Indigo Dreams: Downhome Roots Of The Blues

Donna Hardy

A blues artist of a sort, Donna Hardy is a plant-loving native of Augusta, Georgia. She shares where her interest in a new-found species, descended from a 270 year old indigo plant inspired her to specialize in growing and harvesting indigo in Charleston, South Carolina. Farmer, chemist, historian, entrepreneur and artist, Hardy digs into how the plant used to create the beautiful blue is a culture all its own.

Donna Hardy’s earliest memories are of learning about plants from her mother. This interest has grown, including the 10 years of study and work with plant materials for fiber dyes. Fascinated with indigo, she moved to Charleston, South Carolina to start an organization to cultivate the plant, which was one of the three major crops of colonial America. Hardy is working with Dr. Brian Ward and others in the Lowcountry to promote the use of natural dyes, in the cultivation and use of Indigofera suffruticosa, an original indigo plant, which had been presumed lost. Her mission is to create a thriving, sustainable indigo culture, with the ultimate goal being truly domestic blue jeans not only manufactured, but made of cotton and indigo grown, in the Southeast.