Linda Moss on ancient use of Woad brought up to date

Tuesday 20th Sep 2011


Woad harvesting….

Not what most 21st century creative practitioners are busy with, but if you colour your own wool with home grown vegetable dyes, this is the time of year to collect the fully-grown green leaves of woad before they die down. I can’t grow indigo high up here in the Peak District (much too cold) but woad, used by the Celts for colouring wool, for war paint and an antiseptic (hence useful as war paint) flourishes. I’m also dividing the plants to grow more woad for next year.. you need a lot of leaves to make a reasonable dye colour.

Woad produces the rarest of natural colours: blue! It’s a soft, slightly smokey blue, and it’s a fiddle to do the dyeing, involving repeated dip-dyeing and oxidization when the wool turns from green to blue upon exposure to the air. Look out for woad-dyed yarn and hats in my next collection!

I’ve had good results this year with golden rod too: both the flowers and leaves rendered a soft, warm gold-green dye colour.
Vegetable-dyed pure wool yarns from my own and other local sheep will be available at my stand Sheep to Chic at Buxton Artist and Designer Fair, Dec. 4-5th 2011. Linda Moss Sept 2011

Linda Moss will be featured in UK Hand Made in the comming weeks - take a look at their website for a whole host of crafts and design talent from the UK.

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