I have been resisting dyeing with kowhai flowers up to now because all parts of the plants are poisoning but also because the nectar is a preferred food source for tui and kereru. As I get more and more interested in natural dyes especially from New Zealand and flowers were abundant this year I decided to test the dye on a variety of natural fibres (silks, wool, muka and linen).
Freshly picked kowhai flowers
Soaked in water for a couple of days
Because of the strange smell I did the boiling and dyeing outside.
Samples with alum as mordant, not very bright although I like the shades which can give a beautiful subtlety on silks.
Samples dyed with a piece of copper plate, not much different from the alum mordant samples.
Samples with iron as mordant, almost a taupe shade. Quite a bit disappointing as I expected much stronger colours but there are some nice shades among them.