Dyeing with gorse

As the Ditchling course is on hold at the moment and the students are working at home, I have been suggesting plants they might find locally for the dye pot. Fiona Eastwood, one of the students on the course, has been experimenting with gorse Ulex europaeus, which is currently in glorious bloom all around us here in Sussex. The bright yellow flowers produce a delicious coconut aroma when used in the dye pot and they give a beautiful bright yellow. The flowers are best used at about 200% for really strong yellows and I prefer to use them on their own without any stalks or leaves. The plants are quite thorny, so it is advisable to wear gloves when collecting gorse flowers. For best results use an alum mordant.

This shows skeins dyed in gorse flowers at 200% flowers. The fibres are wool and silk. Alum mordant

The photo below shows fleece and wool dyed in gorse twigs and flowers at less than 200%. Alum mordant

Both photos by Fiona Eastwood