Flax to Linen Workshop

| 7/12/2017 9:34:00 AM

group listening to Cassie in the morning - BLOG

My husband and I hosted a Flax to Linen workshop at our home in June. It involved having a dozen participants here on an evening and all the next day and having the instructor and her husband as overnight guests. The purpose of the workshop was to instruct and lead the participants through the process of turning retted flax into linen thread, as well as educate them about the history of linen and introduce them to linen textiles. The workshop was sponsored by the handspinning group I am a member of.

Learning a new skill alone can be daunting. Attending a workshop with others exposes you to more information in a shorter time, allows you to learn from an expert in the field, and gives you the companionship of others involved in the same interest you are. I was excited about this event so that more of my friends could have hands-on experience with flax and learn more of what I have been working on the past two years. To make it happen, however, took some planning.

Cassie with retted flax3 - BLOG

A suggestion was presented at one of our meetings last winter that we have Cassie Dickson (shown in the photo) come to do a workshop on Flax to Linen. It had been a long time since the guild had done something like this. Cassie teaches the Flax to Linen class at the John C. Campbell Folk School each year and three of us had taken her class there over the years. I thought it was a wonderful idea and, since I knew her from the Folk School, offered to plan it. Someone can do something well and be considered an expert, however they may not have the ability to teach it to others. I have attended some conference presentations where the speaker’s ability to relate what they knew to the audience did not measure up to their expertise in their field. It was because several of us had had such a good experience with Cassie as a teacher that the group voted to have the workshop.

Planning involved contacting Cassie in January to see if she was interested in coming and to find out what it would take to get her here. I offered to have it at my place to save money from renting a facility and because my place was the most appropriate venue. We needed an indoor space for the two hour Friday evening presentation, and an outdoor space for working with the flax all day on Saturday. A bonus to having it here was that I had flax growing in my garden. Money was a consideration, of course. The guild did not have the funds to cover any unmet expenses, so I would need to make sure they were covered by what we charged the participants. We would need twelve people to sign up. We could have had less, but then we would have needed to charge more. You will find details of the workshop, including photos, at Homeplace Earth.

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