JULY 06, 2023
HARWICH FLAX EXCHANGE PROJECT: SHANE WALTENER
W004, W001 & W002
I was delighted to be invited by Shane to have a few pieces of my work in his FLAX EXCHANGE project exhibition at Harwich Arts & Heritage Centre for the Harwich Festival of the Arts 2023.
Shane and I initially met in person at @thenose towards the end of last year. I went to see his performance with @merlinnova as part of the first showing of the FLAX EXCHANGE project. The Nose, the exhibition and performance were all a treat to find!
Shane and I exchanged materials – he gave me some flax yarn, grown and processed by himself, and I gave him some of my own carded alpaca fleece. This inspired me to make a couple of small pieces of work that incorporated both materials into the same piece. I loved the tone, textures and colour of the two natural materials together.
The next time I met Shane, he generously handed me a further handful of hand spun yarn, but this time it was made from a mixture of our two materials spun together. So interesting – a fairly rough texture mixed with the softest of alpaca – but it was fabulous. I made a further piece of work using this, flax yarn and alpaca yarn hand dyed by myself with coreopsis flowers. I loved the subtle tones, textures and colour of the different yarns. (W004 on my website and top left in this blog)
A large part of this beautifully curated exhibition shows the tools and equipment used by Shane to process his home-grown flax alongside his relief installations; however, there are also Jo Marshall’s findings and works using natural dyeing processes; Emma Eagle’s research diaries and examples of her work from her own land, also with natural dyes, and my three wall-based pieces of tapestry weaving.
We all work closely with and from the land, plants, and in my case animals, from where we each live. I think we all share the same approach to life and work as mentioned in my previous Blog.
Exhibition runs from Saturday 24th June – end of July.
Harwich Arts & Heritage Centre, Main Road, Harwich, CO12 4AJ
The Harwich Flax Exchange project, showing until the end of July 2023
The Harwich Flax Exchange
Using flax, grown and harvested in Walton-on-the Naze, this exhibition displays the processes of the crop from plant to linen and introduced the idea of soli-to-soil clothing made from fabric which is entirely compostable.
The project hopes to generate an interest in the production of local fabric and create a local ‘fibershed’, a term coined by Rebecca Burgess in 2010, describing a network connecting growers, makers and consumers.
The Flax Exchange was first conceived for The Nose end of 2022, a bookshop and project space in Walton-on-the-Naze. There, flax sculptures and objects were interwoven with public activities and performances, inviting other practitioners and members of the public to skill exchange and share knowledge on the subject.
Since then, a book on the project – Walton Flax Exchange – has been published by The Nose and PrintRoom Rotterdam (available for sale at the HAHC office and through The Nose bookshop) and the project has expanded to the Isle of Dogs in London, based at Craft Central.
For further information please visit: