The production and use of flax and linen span branches of knowledge and practice, with local and international resonance. The flaxicon – an archive of (textual) resources generated by The Linen Project’s activities so far – gives insight into related processes and perspectives, their application, and significance.

Videos

The Linen Project x HOW&WOW Linen

presented by Crafts Council Nederland

An introduction to The Linen Project and its activities, including the steps traditionally involved from flax seed to linen thread, part of the video series HOW for the online exhibition HOW&WOW Linen. The full series is now available to view in the flaxicon. Starting with the seed that eventually transforms into the striking blue flax bloom and following the process in which terms such as rippling, dew retting, scutching and hackling tow at once take on meaning.

This video series was made in collaboration with Karlijn Bokhorst and Heleen Lorijn, in conversation with Theodoor Adriaans.

Seed and Sowing

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

In conversation with Karlijn Bokhorst, flax cultivation supervisor for The Linen Project in 2019 and 2020, on location at the Linen Stewards flax field at Ekoboerderij de Lingehof.

Weeding

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

Karlijn Bokhorst, flax cultivation supervisor for The Linen Project in 2019 and 2020, talks about the importance of weed removal and exploring organic farming methods. The Linen Stewards weed by hand – bringing a connection with the soil, the flax and each other – on location at their flax field at Ekoboerderij de Lingehof.

Pulling the Flax

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

Karlijn Bokhorst, flax cultivation supervisor for The Linen Project in 2019 and 2020, introduces the three stages of the flax harvest process while the Linen Stewards demonstrate what it means to harvest flax by hand on location at their field at Ekoboerderij de Lingehof in 2020.

Retting and Turning

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

Karlijn Bokhorst, flax cultivation supervisor for The Linen Project in 2019 and 2020, explains the (dew) retting process and the simple necessity of turning the flax, as demonstrated on location with the Linen Stewards at Ekoboerderij de Lingehof during their 2020 flax harvest.

Bringing in the Harvest

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

On location with the Linen Stewards 2020 at their flax field at Ekoboerderij de Lingehof, Karlijn Bokhorst, flax cultivation supervisor for The Linen Project in 2019 and 2020, describes the precarious moment of bringing in the harvest and demonstrates how to roll a flax sheave.

Rippling, Breaking, Scutching, Hackling

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

Heleen Lorijn is experienced in historical flax and linen practices and grows her own flax to research and conserve the haptic knowledge involved. Here she explains and demonstrates how fine flax fibres and other materials are extracted from the harvested flax stalks through various manual techniques.

Preparing the Distaff and Hand Spinning

Part of the video series for How&Wow Linen presented by Crafts Council Nederland

Once the flax fibres have been obtained, they are prepared for spinning. Flax expert Heleen Lorijn gives a workshop in ‘dressing the distaff’ to the Linen Stewards and demonstrates her preferred hand spinning and finishing techniques. The difference between the flax fibre qualities and their customary use is also explained.

Research reports commissioned by The Linen Project

Making a Transition Towards Local Linen

WUR ACT team ReFlax: Robin Aanstoot, Talis Bosma, Dafni Kontarini, Lu Li, Ke Luan, Froukje Zuidema

In preparation for the 2019 flax cultivation season and with a view to future activities, The Linen Project commissioned an advisory report via the Wageningen University & Research Academic Consultancy Training programme, exploring the possibility and the viability of local (biodynamic) flax production in the province of Gelderland. Team ReFlax delivered a concise orientation on the potential challenges and opportunities involved, including advice on best practices for flax cultivation specific to the region and the selection of seed varieties that season.

The Effect of Soil Type and Its Water-Retaining Properties on the Development of Fibre Flax

BSc Thesis Eveline Nales, WUR International Land and Water Management

The Linen Project commissioned intern Eveline Nales to investigate the relationship between flax development, the availability of water in the soil, and the organic matter content at our flax cultivation locations in Arnhem and Hemmen in 2021. An exceptionally wet growing season resulted in the plants on both plots experiencing little water stress. Through regular field visits, other notable variables and their possible impacts were observed. Eveline’s research findings are summarised in this Bachelor Thesis report.

Articles

Following nature’s rhythm: a season on the field as a Linen Steward

Melanie Bomans for Garland Magazine, 2021

Day by day encounters in collectively caring for the plants that will clothe us. Melanie Bomans reflects on her experience as a Linen Steward in the March 2021 edition of Australian-based Garland Magazine, Stewardship: The relationship between humans and nature. Read the full article alongside other inspiring contributions and insights on custodianship and craft.

The Linen Project is

Farm to textile

Fibre farming

Bast fibres

Agriculture

Biodiversity

Soil health

Permaculture

Nature inclusive

Circular

Local production

Community development

Co-creation

Participatory design processes

The Linen Stewards

Peer governance

Community economies

Commoning

Interdependence

Degrowth

Fibre sovereignty

Self-sufficiency

Narrative

Inspiration

Craft

Textiles

Together

Access

Care

Mutuality

Exchange

Joy