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Deeper Than Indigo - Southeast Textile Symposium

Title of symposium credited to Jenny Balfour, author of Deeper Than Indigo: Tracing Thomas Machell, Forgotten Explorer 

Flagler College Campus
St. Augustine, Florida
February 21 - 23, 2019

This symposium provides an opportunity, on the eve of Flagler College’s Fiftieth Anniversary, to investigate the rich history of St. Augustine and the Southeastern United States through the lens of the Indigo trade and the repercussions of slavery and colonialism.  We are offering an occasion to rethink the historical narrative related to the Atlantic slave trade through shared voices across a multitude of artistic practices and pedagogies. Please join us as we explore our history through the hues of this fascinating and widely revered natural dye.

Schedule Overview

Thursday, February 21

Self-Guided Field Trip Day

Friday, February 22   

Speakers and Opening Reception for “Contemporary Fibers” 

Saturday, February 23

Speakers, Luncheon and Indigo Dye Workshop

February 21 – 23

Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo, A Documentary Film by Mary Lance

 

Speakers are free and open to the public.

Luncheon and Indigo Dye Workshop have limited space and a small fee.

Reservations made January 15 – February 1, 2019.

Reservation info posted on this site after January 1, 2019. 

Event Details

Thursday, February 21

Thursday, February 21

Self-Guided Field Trip Day

Explore textile history and culture in the local community and regional institutions.

All local institutions are within walking distance of one another.

Regional institutions are within a two-hour drive of St. Augustine.  

View the documentary, Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo, at the local cinema.

Check out Random Acts of Fiber Kindness, a community public art project.

A map with locations will be made available on this website early February 2019.

Local Institutions

All sites are within walking distance of Flagler College. 

ALUMNI HOUSE

Local Origins: Textiles and Textile Related Objects from St. Augustine

Hours: 12:00 – 2:00 (a one-day event, Thursday, February 21, 2019)

Admission: Free

Location: Flagler College Campus, next door to the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum

https://library.flagler.edu/college-archives/

MINORCAN CULTURAL SOCIETY OF ST. AUGUSTINE

Demonstration of Minorcan fish net weaving by Mike Usina.

Hours: 10:00 – 2:00 (a one-day event, Thursday, February 21, 2019)

Admission: Free

Location: Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, Flagler College Campus

https://www.menorcansociety.net/

LIGHTNER MUSEUM

Textile artifacts amongst a collection of oddities.

Hours: Saturday – Sunday, 9:00 – 5:00

Admission: Adults $15, Active Military $12, Seniors $12, College Students $12.

Location: 75 King Street

http://lightnermuseum.org

TEXTILE ARTS GUILD OF ST. AUGUSTINE

Stop by the guild to visit with members and view their work.

Spinning and weaving demonstrations.

Hours: 10:00 – 1:00 (a one-day event, Thursday, February 21, 2019)

Location: First floor Lightner Museum Complex, Suite 143.

E-mail: TextileArtsGuild@gmail.com

Facebook Page: St. Augustine Textile Arts Guild

ST. AUGUSTINE ART ASSOCIATION

Pop-Up Textile Show. Textile related work from permanent collection as well as guest artists. One-day event Friday, February 21, 2019. Hours for Pop-Up TBA.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 4:00. Sunday 2:00 – 5:00.

Admission: Free

Location: 22 Marine Street

http://www.staaa.org/

LINCOLNVILLE MUSEUM

The museum will have a selection of textiles from the collection on view during Field Trip Day.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 – 3:00

Admission: Adults $10, Youth and Students with ID $5

Location: 102 Martin Luther King Ave.

http://www.lincolnvillemuseum.org

FATHER O’REILLY HOUSE MUSEUM, DIOCESE OF ST. AUGUSTINE AND SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH

Lace Collection and other textiles.

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 - 3:00

Admission: Free. Donations Accepted.

Location: 32 Aviles Street

http://fatheroreilly.house

FIRST CONGREGATION SONS OF ISRAEL

Textiles from the archives will be on display.

Hours: TBA

Admission: Free. Donations accepted.

Location: 161 Cordova Street

https://www.firstcongregationsonsofisrael.com/

THE WOMAN’S EXCHANGE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

Historic house museum, circa 1750, with focus on garments and domestic textiles.

Tour Hours: Sunday – Friday, 12:30 – 4:00. Saturday 10:30 – 4:00.

Admission: No fee for walk-in docent-led tours. Donations are gratefully accepted. Group tours are charged a fee and arranged in advance.

