"Beautiful location. Excellent instructors" - Alan (Burford, Oxfordshire)


Flax Making Workshop

8th November 2014 | Northleach, Gloucestershire
| £59
Course Provider: Cotswolds Conservation Board
A chance to learn the art of processing flax for spinning and weaving

Course Description: This unique day course offers participants the opportunity to discover the fascinating process of growing and harvesting flax. A versatile and sustainable product, flax has been used for centuries to make a vast range of goods from sails for boats; caulking for hulls; linseed oil for treating and varnishing wood; and of course linen for clothing.

All linen (true linen) comes from the flax plant and the UK has a long history both in the growing and weaving of flax. Flax is known to have been grown within the Cotswolds in places such as Mickleton, Moreton in Marsh, Quinton, Weston Sand and Willersey. Just six miles from Northleach a flax mill for making linen was built and ran during the 1800’s. Whilst there is no discernable flax industry left in either the Cotswolds or the rest of the England, many flax products and fibre are still bought and sold throughout the country.

Hosted at the site of the Old Prison, Northleach, this course is great for those who are keen on hands-on activity and want to learn more about the history and benefits of growing flax. During the morning session, participants will learn the art of Rippling. Retting, Breaking, Scutching, and Hackling the flax plant in preparation for handling. Students will then have the opportunity to produce twine from their processed material and also to practice the skill of spinning and weaving the flax fibres by making and dressing a traditional distaff (a tool designed in spinning to hold unspun fibres). By the end of the course, participants will have gained a thorough insight into the art of growing and processing flax fibres. Having learnt how to work through all the stages to process and produce flax, students will be able to take home some flax fibre in addition to their own self-made twine and distaff.


What do you need to know: No prior knowledge is needed – just enthusiasm!

Instructor: The instructor for this course is Ann Cooper who, along with her husband Simon, own and manage Flaxland – one of the last growers & processors of flax in the UK. Ann and Simon’s main passion besides growing and processing the flax is education - both in the historic value of flax but also the innovative, exciting products which are now coming to market. Ann brings with her a wealth of knowledge regarding the flax industry and can tailor her instruction to those wishing to learn more about a specific element or skill in the art of flax growing and processing.To find out more about Flaxland and flax processing click on the video below.

What to bring on the day: Appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear, and a packed lunch are recommended. All additional materials and equipment will be provided by the course instructor.