#flaxscotland: joining a community of growers

  • Are you growing flax this year?
  • Can you share your story and pics on social media?
  • Please tag your posts with #flaxScotland

#flaxScotland helps celebrate the many stories behind your patches of flax. On Wednesdays through the growing season we’ll offer feature #flaxScotland stories and on Fridays, a round up of your #flaxScotland locations, on our social media channels @journeysindesign. In September, we’ll co-create a Harvest Exhibition with you in Edinburgh. Don’t forget to hashtag your posts with #flaxScotland!

  • feature flax stories every Wednesday 
  • a round up of #flaxScotland locations every Friday
  • a special harvest exhibition in Edinburgh in September

With your support at home, #flaxScotland links with partner initiatives internationally – in the Nordic countries with 1kvmLIN Sweden and in the USA with 1sqYard Pennsylvania. We’re also working with partners to offer to gather and process your flax into fibre: more news as this effort unfolds. Meantime, we have some long fibre flax seeds to spare  – email us while stocks last!

  • Would you like to grow a patch of flax in your community garden?
  • We have long fibre flax seed to offer community gardens across Scotland.
  • Please contact us at info@journeysindesign.com

Growing Flax this year with #flaxScotland

  • In Scotland we can avoid late frosts and favour a successful harvest by sowing in late May, early June.
  • Flax grows well in most soils: till the earth to offer a firm, fine seedbed but avoid over-fertilized soil or the plant grows too rangy.
  • Over the next 100 days, the flax plant grows around 100cm tall, each plant supporting its neighbour for tall, sturdy growth
  • Guarding against weeds in the first 4 weeks allows establishment of a hardy crop
  • The emblematic blue flower appears around day 60, unfolding each morning and dropping by dusk, for just 5-10 days
  • A shiny green seed head forms and gradually turns brown to signal the maturing plant.
  • Harvest in the autumn by pulling up the plant, root and all
  • Ponder how folk may have processed, spun and woven in former times

Back in 2021, Sowing and Celebrating Scotland’s first Flax & Linen Festival 

Following the restrictions of Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, we were thrilled with the response to our plans engaging the people of Fife in Scotland’s first Flax and Linen Festival. We called on Flax Field partners throughout Fife to grow some flax through the summer of 2021 in time for to display and harvest at Festival venues and events in September.

During our Festival we hosted an international roundtable event called Think Global Grow Local, linking to partner initiatives throughout the world. The first session of this Roundtable explored growing flax now and has led to collaboration, with the aim of establishing a regenerative fibre network in Scotland.

Back in 2019, Flax Fields of Fife, a Contemporary Design Mapping Project

Using old charts, maps and records, we plotted Linen Journeys in Design through Fife, drawing on rich agricultural and industrial heritage and highlighting current design initiatives. The Kingdom of Fife offers Linen Stories unlike any other county in Scotland and we called for the help of locals to map these, old and new. Some were growing flax, experimenting with plant fibre, spinning yarn or weaving textiles, others had stories from working lives: more than 40 linen related factories were in operation just 2 generations ago.

We developed a simple route showing contemporary design initiatives in localities where there was evidence of  linen-related activity, offering opportunities to visit makers and heritage sites and to purchase design items from studios and shops. We aim to continue developing a self-guided tour, seeking to support a thriving craft, maker and design sector in Fife.

Starting out in 2018, Y/Our Linen Stories for a packet of seeds

Eighty five per cent of the world’s long fibre flax for linen is grown in a broad band across Northern Europe, from France through Belgium into Holland. Our own Linen Journeys in Design included research trips to these regions in 2017. Our Linen Stories tour of Scotland began in 2018, an important year for Linen in Europe thanks to CELC, the central agency for flax growers. With support from CELC UK, we supplied packets of Flax Seeds to attendees as we travelled Lothians, Borders, Fife and the Highlands. In exchange for linen stories, we offered packets of seeds, so starting some growers on their first flax adventures, whether in garden pots or backyard plots.