Judith Browning wrote:I know you're not interested in using facebook but there are some interesting groups there discussing natural dyes. One is devoted to indigo vats and covers woad also...another I am learning a lot from has to do with lichens and mushroom dyeing and the third is natural dye ferments.
All three have active real time problem solving discussions and are quite helpful.....natural dye nerds!!!
Any chance you could convince some of your woad friends to pop in here?
We're on water conservation measures now, so I will probably make most of the rest of the plants into woad balls.
But I still want to make one successful vat this year.
You’re welcome to share anything here, there and vice versa
after reading the method you are using in the link I provided she says...
Soda ash is most likely her problem. It takes weeks to settle. Recommend that she reads the Fibershed article I link in my announcement post.
(I'm guessing you've already read the fibershed article)
And that she switches to lime (the short answer;)
and a short discussion about lye/soda ash that I ran across. (because you mentioned using 'lye' rather than the soda ash called for in the instructions?)
I have tried lye, since I have that on hand and knew it did not produce the sediment. The problem I had is that it took much longer to precipitate - almost like when I used no alkali at all. Can you shed any light on this?
...and the response
Lye (sodium hydroxide) is a very strong alkali and will take the pH well over 11.5 with very little lye added. I suspect that this was keeping the dissolved indigo in solution by rotting the vegetal material as a more aggressive reduction process. That would suggest, as always, manage the pH.
There are so many tidbits and extended informative conversations going on in this group I wish you could find a comfortable way to join? I think one can have a facebook account and not go public necessarily...just set things as 'private'. You don't even have to have a photo or give out any information... not even use your real name, although like here I think it has to sound real.
No one from that group has offered to come here yet but Brittney was very helpful and I think has her hands full as admin.
I have linked to this post and mentioned the other active dye and fiber threads so maybe there will still be some interest...
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
I wandered around a couple of counties in E. Oregon that are supposed to have the invasive woad problem while camping, but I couldn't find any. I think it sometimes takes a while to get used to the regular plants in an area, then after awhile, you can pick out your intended foraged target. I am sure that eventually I will find it. I might try to grow it meanwhile from seeds. We have very acidic natural soil here, and it likes neutral to alkali soils.
Hello Woad Lovers!
I am a medical student conducting a novel innovative research project alongside the textile design program at my university where we are attempting to use invasive plants for potential dye and fiber uses. In my preliminary research I have come across a lot of info on woad, but unfortunately I do not have the time to grow a plant in my lab. Is there any way that one or some of you could space some woad from your garden or local woad source that I could use for my research? My research team and I would love to try to begin working with woad as a jumping point for the invasive species we are testing for our area. Time is of the essence, so please reach out to me if you think you could help!
One of our local groovy herbalists was selling it this spring, so I planted it and it is thriving. I was able to collect a bit to dry it. I am using it primarily during the winter, our flu season. Drying it is recommended so it doesn't become a dye. ALternatively, to make a dye, don't dry it. She said that it is resilient in its growth, even here on the wet side of the mountains. It is invasive on the dry side of the mountains. I look forward to having a lot of it. It reminds me that Stephen Harrod Buhner, one of the great herbalists, explains that it and many other medicinal herbs are aggressive/invasive. Make your own interpretation as to whether you think that is God helping us/ the wisdom of nature/ the as of yet unknown power of the universe helping us in some way that we can't yet explain.