One of my favorite days on our Chateau Getaway has to be Wednesday, because Wednesday is woad day. Each week on Wednesday, Denise Lambert from Bleu de Lectoure comes to the chateau to teach us about the magical allure of the woad plant. Arriving first thing in the morning, Denise goes to work setting up the vats of dye by using the mixture from the mother vat she brings from home. This year Denise made up two different shades of woad - a light blue and a deep, classic blue - both typical shades of woad. After an informative and fascinating lecture, Denise shows us all how to properly place our whites into the vat to achieve a consistent first dye - making sure to get all of the air bubbles out of the clothing is a bit tricky, but is quickly learned by all. Although everyone brings a handful of white pieces to dye - either from home or collected at the flea market on Sunday - most of us were running up to our rooms and digging through our closets to pull out more! White linen pants, blue jeans, t-shirts,scarves and socks were all instantly dyed from yellow to green to blue - thanks to the alchemy of woad. Denise mentioned in her lecture that there were originally thirteen shades of blue that could be obtained through the dye - so I set out to see if I could come close by dying small scraps of hemp.
During lunch the second week, I decided I could no longer hide my enthusiasm for Denise and her knowledge of woad, and asked her if she would ever consider coming to California to teach - and to my great surprise - she said yes! So we have made a plan for next Spring and my mind hasn't stopped thinking about it since. So here I am, still in France and already planning the next big thing!