Coaxing Blue: My Further Adventures with Woad

I’ve used both Indigo and Woad in powdered form but never processed my own plants. Given my limited garden space it’s unlikely I’ll be able to grow enough for all my dye needs but I still like to grow as much as I’m able and understand the process a bit better.

Woad References:
All About Woad: Extraction Page:
Good pictures of the process.
the Yahoo Woad Growers Group:
Nice folks. They were helpful when I had processing/extracting questions.
Rowan’s Woad Page:
Institut für Färbepflanzen: Färberwaid:
If you read or want to practice reading German, this would be a good site.

First year woad plant. From what I’ve read Woad is a bi-annual plant. You get the dye from the first year leaves and your seeds the second year. And, that you can’t get dye the second year. I haven’t tested this out (yet) so anyone correct me if I’m wrong.

Harvesting leaves.

New Woad plants for next year.

Chopping and then stewing or steeping the Woad.

Mixing in the Ammonia to oxygenate.

Waiting around for the particles….(in my case about 3 days). Reading directions for Woad processing it can sound like you see particles settling in 15 minutes or an hour or two. In my case it was more like 3 days to a week. I posted to the Yahoo Woad group to see if I was doing anything incorrectly and got back very helpful replies. In some cases the particle settling phase takes a bit longer.

Finally..shadow on the bottom of the jar is Woad particles I’m waiting for. (Few days more)

Pigment settling and drying.

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