's and men's riding habits, hats and accessories from the 19th and early 20th century. More info.
Where the Wild Things Run: 8:30 a.m., April 27, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel. Run through the marshes and woods in this 5K race. Cost is $28 to $34. Online registration is open through April 26. More online at: www.ccprc.com.
"Anything Goes:" Through April 27 at the historic Dock Street Theatre. Charleston Stage will offer Cole Porter's classic musical comedy as the grand finale of its 35th anniversary season. Tickets range from $38.50 to $57.50. Available online at: www.CharlestonStage.com
Shaggin' on the Cooper: Gates open, 7 p.m., April 27, Mount Pleasant Pier. Charleston County Parks and Recreation will kick off its annual dance event series with live music by Groove Train. Other events will be monthly through September. Tickets are $10 per person; available in packages. On Folly Beach, "Moonlight Mixers" will open May 31. More.
(NEW) Industry Day: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., May 9, Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston. The Charleston Post of the Society of American Military Engineers will hold its annual industry day with speakers and networking opportunities. Register here. Contact: Melvin Williams.
Color in Freedom Experience: Through May 20, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. This interactive exhibit involving the Underground Railway experience offers 49 works by artist Joseph Holston. More.
Images due by June 6. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is holding
its annual photo contest for photos taken at the attraction between March
1 and May 31. Entry is $25. To enter and look at rules, visit the Lowcountry
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
Noble: Envision SC