Category Archives: woad

The traditional medieval dyeplant of northern europe for blues

A jamjar with the liquid from a cold soak of woad leaves showing the blue indoxyl at the top.

Indigo from Woad extraction videos.

Ashley Walker and Susan Dye copyright 12th October 2020

Earlier in the Year we ventured into video making during the COVID lockdown. This was for a Zoom meeting of the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. The resulting three videos are very rough but do show some of the essentials of indigo extraction from Woad.

1) Indigo from Woad. Cold Extraction 1

This video shows the extraction of indigo from fresh leaves to the production of indigo in the extract water. This is using the cold soak method and household ammonia as the alkali. This first extraction also uses mildewed leaves showing that they still contain indigo and should not be thrown away.

2) Indigo from Woad. Cold Extraction 2

This second video shows the same extraction method but this time using the good quality leaves and Sodium Hydroxide rather than ammonia as the alkali.

3) Indigo from Woad. Hot extraction

This video shows a quick extraction method using fresh leaf and hot (boiled) water. It is based on the method described by Jenny Dean in her book Wild Colour.

 

Jamjar containing the dark indigo extract after Aeration and alkali has been added

This is what your indigo from Woad extract should look like after alkali has been added and the liquid aerated