Memories: F/B is good at finding your photos on its site. This one came up this morning. My dyeing of wools, the act of finding dye material, the mordant and then the final appearance of the wool. Natural dyes have a softer appeal than the chemical dyes. Looking at the photo, I think the brown is the only chemical dye. One of the 'magic' moments of dyeing with indigo is when you pull the wool from the dye bath as the material hits the air the oxygen turns the wool blue from the green. A sort of oh moment. You can see a full explanation here.
It is thought that in the Iron Age, the woad plant (Isatis Tinctoria) a species of the indigo family was used to colour the skin but of course none of that can be proved.
There is a chemical indigo now, growing the indigo woad plant, takes a full two years when the leaves are ready, and a steeping in urine was the preferred option in the olden days. Though wood ash can be used in the mordanting moment.
Thistles 2008: Even Moss lifts his leg with great delicacy against this thistle;)
And just to finish off a video of the process. Liziqi, the person who makes these videos of a farm idyll in China has somewhat disappeared off the radar but appears in other social media. She has/had millions of viewers to her videos, but obviously is doing something wrong the Chinese authorities think.
So another video here will show you how she dyes, firstly with the plants and secondly the application of wax on the material to create pattern.
What is interesting about this, is the similarity to the 'lost wax' techniques found in the making of metal objects. Wikipedia will fill you out here.