Indigo industry turns local artist into entrepreneur

JACKSON, Tenn. — Lisa Garner has fallen in love with a hue of blue. Her home in West Tennessee is difficult to miss, as her carport draped in the latest indigo creations is a common sight.

“I’m definitely very enamored with the textile process,” Garner said.

garner blueGarner has been learning the indigo process for a few years but says that is nothing in comparison to artists around the world. “People in Japan study this for years. Their whole lives they’re indigo dyers,” Garner said.

Kimonos, handkerchiefs, pillow covers — if it can be dipped in indigo, Garner has probably tried it. After several years of learning the skill, she’s developed and adapted it to her own art form.

“Sometimes I use cassette tapes, little wooden blocks, rocks, all different things. Whatever the wood is touching will stay white, and then whatever is open will accept the indigo and receive it,” Garner said.

The Wisconsin native, who has lived in Jackson now for about 16 years, says this dye has a lot of versatility in the fashion industry. It is used for a lot more than just denim.

“It can be something that is really dressed up or really casual, and I like that about it. I think it’s a unique thing in that sense,” Garner said.

Pulled from the vat, garments are a yellow-green color. Once they hit the air and begin to oxidize, they take on the blue color. Items are dipped several times, and no item is like the other.

Her enjoyment not only comes with the creative process but with the reaction of buyers when Garner Blue goes to market.

“It’s really encouraging when it’s midnight, you’re doing stuff and thinking ‘why am I working so hard on all this?’ Then you go to market and you’re like, ‘Oh, because everyone loves it,” Garner said.

If you would like to check out some of Garner’s creations for yourself, you can go to her online shop,

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