In Memorium - Henri Lambert

by - Friday, February 26, 2010

We were deeply saddened to receive the news that Henri Lambert has recently died of a sudden heart attack.

Henri together with is wife Denise was instrumental in leading a revival of woad dye. Henri, who became enamored with the shades of European blue derived from woad, devoted his life to learning the chemistry and science of this dye. The spirit of exploration and a deep curiosity motivated him. Together with Denise the couple was able to use woad in unimaginable ways - in everything from Henri's eyeglass frames to the paint that adorned the Lambert's car.

Only a few months ago, in October of 2009, Henri was in Vancouver with Denise giving a lecture and a workshop. Maiwa carries woad dye from the Lambert's shop, Bleu de Lectoure, and some of the unique woad products that Henri helped create. Many will recall the impact of the subtle shades of blue that graced the stage this fall during the Lambert's presentation at the Slow Clothes Fashion Show. We greatly enjoyed the Lambert's enthusiasm and commitment. We loved Henri's generous spirit and gentle humour.

In addition to his talents as a scientist, researcher and entrepreneur, Henri was a skilled artist. Many of his canvases hang in the gallery/shop in Lectoure and we had the good luck to see them during our visit in 2007.

The natural dye and textile communities have suffered a great and irreplaceable loss with the passing of Herni Lambert. We extend our sympathies to Denise and wish her strength during this difficult time.

Comments are welcome.

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  1. I have just returned from Kolkata where I have been among natural dye enthustists, and where there is a wonderfully positive spirit around the revival of natural dyes. In Europe in particular, Henri's work (with Denise) was absolutely inspirational. I cherish the two visits we made to Bleu de Lectoure. My late husband always wore one of their woad berets - and on the occasions when he lost one, the Lamberts would send another and refuse payment. When my husband died in 2008 our cat sat on his woad beret and refused to move for two days.
    I only heard about Henri's death yesterday but I see that he died on my birthday when we were all discussing reviving natural dyes in Bengal (so I shall always think of him now on that day). Henri's life and work was rich and full but he died too soon. The whole natural dye family will miss him.

  2. This is very sad news. Denise and Henri have created something that is so unique. From seeing them at the symposium and learning more about their work with woad, they seem to have struck a beautiful balance together and with their love of the plant and what can be done with the blue it holds. Denise must be devastated. I hope she will want to continue with the work she and Henri have been so deeply involved with.

  3. I am so sorry to hear about Henri. I was so inspired by the woad workshop in the Fall that I have been wearing woad blue ever since. He was such a creative force for exploring new ways of using old technologies for large new markets. We will miss you Henri. My condolences to Denise. I cannot imagine them separated.

  4. It is unfortunate that I only now learn about this man upon reading about his passing. He seems to have been one of those rare individuals who devoted his life to a passion, and in the process, has educated many people about the wonders of nature. In our western world of commercialism, the natural dye community seems to be so small as it is. With all the work that Henri has done, he will no doubt become a legend. My condolences to Denise and his family.

  5. Maiwa has received several expressions of sympathy on the passing of Henri Lambert. We would like to share them here:



    I would like to thank you all for the Memorium article on Henri.

    For the moment, I can't stop crying and I'm a bit lost. It's not easy and will take some time.

    The Bleu de Lectoure will continue for Henri and I hope to be worthy of his work.

    Many events will be scheduled this year in memory of Henri : A prize Henri Lambert, an international exhibition of the artists having worked with us, The Academy of Arts and Science of Woad will hold their annual diner event in Lectoure in his honor, etc.

    Thanks once again and my love to you all.

    sarl Bleus de Pastel de Lectoure


    Dear Charllotte
    I was so sorry to hear your news of Henri Lambert - thank you for letting me know. He was such a sweet person and it was a great pleasure for me to meet him and Denise at the symposium and the Sylvia. They were such close collaborators in research, design, marketing and every aspect of woad you could think of, that it'll be very difficult for Denise to continue without Henri. I feel sure she has the spirit to carry on and do hope she manages.
    It was such a happy time at the Maiwa symposium and I met so many wonderful people, that it's all the sadder when something like this happens. I've written to Denise to express my sympathy.
    I send all my best wishes to everyone I met at Maiwa and hope all future news is good.
    With very best wishes Sheila


    So very sorry to hear about Henri lambert - the two of them were so passionate about their work, it seems impossible to believe he would be gone. My sympathies to all of you who knew him as a friend, and more, another committed textile/dye person. Best, Ros.


    I will remember the uplifting experience of meeting and learning from Henri and Denise always. They were so passionate, knowledgeable, committed and adventurous. I am so sad to think that I will never see them together again. Denise is such a strong and vivacious woman and I know she will carry on but my heart aches at the thought of her losing her life partner. My deepest sympathies to Denise and all their friends and loved ones. Love, Debbie McGuire


    Dear MAIWA
    thanks for letting us know about the sudden disappearance of dear Lambert
    and we have come to know and appreciate during his days in France Lauiris
    on behalf of some Italian experts natural dyers who knew the pain we join Denise
    Paola, Sissi, Stefano


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