When we think of flax on the Canadian prairies, what comes to mind are fields of waxy, waving, periwinkle flowers, expanding to the horizon. Linen yarn itself is made from the long, fibres found just behind the bark in the multi-layer stem of the flax plant, Linun usitatissimum.
The product of linen as a textile is given form and reality when delicate, natural plant fibres are woven into a durable yet breathing and dynamic material that only improves with time. And, because the fabric was always quite difficult to dye, it was customarily left as its natural oatmeal tone or alternatively, bleached white. Such paleness reinforced its association with purity and religion throughout the ancient world.
As flax is grown almost everywhere in the world – from North America to Europe, to Africa – it is not easy to discuss linen without acknowledging its unique place within the specific societies and regions that produce it.
For the moment, we carry linen products from:
1. TEXTILE No. – A textile studio, based in Denmark where artist, designer and curator, Karin Carlander creates hand-woven pieces from 100% linen thread with careful attention to the artistic process. Her work incorporates traditional Japanese weaving techniques inspired by traditional Nordic crafts, where she will often use two contrasting colours of linen thread to create a subtle and intricate texture. The size of the textiles relates to a number; for example No. 6 measures 150 x 100 cm, No. 9 50 x 25 cm. The collection does not include a No. 1, as no number has more value in the collection than any other. Each No. comes in a variety of designs.
2. Fog Linen – A brand created by Rumiko Sekine, rooted in Tokyo. The linen used in her designs is sourced from Lithuania, where the tradition of flax cultivation (the fibers of which are then spun into cloth) is embedded in their history and culture. Rumiko’s straightforward designs make for objects for the home that are both beautiful and practical.
3. Linen Tales – A family-run, Lithuanian textile brand focusing on high quality textiles. Lithuania is well-known for their linen traditions, as well as for the flax cultivation and processing that can be traced back several thousands of years. The inherent beauty of Lithuanian linen comes from its inclusion in myths, games, fairy tales and songs – which often described the cycles of flax cultivation and processing.