In addition to learning by doing, The Linen Project actively participates in sharing knowledge and expertise, working together with various initiatives locally and internationally. A collection of the various exchange and presentation moments is available to view below.
During the Linnen Kavels introduction days, potential local partners got acquainted with the initiative and had the opportunity to experience samples of the locally cultivated and woven textile qualities in their own hands, as well as to place pre-orders with a view to the textiles to be woven in September 2022. The introduction to the partnership between Enschede Textielstad and The Linen Project included a presentation giving a comprehensive view into the motivation, scope and principle values of the local linen value chain that the initiative seeks to activate, including the related ecological, textile, and economic processes.
The Linen Project and Enschede Textielstad are grateful for the support, participation and insightful dialogue from local designers, makers and manufacturers, members of the press, and members of their respective wider communities, including the Shared Stewardship community.
The Linnen Kavels introduction days took place on May 25 2022 at the Iona Stichting in Amsterdam, June 10 2022 at De Horsterhof in Duiven, and July 8-10 2022 at The Linen Project overview exhibition in Arnhem.
For the MVO Nederland masterclass exploring what Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) means for the textile sector, Joan den Exter spoke about her experience as part of The Linen Project and the challenges faced in establishing a collective linen value chain in the Netherlands. Specifically: how can sector stakeholders and participants generate solutions together?
One of the goals of the EPR policy is to increase the proportion of recycled or renewable materials in textile products to 25% by 2025. With this in mind, the masterclass programme addressed how material coalitions throughout the entire chain can generate a return flow to meet recycling targets, as well as the potential of so called ‘forgotten fibres’, such as sustainably produced linen.
MVO Nederland supports and collaborates with Dutch companies and business groups and their international trading partners to produce innovations for the New Economy. This masterclass took place on December 1 2022.
The Research Collective for Decoloniality and Fashion (RCDF) invited The Linen Project to participate in the first Global Fashioning Assembly (GFA22) – a three-day live-on-zoom event with an international multi-host programme connecting a network of local coalitions and audiences across diverse geographies and activities.
During this online panel presentation moderated by textile anthropologist Sandra Niessen,
The Linen Project coordinator Joan den Exter is joined by past and present Linen Stewards Karin Wijnen, Hans Hutting, Carolien Evers and Henrike Gootjes. They share their insights and experience as participants of The Linen Project and the Shared Stewardship initiative, as well as connections with their respective practices and lives, with a focus on the social, ecological and cultural ‘commoning’ approach.
Panel talk held in English and Dutch. This segment of the first Global Fashioning Assembly – which aims to decentralise knowledge creation and sharing regarding fashion – was hosted online with a live international audience on October 22 2022. View the featured video profiles for RCDF by Theodoor Adriaans in the flaxicon.
What can Global Cross Pollination mean? Participants in this panel conversation hosted by CreativeNL during Dutch Design Week 2022 discuss the importance of international long-term sustainable creative collaborations and where to start. What tools do we have, and what do we need going forward? How to facilitate and empower the Dutch creative industry and collaborators in global arenas?
Joan den Exter speaks on behalf of The Linen Project about learning by doing, reconnecting with nature and community, and how initiatives like Shared Stewardship and participating in the Global Fashioning Assembly can contribute to a deeper understanding and (re)activation of diverse local economies; working to empower each other. She joins Jimmy-Pierre de Graaf, interdisciplinary creative producer in the international performing arts sector, and Amanda Boomstra, studio director at human-centred, society-driven digital design agency Fabrique.
View the conversation from 30:50 minutes in the CreativeNL recording below. Talk in English. The live panel was originally held in Eindhoven on 27 October 2022.
Flaaksskoalle (Flax School), organised by Friesland-based project Circulair op de Miensker, brought together diverse initiatives to shed light on the value of flax from different perspectives; the contribution to biodiversity and CO2 storage, as a plant-based textile fibre, as an appealing design resource, the potential of (local) traditional processes, and its cultural-historical significance. Joan den Exter spoke on behalf of The Linen Project, joining designer Christien Meindertsma of Flax Project and Fertile Grounds, Susan Smelt and Ingeborg Meijssen of the Rijksmuseum, and Eileen Blackmore of Wad van Waarde.
Circulair op de Miensker is part of the Wad van Waarde programme, which aims to reduce the damaging effects of (micro)plastics on the Wadden sea by establishing a local circular economy focused on reusable and bio-based alternatives. The Flaaksskoalle event took place in conjunction to the Fertile Grounds exhibition at the Fries Museum on December 12 2022.
