Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Woading in Elysian Park
I guess I am addicted to Woad! I have dyed with the natural weed seven times now, and by the end of this summer I will have done it another it another four times! I still get excited by the process and the technique - I actually learn something new every time. Something happens when you gather with a group of curious crafters and spend five hours together - dipping whites into huge vats of different shades of blue. Denise, the master woad dyer, who visits from France, likens it to a sort of magic. In fact, in the 17th century, woad was considered a type of alchemy - a mystical process that turned fabric from acid yellow, to bright green and finally to a deep, rich shade of blue - what is now known as the eponymous French Blue.
If you haven't joined us for a day of Woad, consider signing up for our Spring Workshop, to be held Saturday, May 5th from 9-4. We gather at French General in the morning for coffee and snacks, then carpool up to a historical field in Elysian Park - about 5 minutes away - where we meet Denise and hear about the history of woad. After donning our blue aprons and gloves, we set to work dying everything in sight - feel free to bring your white smocks, aprons, tennis shoes and napkins - anything natural soaks up the dye beautifully and reinvents itself! After a hearty lunch at the picnic tables, we return to the vats to finish up and then head back down the hill to French General for a glass of Lillet and a wrap-up of the day. I'm always surprised how we all like gathering afterwards for a show and tell - everyone has a woad story.
Since we began hosting these workshops, word has gotten out and we now help plan two other workshops - one in Seattle and one in New York - both run by woad aficionados!
See more images of a Woad Workshop - all photographs by Colin Cooke, master Woad photographer!
Posted by Kaari Marie