Friday, May 20, 2011

Dreaming of Blue


As part of my experiments with natural colour sources I planted Indigo and Woad yesterday. Here are Indigo seeds looking like lentils. I think they are the same family or some kind of pea.

Its a bit crazy since they need 75 degrees to germinate and even hotter to grow. But they are sitting beside my gas fire with their little pots wrapped in plastic. I'll feel pleased even if all I manage to do is germinate them

Imagine all the history contained in these seeds! Indigo has been cultivated for centuries and exported around the world. Probably on donkeys and camels and all kinds of wooden sailing ships. Once the intense blue dye was available in Northern Europe it displaced woad as a source of blue. Poor woad farmers! I like to think of all the rich and exotic stories these seeds suggest to me. 

This is woad and I planted it outside since it is more suited to the Seattle climate. I think it can become invasive so it is growing in pots and I won't let it go to seed. It will be fun if it grows well enough to produce blue dye. 

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