Monday, May 14, 2012

my woad weekend

Kathy Hattori, Sophie Boss, Denise Lambert, me 

I don't have much time to "chat" here but I couldn't wait to post these photos from the amazing woad workshop I attended on Saturday with Kathy Hattori of Seattle-based Botanical Colors along with master dyer Denise Lambert of Bleu de Lectoure of France and her charming assistant Sophie.

For those of you who missed it, I previously blogged about my obsession with woad here: "mad about woad". I find this "black blue" to be exquisite and cannot wait to use my freshly dyed fabrics (and woad oil paints I purchased from Bleu online) for some upcoming art projects.

According to Denise, woad is a very rare blue that is finicky and demands a lot of patience. It is earth-friendly (requires no mordant) and uses oxygen to complete the color transformation. To achieve a uniform dye color, one must slowly lower the item into the dye vat so as to avoid trapping any air (oxygen) bubbles underneath the surface. Each dip takes anywhere from 3-4 minutes and each item should get at least 2 dips. My biggest challenge will be making my own vat at home -- wish me luck!

Watching the color transformation of the garments as they were being pulled from the various vats in the amphitheater was purely magical. I will try to post the video I captured of one woman's sarong as it changed from yellow-green to vibrant woad.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from the day was something Denise said about working with woad: "You must accept what you receive". What an amazing way to approach life, don't you think?

Woad treasures from the morning session.

Dyed items were hung on makeshift clothes lines at the top of the garden amphitheater which made for a beautiful sight.

Sophie + Denise restocking the vats at lunch time

I experimented with dying my spool of 100% organic cotton thread. I knew the under layers wouldn't dye, but all the better. 

Yarn skeins and canvas shoes of woad blue.

In closing, the workshop was a dream! The weather couldn't have been better, I got to "play" alongside other artists, and I walked away with a hefty bundle of woad-dyed textiles, some for wearing and some for future art projects. One thing's for sure, it was the perfect way to kick start my Mother's Day weekend. Cheers!


  1. Brilliant colors and so "you" Can't wait to see a video of the changes in color, like a living rainbow............Anonymous...not

  2. In my book, this is a dream day. And perfect weather for a day of working with dye outside. I hope to see you in a pair of those rich blue sneaks.

  3. I'm still scrubbing the blue off of my fingers and remembering what a great day that was. Denise returns to Seattle in September so we're busy with plans for another blue gala!