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ARTS: Indigo dying demonstration both a science and an art

Sarah Dalziel demonstrates woad extraction at Joybilee Farms; Photo, submitted.

People from age four to 70 came out last Saturday to experience the art of indigo dying. Not only did the visitors to Joybilee Farm get to test out the variety of blue tones in the indigo dye, but they were able to learn how the dye is created from the woad plant.

At the 3rd Annual Indigo/Woad Day on July 24, 33 people came to play in the dye vats. Some brought their own fabric or wool others purchased inexpensive dye blanks at the farm. Tiffany and her mom, Liz Klassen got creative and brought white cotton T-shirts purchased from the thrift store to dye in the vats.

"Vats were kept recharged throughout the day, so even those who came later were able to achieve dark blues," said Christine Dalziel, one of the farm's owners. "The magic of indigo dissolves barriers and even those with little or no crafting experience had joy and success when playing with the vats."

In the morning, Sarah Dalziel harvested woad leaves from her natural dye garden, part of an ongoing science project, and demonstrated the complicated process of  converting the indigo precursors in the leaves to indigotin, that can be used in natural dyeing.

Luck was on her side as two retired science professors from California were in the audience, and Lynette Corbeil enjoyed her role as science fair judge for a few minutes. There was a sigh when the silk scarves came out of  the woad vat and turned from green to blue, demonstrating the magic of indigo.

Some farm visitors were too shy to jump right in and dye some fabric but later wished they had. It was more fun to play in the vats than just watch others playing. A few private indigo parties have now been booked at the farm by some who attended the indigo day but wanted more.

By the end of the day the vats were almost exhausted and so were the resident shepherds at Joybilee Farm.

The next event at Joybilee Farm is on Saturday, Aug. 7, the 3rd Annual Linen Festival.

Links:

http://fiberarts.ca

http://joybilee-farm.blogspot.com

http://tinctorium.blogspot.com

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