I am not sure why this was going to be one of the best days of my trip. Never being that interested in dying things, even though shades of blue are my favorite colors. But take 20 of my closest new friends, a vat filled with an ancient dye recipe, some long poles, a green grassy area surrounded by trees, clothes-lines, lots of vintage white fabrics, ribbons and "hats" to dye and voila, a truly magical day!
It all started with Denise, the Woad Woman Superior, with such an in depth first hand knowledge of the ancient dying process, with blue hands to prove it.
Everything she wore was dyed in woad, a plant thought of in many parts of the world as a weed. Woad dye predates indigo, is the source of the term "blue-blood" as it originated in France thousands of years ago. Through a very specific and time consuming process the color becomes a permanent dye that only the aristocracy or very wealthy could afford.
After listening to a fascinating lecture on the history and process. (See my video.) We gathered up all the things we brought or purchased at the flea market and headed to the clearing, forever now known as the woad clearing.
Denise had the dye bath all ready for us as we carefully and with a certain amount of skill, inserted our items into the cauldron, oh I mean vat.
We then made up jobs such as poler, runner and dipper. The items were removed from the bath from underneath the most recently added, then gently squeezed out. Right away the items were a greenish yellow, then they turned green then finally a most lovely shade of blue, right before our eyes! Hence the "Magic" of the day.
Chateau of Woad.
In ancient times, after all the dying was done, the shutters would then receive a coating of woad as well.
Now for a good walk.