The Blues

The Blues

Our annual woad and indigo harvest and dye workshop was an evening of gentle delight.  It involved curiosity, experiment and awe at that magical transformation of plant into colour.  We also harvested our flax and ate amazing scones with home-made jams.  Sometimes you can imagine that all is right with the world.

We did two pots – one of woad and one of Japanese indigo, which usually gives a stronger colour but we found the woad was just as potent this year.  Thanks to Steve for taking the photos.

Woad seeds.
Woad leaves steeped in hot water for about 40 minutes.
Japanese indigo steeping.
The liquid should be sherry-coloured (ph9). Then get oxygen into it until the bubbles turn blue.


Add Spectralite and leave till the liquid turns yellowy-green.
Get the temperature up to 50 degrees C.
Wait, talk, eat scones.
Fold, twist and block the fabric.


Fold, clip, twist or block the fabric.
Gently put the fabric in the vat, avoiding getting air into the liquid.
Leave the fabric for about 10 minutes. It should be fully submerged to avoid oxidisation. Easier said than done.


Carefully remove the fabric, avoiding drips. As it hits the air it will turn blue.