About the project

Out of the blue - woad, a European cross-border project

The cross-border project "Out of the blue" draws its inspiration from woad, its blue colour, and the associated economical, cultural and social heritage. Partners of the project include museums, libraries, contemporary art galleries, universities and cultural organizations with an interest in the environment and social integration. By summoning objects and crafts of yesteryear, they build upon woad's rich human history and explore its potential as a source of creativity, now and for the years to come.

The project addresses woad's major role in the economic development of both Amiens and southern England since the 12th century.

The asp of Jerusalem, otherwise known as woad, is a plant that produces a blue dye used in Europe until the late 16th century, before the increasingly exploited commercial routes to the Far East made indigo available. In medieval times, woad-producing areas were located in southern England and France, including Somme where it is still being produced. Woad farming is largely responsible for the economical and cultural blooming of those areas, and strongly helped developing the textile industry.

Additionally, the project's partners delve into the cultural significance acquired by the colour blue since that period such as, for instance, its association with charity, melancholy and British humour. They also connect blue to a broader palette, stressing the significance of each colour.

The project stimulates creativity thanks to contributions from a number of artists, architects and landscape designers; its textile design-related endeavours involve students, new historical research and innovative events appealing to a large audience. Additionally, the opportunity for employees and people seeking employment or qualification to develop new skills is an important part of this programme.

In short, the project consists in exploring woad's various aspects, its cultural, environmental, economical and social impact as well as its enduring textile use, while analyzing the specific range of emotions blue acts as a vehicle of.

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