Friday, November 30, 2012

Exciting news for the Vancouver Flax growing project

Much to my surprise I have been awarded a grant for my Vancouver flax growing project. I've never applied for a grant before and didn't expect to be successful.

I'm going to be growing flax next year at the Means of Production garden and also in what I call my Other Garden (a back yard of a nearby rental property). I now have the money to buy/build the flax processing equipment neccessary to turn flax into linen fibre and  enough left to hire a Modo truck to bring in some compost and manure.

Flax was grown all over BC, as far north as Bella Coola - we have the ideal climate. Families planted a small plot of it every few years to provide the material to make garments, bed sheets etc. As it's such a hard wearing fibre, it wasn't neccessary to plant every year. Being able to process, spin and weave your own linens wasn't an art, it was just what you had to do if you wanted something other than woollen underwear (scratchy!) and blankets.

I'll be posting about the project on this website and also MOP, and have already begun the process of getting the land ready at the Other Garden. Caitlin ffrench (knitter, weaver, spinner, dyer and much more) will be partnering with me to grow at MOP, and she'll take the project forward in 2014 to grow more flax at Trillium Park and various other City pieces of land.

The flax processing equipment will be stored at the field house until Trillium Park's artist space is ready and will be available for anyone to use. If you want to grow some flax in your garden (it has such pretty flowers!) let me know. Flax seed from the store won't work, it needs to be a specific fibre producing type ('Marilyn', available here You could grow some at home and use the processing equipment to make your own linen.

So check out this blog for updates on the flax growing process and also the retting, braking, scutching, hackling, strick making, spinning and weaving of flax in Vancouver.



  1. Congratulations Joy on receiving the grant!!! I am so proud of you and you are really doing something you enjoy too!

    Best of luck for The Flax Project!

    Toni Stewart

  2. This is quite exciting! I'm thinjking that Julia Ostertag and others might want to get involved... Congratulations on the successful grant!

  3. Hi Everyone!
    Penny is the recipient of this grant! Congratulations Penny! I look forward to hearing more about the project as it evolves and (dare I say) grows!