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The Blues

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The Blues
History of Woad Blue

In the Southwest of France, Woad, a small green plant, grown without pesticides has for centuries been known for the remarkable blue colour that is hidden in itís leaves. Called "Blue Gold" because of the prosperity the region enjoyed from the sale of it. Read on and you will discover some of the long and fascinating history about this special blue.

Mostly the Kings Dyers used the extracted dye for the French royalty, but artists prized the foam at the top of a vat of woad in the Renaissance period. Pastel (the French word for woad) became the name of the chalks that these artists created to draw with.

The process of extracting the colour from the plant was quite laborious taking almost a year from harvest to finished product. In the 19th century Napoleon Bonaparte was insistent on his chemists speeding up the process so his armyís uniforms could be dyed in with this blue, shortening the extraction time to 6 days. As travel became more available so did the tropical indigo blue pigments that were easier to produce and then with the introduction of chemical dyes, the use of woad disappeared.

Today in a tiny town near Toulouse you can find a special couple that have dedicated their work to restarting the production of woad in the area. Upon discovery of a 14th century tannery with blue shutters, Denise and Henri fell in love with the colours of woad and have created a company that produces woad and hand dyes luxurious accessories, for you and your home. There is also a line of specialty paints for wood, metal and walls that protects, is a natural insect repellent and will never fade. The artist products, including an all-natural set of pastels are also very exciting.

EllŽnoire is proud to carry this extraordinary line of products from France, please write for more information, and click here to purchase products made with Woad dye.


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