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.
Hans Hutting, independent fashion designer and Linen Steward, talks about how participating in the Shared Stewardship and working with flax and linen intertwine with his creative practice. Video profile by Theodoor Adriaans for The Linen Project in collaboration with the Research Collective for Decoloniality and Fashion. Spoken in Dutch with English subtitles.
Karin Wijnen, independent researcher and Linen Steward, shares her embodied exploration and appreciation of the processes involved with growing and preparing natural dyes and fibres. Video profile by Theodoor Adriaans for The Linen Project in collaboration with the Research Collective for Decoloniality and Fashion. Spoken in Dutch with English subtitles.
A group of the Linen Stewards visit flax specialist Van de Bilt Zaden en Vlas bv in Sluiskil, to explore the process of having flax produced by their collective harvests in 2020 and 2021 industrially scutched and heckled. Lenno Vermaas and Bart Depourcq share insight into the company’s operations and the flax-growing regions of the Netherlands. Spoken in Dutch with English subtitles.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
In the summer of 2022, Pascale Gatzen joined Emy Demkes, Consumption correspondent for Dutch online journalistic platform De Correspondent, at the Linen Stewards’ flax field at De Horsterhof for a conversation about alternative economic models that prioritise the wellbeing of people and the earth. Emy’s reflections on their conversation, including The Linen Project’s activities and their wider relevance, are published in this article. Photographer Heidi de Gier also visited the flax field and got acquainted with the then present Linen Stewards; her accompanying images document various outcomes of the processes and harvests so far.
Read Op deze Gelderse akker groeit een alternatief voor de voortrazende mode-industrie, article text in Dutch.
Emy Demkes, Consumption correspondent for online journalistic platform De Correspondent, met with The Linen Project core team during the Linnen Kavel introduction days in spring 2022. In this newsletter, a prequel to her article on The Linen Project, Emy shares her initial impressions of the potential of a local linen economy, with a view to current social, economic and environmental developments and the recurring call for systemic change.
Read Wat een veld vol vlas ons kan leren over een eerlijker economisch systeem, newsletter text in Dutch.
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 this contribution to Australian-based Garland Magazine, March 2021 edition, Stewardship: The relationship between humans and nature. Read the full article alongside other inspiring perspectives 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