//Focus on a Favorite Fiber – Linen

Focus on a Favorite Fiber – Linen

2016-04-05T13:29:04+00:00 April 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|

By Robbie LaFleur


Detail of a Swedish linen napkin at the American Swedish Institute

Have you heard the rumblings? Perhaps 2017 might be a great time for a Weavers Guild focus on linen programs, classes, and activities.  It started with the Scandinavian Weavers’ current focus on Swedish weaving.  We thought of asking Joanne Hall to teach about linen and Swedish Art weaves.  At a brainstorming meeting, we thought that other focus groups might be interested in linen projects, too.  Oh, and there could be flax spinning! And field trips to see linen growing. And exhibits. And. And…  When I mentioned the idea before last month’s member meeting, there was a murmur of interest.  Someone said to me, “If you start now, you could grow your own linen.”  Ummm, I don’t think so, for me personally.

Do you have ideas?  Please join us at a brainstorming meeting at 5:30 pm before the next member program, on April 14.  The purpose of the meeting will be to generate ideas and spread the word more widely among members and interest groups.  The modest goals of the meeting are to generate a spreadsheet that documents the brainstorming, identify members to follow up and investigate various ideas, and decide on the next steps. Ultimately, the ideas that we can follow-through on largely depend on resources required and the level of interest.

Some of the ideas that have been suggested so far:


The Education Committee and Education Coordinator Jennifer Nicklay would like to leverage the talents and knowledge of our teaching artists for linen/flax classes.

Jennifer is also working with the Education Committee’s Workshop Task Group to bring Joanne Hall to teach a Swedish linen workshop sometime in 2017. More information about the workshop and registration details may be available late this year.

Member Programs  (Note: Some programs could be monthly member meetings; others could be separately scheduled.

Lecture on linen characteristics, including a display of linen that can be purchased from various companies.  Perhaps cards with the various choices could be made up, so that people would have samples and ordering information.

Lecture on the care of old linens.  Washing, pressing, mangling.  Have before and after linens on display.  How do you best get out stains?  Charge money for this lecture!  People could also sell old linens at this lecture.  Maybe some local antique dealers would like to participate?

Display/lecture and possible exhibit of traditional linens at the American Swedish Institute.

Presentation by a local linen weaver  http://www.vavaveve.com/.


Weavers Guild gallery exhibit.

Patty Johnson knows of a venue in Wisconsin.

Other ideas:

Linen runner exhibit and competition.  (There could be categories: most colorful, finest threads, most complex, most beautiful, etc) In the Textile Center Community Gallery?

Arrange for an exhibit with the Northern Clay Center, to display handwoven runners with handmade pottery.  We could also work with Mosaic on a Stick again, and have mosaic artist design tabletop trivets that would coordinate with runners or placemats. Center for Book Arts – papermaking and bookbinding in linen?

Contact the Guild in Duluth?  They may want to do a joint exhibit, or a two-city group project, with members of each guild weaving pieces with the same type of linen warp or pattern using linen?

Field trip to see a linen field. Field trip to the Swedish Institute to view linens in their collection.

Create a bibliography of books and articles on linen – there could be a book display in the Textile Center Library.

Have a themed issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter on Norwegian linen, with newly-translated book chapters or articles. norwegiantextileletter.com

Group warps?  Following the class by Joanne Hall, the Scandinavian Weavers could set up a group warp on a Glimakra.  The Fine Threads group could set up a warp?  Dobby weavers?  Set up the Megado with a linen warp.

Maybe Federation that year could have a tie-in theme.

If people wove linen pieces, perhaps they could travel to Midwest in Indianapolis as an exhibit of MN linen activity.


Please join us to expand this list and add details to the ideas.  Some rewarding activities may result! April 14, 2016.  5:30 p.m. Weavers Guild