View a video recap by Cristiaan De Kok of Noordermedia. Presentations in Dutch.
On July 08 – 10, 2022, The Linen Project hosted an intimate exhibition in Arnhem coinciding with the concluding week of Fashion Design Festival Arnhem and State of Fashion 2022. The expo gave insight into the project’s various core activities and outcomes so far, and offered the opportunity to get acquainted with and place pre-orders for Linnen Kavels. Members of the core team were present, along with various Linen Stewards, to share their experience and knowledge gained learning by doing.
Visitors walked through a gallery of visual impressions from 2018 – 2022; cultivation activities at diverse locations, the various explorations of traditional flax and linen processing by machine and by hand, and the many bodies, beings, environments and energies involved. Flax sheaves and fibres in different stages and forms of processing were present for visitors to touch and test. Material outcomes included sample Linnen Kavels, garments from the prototype Make Your Own Denim workshop and Co-Design processes, a range of individual flax fibre and linen explorations and experiments courtesy of the Linen Stewards, linen paper produced by the Linen Stewards at de Middelste Molen, and a textile sample crafted at the Netherlands Open Air Museum weaving workshop.
Curators Sophie Krier and Erik Wong invited visitors to journey through ‘a place where multiple worlds coexist and thrive’ during the 2022 exhibition In Search of the Pluriverse at Nieuw Instituut, Rotterdam. Setting out with the question: How realistic is the idea of such a world, where people and other beings live together in harmony with each other and the environment? The exhibition offered a platform to contemporary makers, doers and thinkers around the globe involved in initiatives that support this pluralistic world view. The Linen Project Linen Stewards were included amongst the contributors, sharing outcomes and projects stemming from their collective flax harvests:
‘In the flax industry it is common practice to blend the fibre from various harvest seasons to achieve a consistent linen quality. In the material developed by (Linen Steward) Heleen Klopper, a handwoven textile by Eva Klee from linen fibre spun from The Linen Project’s sublime 2019 flax harvest forms a ‘safety net’ for the shorter, brittle fibres from the Shared Stewardship 2020 flax crop. The felting properties of wool are used to fuse these into one fabric. Working together with fellow linen stewards Sebastiaan Kramer and Sjaak Hullekes, the design of the bodywarmer emerged.’
‘The 2020 flax harvest produced a fibre that was less suitable for fine spun and woven linen that we are used to. A group of enthusiastic linen stewards bundled their skills and curiosity; by working together and exchanging ideas, over time creating a collective garment formed by the contribution of their individual talents.’ collective garment makers – Melanie Bomans, Catharina van Eetvelde, Joan den Exter, Pascale Gatzen, Henrike Gootjes, Maaike Gottschal, Hans Hutting, Marieke van Mieghem, Ellen Rooijakkers.
Read more about In Search of the Pluriverse. The exhibition and accompanying interactive public programme originally took place at Nieuw Instituut, Rotterdam, from April to August 2022.
The Linen Project was honoured to receive second-prize from the independent jury of the Dirk Zeldenrust Duurzaamheidsprijs 2022. The annual community award recognises people and organisations that – like its namesake – believe that a better world can’t wait, and aims to stimulate the efforts and actions of Arnhem-based initiatives and innovations in support of a more sustainable future. The Linen Project was excited to be nominated and to meet with other inspiring local activities during the prize-giving held at the Arnhem municipality council chambers on November 25 2022.
Where to start if we want an economy that serves us instead of shapes us? In collaboration with Research Group New Economy Avans University of Applied Sciences and Rabo Art Lab, Future of Work invited speakers to consider this question from their specific perspective during the Reverse Economy, part of the Kick-off festival public programme.
Pascale Gatzen spoke about The Linen Project and exploring a local ecosystemic value chain, Ruthendo Ngara shared her insight from a South African perspective as an Indigenous Knowledge Systems (ZAF) researcher and practitioner, and Yazan Khalili spoke about the potential of blockchain technology with regard to his experience as part of Palestinian collective The Question of Funding. They subsequently discussed the Reverse Economy with each other, artistic action researcher Klaas Burger and Godelieve Spaas of Avans Research Group New Economy.
