There’s been a gradual swelling of interest in the Flax Project (I’ve just worked out hash tags so you can go to @growagarment on Twitter and search for #seedtoseam) thanks partly to Twitter but also to some enthusiastic gardeners. One in particular, Cassie Liversidge, is a school gardener at a number of Tower Hamlets and Hackney primary schools.  They’ve grown some flax and Cassie invited me and Nat from the garden to help them ripple and ret.  Four classes.  It sounds simple and calm, easy to say, but we worked out we rippled and retted with 90 children in a morning.  They ranged from the very excited to the quite cool and serious, most of the boys very eager to get to the bashing bit (the breaking that we’ll be doing on our next visit).  It was as much a learning process for us (working out how to organise groups of 24 and one medium-sized bunch of flax).  I took along some linen that my granny was given for her wedding in 1916 and we compared that with the cotton that most of the children were wearing and wondered whether our garment would last 100 years.  Let’s hope.  After sorting, rippling and retting with 90 kids, Nat and I needed a bit of a lie down. How do teachers do it?

We’re gearing up for our big community workshops, too.  The first one in two weeks in Brockwell Park and then on 11th October in Hackney.  I think it might just work (fingers crossed).

Cassie, the gardener at Chisenhale School instructing the class on the flax process.
Cassie, the gardener at Chisenhale School instructing the class on the flax process.
Sorting the seeds after rippling.
Sorting the seeds after rippling.
Retting the flax at Chisenhale School
Retting the flax at Chisenhale School
Retting at Chisenhale
Retting at Chisenhale
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