|Linen fibre skeins: 6 hours of work, 124 grams of unspun linen|
The steps of the process are:
1. Breaking (crushing bundles of flax plants to remove the straw "boon")
2. Scrutching (scraping boon off of the fibres with a wooden knife)
3. Hackling (combing the fibres through a series of three increasingly fine, very spiky metal combs to increase the smoothness of the fibre and remove the short fibres, called tow)
4. Tying into a skein (twisting long fibres into a bundle, like of lock of baby hair)
|Wooden break, srcutching knife, and flax becoming linen|
So many new/old words! In the end, I returned on the ferry with one of the large bags untouched. I decided that the flax needs more retting to make it easier to work with, so back to the field with it. Now that the weather is colder (snow arrived on the mountains over the weekend), this retting process will take longer and it will be harder to dry the flax afterwards. Nothing is ever straightforward with this work! Perhaps a bit like teaching?
In a few weeks, the outdoor installation will be re-installed indoors in the teacher education building's basement student lounge. The contrasts between a garden and a window-less room room could not be more dramatic, and this very juxtaposition creates an interesting dynamic for the work. Throughout the three weeks of the indoor installation (tent. Nov 12-Nov 30), I will invite anyone interested to join me in creating linen thread, talking about the project, and imagining the spring "giving" installation that will return the flax/linen to the garden. Your presence and thoughts are always welcome.