Future of Work is a hybrid platform for artistic research and co-creation in support of a new collective economy. The proposition of Reverse Economy acknowledges that the economy has become increasingly central to our thinking and acting in recent decades. ‘As if the economy shapes us instead of the other way around; our values, desires, culture, ecology and politics shaping the economy. How can we reverse this?’
Read more about the Reverse Economy. Programme in English. The conversation recording is planned for release in the podcast series De Tussenruimte live, facilitated by Godelieve Spaas. The live event took place at the Willem Twee Art Space in Den Bosch on October 19 2022.
Pascale Gatzen speaks with with Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano about The Linen Project during this World Hope Forum webinar, an open online event coinciding with the launch of the educational programme led by the World Hope Forum initiators in partnership with Polimoda, Florence. As co-initiator of The Linen Project, Pascale shares insight into the initiative’s various activities, in particular; embracing traditional agricultural processes, working in community with nature, the possibilities of fibre outcomes and the diverse potential of a local linen value chain.
‘Arts and Crafts practitioners in the 19th century faced similar scepticism about their interest in the pre-industrial past, which contemporaries perceived as anti-modern or backward-looking. In the eyes of the Arts and Crafts reformers tradition was never seen as something conservative, but as a living, ever-evolving process that held vast scope for imagining a better future. The same goes for The Linen Project’s back to the roots-approach to flax and linen production.’
– World Hope Forum
Presentation held in English. This World Hope Forum edition, hosted in Florence with Polimoda Master in Textiles From Farm to Fabric to Fashion, took place online on February 5 2022.
The video cover image below shows weaving to form for a garment using linen fibres grown, harvested, hand-spun and natural-dyed by the collective makers, a group of Linen Stewards 2020. Photo courtesy of Pascale Gatzen.
During this public workshop facilitated by Carolien Evers and fellow Linen Stewards during the State of Fashion biennale 2022, members of the Shared Stewardship community shared their insights and experiences of growing and processing their own materials in collectivity, by hand, from seed to fibre to yarn. What does it mean to make your own textiles for everyday use by hand? Following a video presentation about the how and the what in terms of flax and linen, the workshop participants were invited to (learn to) spin wool with a spinning top, and or to weave a small fabric of their own on versions of a hand-held loom. The Linen Stewards supported them in learning how to make textiles from everyday natural materials while exchanging stories and sharing their own (collective) hand-made material outcomes.
The live workshop – part of the State of Fashion 2022 programme around the biennale’s central theme Ways of Caring – took place at Showroom Arnhem on June 23 2022.
Melanie Bomans, coordinator for The Linen Project in 2019-2022, joined Cassie Quinn of CQ studio and moderator Giulia Bellinetti of Future Materials Lab in conversation for Future Materials Encounter #5 at the Jan van Eyck Academie. Sharing perspectives from the Netherlands and from Ireland, they discussed some of the stories nested in flax fibres – stories of cultural heritage and labour, of bodies enmeshed in materials such as flax, of the resistance of nature to technology, and others – going on to open the dialogue to the attending audience.
The exchange involved insight into The Linen Project’s aims to reactivate the economic viability of small-scale local flax cultivation and linen production in the Netherlands, including activities promoting the inherent connections between (cultural) heritage, education, agriculture, design, crafts, and the economy, through a commoning approach.
Read more about this Future Materials Encounter. Programme in English. A recording of the Inflaxuation conversation is planned for release in an upcoming Future Materials Bank entry about The Linen Project. The live talk originally took place at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht during the Open Studios 2022 preview day on June 23 2022.
Joan den Exter speaks on behalf of The Linen Project during this online talk on linen hosted by Selvedge Magazine. The panel brings together linen producers, antique linen dealers, curators and linen experts; Joan joins John Ennis of Our Linen Stories Scotland, members of the UK-based initiative Flaxland, and Gill Gledhill of the European Confederation of Flax & Hemp. Together they tell the story of linen, sharing their respective knowledge and experience, and discuss the future of flax as an environmentally and sustainable fibre.
Pascale Gatzen speaks on behalf of The Linen Project during a panel discussion hosted by Ellen van den Adel as part of this Reflow event at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. The programme posed the question: “Are biobased materials such as hemp, flax fibre, locally produced linen and organic cotton a solution for the polluting practices of the textile industry? We used these materials in the past, but synthetic materials such as polyester and elastane have certainly gained the upper hand in fast fashion. Can we go back to high-quality, biobased clothing, which is also easy to recycle?”
