50g, 200g, 500g, 1 Kg, 4 Kg, 10 Kg
Common Name: Woad
Botanical Name: Isatis tinctoria
Woad gives lovely blues but is a more advanced dye to use. You will also need soda ash and either spectralite or sodium dithionite. The color is extracted via a fermentation vat. Instructions are included. You can dye multiple skeins from one vat with each skein getting progressively lighter until the dye bath is exhausted.
The only source of blue colouring throughout history has been indigo, and woad (Isatis tinctoria) was its source in Europe.
Grown in Europe since the Stone Age it has a long association with East Anglia, notably with Boudicca and the Iceni tribe who used woad to colour their faces before going into battle. Further north the Picts also gained notoriety for their body painting with the blue woad dye. The Romans referred to these Ancient Britons as ‘Picts’ as it is Celtic for “painted”.
Woad balls were very valuable and were used for trading. In 1286, foreign woad merchants had a trading agreement with the citizens of Norwich as there had been a dispute over dock charges in London, where they previously traded. During the early 1300s the woad merchants of Amiens were increasing their sales of woad to Norwich because of the expansion of the cloth industry.
In the mid-1580s woad growing was restricted by the government as grain supplies were beginning to be threatened by woad over-production, which was six times more valuable at that time. Elizabeth I overturned this restriction in 1601 but would not allow any processing near her palaces because of its offensive smell.
Asian indigo from Indigofera tinctoria was grown in the colonies and slowly this replaced the use of woad in indigo dye vats. With the imported indigo from South East Asia and the development of synthetic indigo, (which was cheaper to create), the last woad mill in Lincolnshire closed in 1932.
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