I recently had the good fortune to be invited to teach fiber art in southern France, and I was also able to enjoy a few days of seeing the countryside and other perks. The last day we were in that region, we did a woad-dyeing class, which was so much fun! Woad is a plant that is native to the area surrounding Toulouse, and it dyes textiles a beautiful shade of blue. The color has a rich history in France; it was feared by many in ancient times, and the dyers were even feared as "sorcerers"! Actually this doesn't really surprise me - if you ever woad-dye and watch the fabric emerge from the dye-pot as yellow and then transform into green and then blue, you would think this must be magic, too! The color transformation is reminiscent of indigo dyeing, but the blue is softer and a bit lighter in hue. Textiles can be dyed several times to darken the color, so there are many shades of blue that can be achieved.
We learned so much about the rich history of woad-dyeing; one thing was that in the beginning, people started out dyeing mainly silk and wool before adding cottons and linens to the mix. All the students in our class brought things to dye, and we also picked up some antique linens,
shirts and garments while shopping in the villages of southern France. I
brought a little assortment of various textiles including linens,
cottons, silk, wool, laces, and even some pearl cotton! I also wet-felted a couple of wool beads
from some sheep's wool I found at a market there. The night before our
dyeing class, we soaked all our things to be dyed in vats of plain cold
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
What a whirlwind year it's been already! One of the highlights for me was having the opportunity to present the fashion show for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2019 in Hampton, VA. It was a lot of work, but all worth it - I think everyone who participated had a great time! A huge thanks to all who helped, from my incredible models, to all the behind-the-scenes folks who took care of all the details. Also a big thanks to the Mancuso's for inviting me to do this show! Here are a few of the ensembles and the beautiful ladies who modeled them.