Panel discussion held in Dutch. Video courtesy of Pakhuis de Zwijger. This event was originally livecast on November 11 2021.
Under the curation of Loes Schepens, Linen Steward 2020, gallery Paper Art & Design in the Hague opened its doors to the public exhibition Flax!/Vlas! from 16 October 2021 to 8 January 2022. A handful of makers translated their flax harvest and experiences as Linen Stewards of 2020 into handmade objects, including fibres spun into linen yarn, and paper made from the shorter fibres. The unique textiles, objects and artworks are created with great care for the material, originating from the conditions and inspiration that nature provided on the field.
Participating Linen Stewards of 2020 included Henrike Gootjes, Maaike Gottschal, Hans Hutting, Heleen Klopper, Kelly Konings, Marieke van Mieghem, Loes Schepens, and the Collective Garment makers. A short documentary on traditional flax processing commissioned by Crafts Council Nederland and filmed by Theodorus Johannus was also on view during the exhibition.
Members of the public had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Linen Stewards and their flax journey during Dutch Design Week 2021 – participating Linen Stewards were on-site at Atelier NL to share their experiences alongside various material outcomes of the Shared Stewardship initiative during the exhibition The Linen Project / The Linen Stewards presented by Crafts Council Nederland.
Featuring work by Henrike Gootjes, Maaike Gottschal, Hans Hutting, Heleen Klopper in collaboration with Sjaak Hullekes and Sebastiaan Kramer, Kelly Konings, Marieke van Mieghem, and Loes Schepens. The exhibition also gave brief insight into the tradition of flax and linen in the Netherlands and the further activities of the Linen Project.
Exhibition design by Studio Jeroen van Veluw. Photograph by Eduard van Wijk for Crafts Council Nederland and The Linen Project.
In the online talk Ancient and Modern & Farm to Fabric, hosted by Polly Leonard of Selvedge Magazine, UK, Pascale Gatzen speaks on behalf of the Linen Project about the Shared Stewardship initiative and growing and producing local linen in the Netherlands, considering the inherent connections between community, fibre and agriculture.
Talk held in English. This segment of the annual Selvedge World Fair was hosted online on September 4 2021. Recordings will be made available to view shortly.
During the 8th International Degrowth Conference in The Hague, Linen Stewards Pascale Gatzen, Marieke van Mieghem, Ellen Rooijakkers, Carolien Evers and Henrike Gootjes facilitated two 3-hour weaving-based workshops held on location at artist-run project space Quartair.
In addition to sharing their weaving knowledge with participants during the workshops, the Linen Stewards gave insight into their experiences of the Shared Stewardship community initiative, while working on their collective garment made from the flax cultivated and harvested by the stewardship in 2020. Participants were invited to work on a small weaving of his/her/their own, with the Linen Stewards supporting them in learning how to make textiles from everyday materials.
This edition of the four-day conference – exploring a variety of approaches to degrowth, with the central theme of Caring Communities for Radical Change – took place in August 2021.
Linen Steward Marieke van Mieghem spoke to Fashion Design Festival Arnhem about her relationship with natural raw materials and how they inform her textile work. In this short video, drawing on the central theme of ‘purpose’, Marieke shares her insights into the greater potential of local linen and the importance of connection, exchange and experiment in a design process, and how this is activated within the Linen Project and the Shared Stewardship initiative.
Interview held in Dutch. Video for FDFA’21: Purpose by Perplex Motion. The 2021 festival programme of online and offline events explored meaning and fashion based on ten dimensions, including material resources.
Makers in Beeld: Het ambacht van nu (Makers in View: The craft of now) at the Netherlands Open Air Museum, Arnhem, explores the proposition that “craftspeople, also called Makers, are masters of problem-solving and can contribute valuable perspectives on contemporary challenges, such as sustainability.” Kelly Konings, Linen Steward of 2020, contributed textile work resulting from her stewardship experience to the exhibition; with a background in fashion, she places a specific focus on acknowledging the human hands involved in textile production. The exhibition is currently on view on-site in the Wagenhal.
How can flax be a resource in a biocircular economy? How does the local production of a textile fibre for a local market work in the Netherlands? During this BlueCity Lab Fibre Club meet-up, Pascale Gatzen spoke with hosts Nienke Binnendijk and Arie Hooimeijer about how the Linen Project investigates and works towards reactivating a strong economic and ecological basis for small-scale local flax cultivation and linen production. They were joined by David Kasse of Vlas & Hennep.NL, who shared insight into the current flax production chain from his broad knowledge of this sector.