Location: Peña-Peck House, 143 Saint George Street

http://penapeckhouse.com

VILLA ZORAYDA MUSEUM

Egyptian Sacred Cat Rug, Oriental Rugs, 200-year old Prayer Rug, Dutch and Middle Eastern Tapestries.

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 – 5:00. Sunday, 11:00 – 4:00.

Admission: $10. Discounts Available. Includes audio-guided tour in English, Spanish and French.

Location: 83 King Street

https://villazorayda.com

CORAZON CINEMA AND CAFÉ

Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo, A Documentary Film by Mary Lance

http://wp.bluealchemyindigo.com

Three show times scheduled during the symposium.

Thursday, February 21, 6:00 pm. Friday, February 22, 11:00 am. Saturday, February 23, 4:00 pm

Free Admission courtesy of Corazon Cinema and Cafe

Location: 36 Granada Street

http://www.corazoncinemaandcafe.com/

RANDOM ACTS OF FIBER KINDNESS

A community yarn bomb project led by the Textile Arts Guild of St. Augustine, Laura Mongiovi, Associate Professor, Fine Art, Flagler College and Ilyssa Harrington, Fine Art Major, Flagler College.

Hours: Wednesday, February 20 to Sunday, February 24

Admission: Free

Location: West Lawn, Flagler College Campus, between King St. and Valencia St.

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Friday, February 22

All speakers located in Gamache Theater

First Floor, Student Center, Flagler College Campus

Corner of King Street and Sevilla Street

Metered and side street parking available near campus.

Public Parking Garage (fee) located approximately five blocks from campus.

If you are visiting from out of town, we recommend securing lodging as soon as possible.

February can be a busy month in St. Augustine. 

Friday, February 22

Welcome and Acknowledgements

1:00 – 1:30pm

Andrea McCook, Dean of the School of Creative Arts and Letters

Elizabeth Kozlowski, Symposium Co-Director

Laura Mongiovi, Symposium Co-Director 

“Blue is the Warmest Color: Indigo and the Textile Collection of the Ruth Funk Center at the Florida Institute of Technology”

1:30 – 2:30pm

Keidra Navaroli, Assistant Director and Chief Curator, Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida

“Indigo’s History in Northeast Florida”

3:00 – 4:00pm

Daniel L. Schafer, Professor Emeritus, History, University of North Florida 

“Contemporary Fibers”, National Juried Textile Exhibition

Juror, Elizabeth Kozlowski, Editor Surface Design Journal

Tovar House, St. Augustine Historical Society, 22 Francis Street

An approximately 15-minute walk from Flagler College Campus.

Limited parking available in the lot located across the street from Tovar House. 

Opening Reception, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Exhibition dates Friday, February 22 – Sunday, March 24, 2019

This exhibition is organized with support from:

Magen Wilson, Executive Director, St. Augustine Historical Society

Jeanette Vigliotti, Digital Media Specialist, St. Augustine Historical Society

Also on view from the Historical Society’s collection:

St. Augustine in Ecstasy

French School (19th Century), Inscribed Fair par Melle. Alx Albert/Elevede Melle. Vives/Dedie a san Pere/Le to Aout 1853, lower right and lower left, Silk thread, 23 ½ x 18 inches 

 

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Saturday, February 23

All speakers located in Gamache Theater

First Floor, Student Center, Flagler College Campus

Corner of King Street and Sevilla Street

Metered and side street parking available near campus.

Public Parking Garage (fee) located approximately five blocks from campus.

If you are visiting from out of town, we recommend securing lodging as soon as possible.

February can be a busy month in St. Augustine. 

Saturday, February 23

“Indigo Past to Present: Ossabaw Island and Colonial Georgia 1760-1782”

9:00 – 10:00am

Elizabeth DuBose, Executive Director, Ossabaw Foundation, Savannah, Georgia

“Material Culture: Identity and Privilege”

Panel Discussion

10:00-11:00am

Elizabeth Kozlowski, Editor, Surface Design Journal, Independent Curator, PhD Candidate, Cultural Anthropology, Tulane, New Orleans, Louisiana

Lori Lee, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida

Judy Newland, Studio Manager at Cloth Roads Fair Trade and Anthropology Faculty at CU Boulder 

“By Hand: Contemporary Practices in Fiber Arts”

Panel Discussion

11:15 – 12:15pm

Ann Chuchuvara, Textile Designer, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Laura Mongiovi, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Design, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida

Bethany Taylor, Associate Professor, School of Art and Art History, University of Florida, Gainesville

Luncheon

Reservation and payment made January 15 - February 1, 2019.

