The Dutch Crafts Council, together with ArtEZ Master Fashion Design is exploring the possibility of reviving local flax and linen production. Flax is a crop which is traditionally grown in the Netherlands. Historically, the linen of the Lowlands was highly desirable, because it was considered of the best quality in the world. It is a so-called alternating crop: it can be grown once every seven years on the same piece of land, promoting biodiversity and soil regeneration. The Linen Project aims to develop new economic, social and cultural ecosystems to demonstrate the vital importance of biodiversity, the revival of skills and our connection with the processes of production.
Discussing the project, the Crafts Council says: “We’re changing the dialogue when it comes to agriculture, history, heritage, (landscape) architecture, fashion, food, craft, design, contemporary art, economics and innovative business operations. Because the world is changing. And we are digitally connected more than ever. But how and where are our roots? How can we reconnect with deep human values and age-old knowledge and skills?”
“A very urgent challenge is upon us: the people within the Netherlands who are able to transfer their knowledge and skills when it comes to growing and processing flax are dying out. We see the importance of involving young people, not just designers, but also young people who choose farming or a life as a craftsperson. The Linen Project activates “old” knowledge, skills and the different meanings associated with flax and linen production. New technologies, new connections and possibilities are applied to this, so that future production is based and builds on a restored connection with people and nature. With this project people with a diversity of backgrounds are collaborating. We no longer define design as just a product, but as one of the processes in a larger set of complementary and reinforcing activities.”
Extracted article republished with permission from Crafts Council Netherlands.