two days of wonderful woad
Sept 13 & 14 — space still available
By Patricia Belyea
Not only would I learn about dyeing with woad — the King of Blues— I would meet this remarkable woman who spent years cracking the code of the spinach-like leaves of the woad plant to produce blue pigment.
Denise and her late husband Henri have revitalized woad dyeing and cultivation in France, bringing back the medieval techniques of the woad vat for today’s use. She partners with a farming cooperative to maximize the scale of their woad-growing business. One ton of fresh leaves — soaked, oxidized, precipitated, refined and ground — produces 2 kg of fresh woad pigment!
The “other blue”, woad is different from tropical indigo as it produces a softer and more luminous blue. It is found throughout southwest France in paint, textiles and cosmetics.
Either day: $195
Both days: $350
Location: Garden Amphitheater, Magnuson Park, Seattle
DAY ONE: MASTER WOAD CLASS
Friday, September 13
10am to 4pm $195
A master dyer, Denise leads a hands-on class where she discusses woad and how it performs. Denise instructs participants in the art and science of creating a woad mother vat—sharing her recipe and directing the class in mixing their own solutions.
Once the mother vats are mixed and resting, Denise teaches simple shibori resist techniques for fabric design. Fabrics are prepped for dyeing on Friday; all dipping takes place on Saturday. (Class is limited to 20.)
DAY TWO: WOAD DYEING WORKSHOP
Saturday, September 14
10am to 4pm $195
Dipping in woad is an experience that’s meditative, hypnotic and somewhat addictive. Today you gather at the woad vats to dye the items provided by Denise and Botanical Colors as well as your own goodies.
What to bring? Duvets, white canvas high tops, old linens, fat quarters to overdye, canvas shopping bags, cotton nighties, old cashmere sweaters—the list goes on. You can prepare your fabrics with shibori tying or clamping before you come. Or do your tying during the workshop.
You’ll be amazed to see your cloth emerge from the vat and change from yellow to green to a rich French blue right before your eyes.
Denise will also bring her world-famous woad soap, paints, textile inks and other woad products with her.
To register, click through to the Botanical Colors website: Class Registration