12:30 – 1:30pm

Virginia Room, Second Floor Student Center, Flagler College Campus

Keynote Speaker

1:45-2:45pm

Rowland Ricketts, Associate Professor, School of Art, Architecture and Design, Indiana University, Bloomington

Indigo Dye Workshop with Judy Newland

Reservation and payment made January 15 - February 1, 2019

3:00 – 4:30 pm

Studio 3 in Molly Wiley Art Building, Flagler College Campus

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Reformation, Indigo, and the history of slavery in the Southern Colonies

"One hundred thousand slaves, Black or mulatto, work in sugar mills, indigo and cocoa plantations, sacrificing their lives to gratify our newly acquired appetites for…things unknown to our ancestors."

--Voltaire, Essay on Morals and Customs, 1756

Narrative by Elizabeth Kozlowski

Indigo has been recognized as the "king of dye" for millennia. The use of the plant's blue dye for adornment, religious ritual, and as a symbol of political and social status occurred independently in cultures around the world. The Sanskrit name for the dye derives from nila, an Indian word which translates to “dark blue” (and survives in our word, aniline). The ancient Greeks referred to the product as the Indian dye, indikon.

Indigo was also used in the Americas long before the arrival of Europeans. The Nahuatl of Guatemala called the native indigo xiuhquilitl (blue herb) and used it to paint murals, pottery and cloth. Yet, blue isn’t just a hue. Many Americans recognize the history of popular music including the blues, emerged from African-American gospel and work songs. However, few may realize that the color blue is also directly related to the African-American experience and slavery. The link is a deep blue natural dye, known the world over as indigo.

Introduced into Louisiana in 1763, indigo was the colony's top export. When the Spanish took over Louisiana (1769-1803) indigo continued to be the main cash crop in the area around New Orleans. Worm infestations at the end of the 18th century caused repeated crop failures and by 1800, planters turned to sugar, cotton, and tobacco.

The earliest workers on Spanish indigo plantations were Native Americans who were either enslaved outright or bound to the land like serfs through the feudal-style encomienda system. When the Spanish became convinced that the Indians were dying of diseases caused by indigo processing, they shifted them to field work and began buying African slaves to work the dye vats because they believed black slaves were less susceptible to illness.

The "Indigo Bonanza" referrers to a 30-year time period when indigo planters could double their money every three to four years. By 1775, indigo was responsible for over a third of South Carolina's income. On the eve of the American Revolution, South Carolina's planters were exporting 1.1 million pounds of indigo, with a modern value of $30 million. Producing indigo was labor intensive and, in the West Indies and American colonies, only possible through a system of slavery. Contemporary accounts indicate that when prices were high, indigo dyestuff could be exchanged for slaves; it is said that a planter in South Carolina could fill his bags with indigo and ride to Charleston to buy a slave with the contents, “exchanging indigo pound for pound of negro weighed naked.

The main export crop in British East Florida during the 1760s and 1770s was indigo. Located six miles north of St. Augustine and one-half mile east of the Atlantic Ocean, between the North and Guana Rivers, this site maps the area of an indigo plantation owned by James Grant, the first governor of East Florida. The majority of the laborers were born in Africa and purchased from merchants involved in the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Florida indigo plantations were normally blessed with long growing seasons that enabled the overseers to direct three cuttings of the weed, compared to only two cuttings for Georgia and South Carolina plantations. Indigo was the East Florida commodity that initially brought James Grant lucrative earnings. It is said that his true fortune was made from the enslaved black men and women he employed at Guana River.

The War of Independence closed the forests of North Carolina and subsequently opened the markets in the British west Indies for products from Florida Forests. The war transformed British East Florida into a producer of naval stores (lumber, tar, pitch, and turpentine) and war provisions by 1780.  Indigo was no longer the source for building fortunes it once was.

This symposium provides an opportunity, on the eve of Flagler College’s Fiftieth Anniversary, to investigate the rich history of St. Augustine and the Southeastern United States through the lens of the Indigo trade and the repercussions of slavery and colonialism.  We are offering an occasion to rethink the historical narrative related to the Atlantic slave trade through shared voices across a multitude of artistic practices and pedagogies. Please join us as we explore our history through the hues of this fascinating and widely revered natural dye.

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