View the recap of Fibre Club: Flax, from ground to grave by BlueCity Lab. Text in English. This event was broadcast live online from BlueCity Lab, Rotterdam, on April 29 2021.
This webinar hosted by Northern California Fibreshed member Chico Flax features a panel of experts from the United States, Canada, and Europe who are working to build viable regional flax-to-linen industries. Speakers include small farmers undertaking flax production in collaboration with local universities, yarn manufacturers, and designers; amongst them are Pascale Gatzen, on behalf of The Linen Project, and Patricia Bishop, of TapRoot Fibre in Nova Scotia and a member of our wider research community.
The following topics are addressed: overcoming growing and production challenges, changing from hand processing to mechanical small-scale mini-mills to provide locally sourced fibres, seed production to meet the demands of a growing small-scale flax industry, and innovative partnerships working toward reestablishing a regionally based linen industry.
View the full programme of speakers hosted by Chico Flax. Conversations are held in English. The webinar was originally held on January 28 2021.
Pascale Gatzen joins local designer and Linen Steward 2020 Sjaak Hullekes in conversation for Renew the System – local values and history. In this segment, Sjaak visits various organisations that aim to change the fashion system and society, starting with local resources.
During their meeting at the Linen Stewards’ flaxshed, Pascale shares insight into how the activities of The Linen Project contribute to retaining the liveliness of haptic knowledge and reinstating a local textile industry; the role of agriculture, embodied awareness through learning by doing, community, and connection. Participating in the subsequent livestream panel conversation are Annemieke Koster of Enschede Textielstad and Jolanda Buts of Studio Ryn.
Conversations are held in Dutch. The Renew the System series is a collaboration by Culture.Fashion and Arnhem-based brand Hul le Kes. This live-streamed event was held on January 15 2021 and remains available to view online.
In this webinar for the inaugural World Hope Forum, Pascale Gatzen speaks about working in collectivity, agency, and taking back the economy. Relating her experiences in fashion design and education, engaging craft, farm to fibre and worker cooperatives with Friends of Light, extending to The Linen Project and the Shared Stewardship initiative, addressing the development of small-scale processing facilities and the empowering potential of co-design processes. Presentation held in English.
The World Hope Forum is an initiative founded by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano, as a holistic global platform for the exchange and expansion of knowledge. This first edition, hosted in the Netherlands by Petra Janssen, took place online during Dutch Design Week 2020.
The Linen Project and the Linen Stewards are excited to be included in the online group exhibition HOW&WOW Linen, presented by Crafts Council Nederland during Dutch Design Week 2020.
HOW&WOW Linen follows the process from flaxseed to linen thread and showcases contemporary approaches to linen and flax fibre applications and traditions, as explored by a diverse group of makers and do-ers. Accompanying video presentations feature inspiring insights from the linen stewards as well as our cultivation supervisor Karlijn Bokhorst and further members of the Linen Project community.
Exhibition content in English and in Dutch. The online exhibition remains available to view via Crafts Council Nederland
During this first online Linen Meet-Up in 2020, Anna Wetzel, an affiliated researcher for The Linen Project, shared the experience of her two-week stay at TapRoot Farms in Nova Scotia, owned and run by Patricia Bishop and Josh Oulten. Anna’s visit focused on the local production and processing of flax, as TapRoot Fibre Lab (a subsidiary of TapRoot Farms) has made significant steps towards this goal.
Anna addressed the craft of spinning short line flax at TapRoot Fibre Lab, the difficulties and challenges of a full (independent) production cycle and the local and international connections – including weavers, engineers and researchers – that TapRoot brings together.
Read about Anna’s visit to TapRoot Farms. The live online presentation and question and answer session took place on April 23 2020.
An insight into the activities of The Linen Project, in conversation with The Linen Project co-initiator Pascale Gatzen and biodynamic farmer André Jurrius of Ekoboerderij De Lingehof. Together, they reflected on the experience and potential of growing small-scale local flax in Gelderland, and what it means to work in community with nature and with each other.
This live online meet-up took place on October 21 2020 as part of the HOW&WOW Linen talks, coinciding with the launch of the online group exhibition HOW&WOW Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland during Dutch Design Week 2020.