Watercolor paint made from woad

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/24/watercolor-paint-made-from-woa.html


As someone who has been experimenting with mixing watercolors with everything I can (bbq ash, incense ash, concentrated coffee, sumi sticks) who ALSO does indigo dying and cyanotypes this sort of thing is one thousand percent up my alley.



Two woads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less twaveled by


East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet - unless they’re on the same twack.


Romans came across the Channel

All wrapped up in tin and flannel:

Half a pint of woad per man’ll

Dress us more than these.

Saxons, you can waste your stitches

Building beds for bugs in britches:

We have woad to clothe us, which is

Not a nest for fleas.

Romans keep your armours;

Saxons your pyjamas:

Hairy coats were meant for goats,

Gorillas, yaks, Retriever dogs and llamas.

Tramp up Snowdon with our woad on:

Never mind if we get rained or blowed on.

Never want a button sewed on.

Go it, Ancient Bs


Upon observing the superiority of Indigo dyes, the iron-age artist lamented “Woad is me!”


I worked at one of the midwest’s largest used & rare bookstores in the mid 80s. There was a Free Books! box out front, containing damaged and otherwise unsaleable items. One day I found a very amusing little satirical novel in it called Wine, Women, and Woad (1960) by Ed Fisher, which was set in ancient Rome. I learned about woad from it.

One particular line stuck with me through the decades, having much more to do with being a woman than wine or woad:

When you’re up on a pedestal, believe me, there’s nothing you can do but wiggle.


You forgot the attribution: Elmer Fudd.


Well, Elmer Fudd reading Wobert Fwost anyway.


Same chemical as indigo, but usually weaker concentration.

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The National Anthem of the Ancient Britons (to the tune of Men of Harlech)
– William Hope-Jones (often erroneously attributed to “anon”)

There’s a first verse:

What’s the use of wearing braces,
Vests and pants and shoes with laces;
Shirts and ties you buy in places
Down in Brompton Road?

What’s the use of shirts of cotton,
Studs that always get forgotten;
These affairs are simply rotten,
Better far is Woad!

Woad’s the stuff to show men,
Woad to scare your foemen;
Boil it to a brilliant blue
And rub it on your neck and your abdomen
Ancient Briton never hit on
Anything as good as Woad to fit on
Neck or knees or where you sit on,
Tailors, you be blowed!


Indeed there is; my uncle taught me this on walking holidays in the Lake District as a kid.

One of those things that takes up valuable space in the memory banks and cannot be shifted no matter what.


woad, a subtle blue dye derived from an herba noxious weed that grows wild in the British isles

FTFY. (Ever try to get Isatis tinctoria out of a garden?)

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This is good news but my paint box is running low on Capuut Mortuum.

And with live concerts cancelled for COVID-19, it’s so much harder to pick up a Dead Head these days!

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