Woad

This is a photo taken before the last dinner at the Chateau. It's a tradition that anyone who has visited would know. You wear the clothes or drape the items that you have woad dyed the day before and gather at the front doors of the Chateau. I know they have been making jewellery with Kaari, and it looks as though most have that on too (sigh). Anyway, I digress. There is an American lady in France called Denise Lambert who teaches all about woad dying in a day class at the Chateau. Woad use dates back to medieval times and I can only imaging the wonder it caused, because even today when fabric has been soaked, wrung and hung on the line, you still hear gasps of wonder when it turns from a pale green to the beautiful, rich, dark blue. Kaari teaches different techniques of creating resists to the fabrics to make patterns (which is what Helen is doing with the corks and rubber bands). The fabrics must be natural and must be soaked in water before it goes into a vat. The vats are set up in the woods behind the chateau, and there are three of different strengths. You must arm yourself with an apron and a wooden pole they are your tools. The fabric must be slid into the vat so as not to create any air bubbles. There is quite the technique in doing this. Once it has had it's allocated time, gently, gently, take it out, squeeze gently (so as not to create bubbles), and hang it over the line strung between the trees. Stand back and watch in awe as the colour intensifies. All these women busily working in the woods around big blue vats, all dressed in aprons with big sticks in their hands changing white fabric to blue, they sound like witches. I'll admit, it is magical.

The final group pic, showing off woad dyed creations

The final group pic, showing off woad dyed creations

Helen preparing fabric to be dyed.

Helen preparing fabric to be dyed.

The fabric must be held in the water so that no air bubbles rise to the surface.

The fabric must be held in the water so that no air bubbles rise to the surface.

Mum is woad dying shasiko threads to use in stitcheries.

Mum is woad dying shasiko threads to use in stitcheries.

The woods are strung with lines to hang out the fabrics. 

The woods are strung with lines to hang out the fabrics.