The Flax = Food + Fibre Project continued for its second and final year at West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver, lead this time by artists Rebecca Graham and Brian Jones. With many participating community members, they further explored the potential of growing flax as a fibre crop in an urban setting. Several grain varieties (oats, wheat and rye) were also grown for Brian to demonstrate Welsh wheat-weaving, an art-form practiced in agricultural communities for centuries. An added benefit was allowing participants to see the actual growing and harvesting of the plants that make up a large part of our western diet.
Rebecca did much to refine the accumulated knowledge for growing and processing flax locally, changing to a different variety (Marilyn) which is much better suited to hand spinning. She also worked to improve the method of retting the harvested plants, in the end producing very fine and beautiful line flax which is now being spun into thread by various members of the local fibre community.
As in the previous year, the project provided many opportunities for celebration and enjoyment throughout the agricultural cycle, from garden work parties, to the harvest festival complete with Morris dancers, to the final “Sit and Spin Social” where the processed flax was spun into thread. See my short documentary of the project here: