Tuesday, 9 June 2015

London Linen - A Slow Fashion Tale of Urban Flax - May 2015 - exhibit - Brockwell Hall

The flax journey seeded in Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses with the aim to inspire people to connect with where their clothes come from and see if it was possible to grow a linen garment from seed in an urban environment. Excitingly -  it was - with the collective effort of community gardens, school children, artisans, spinners and The London College of Fashion.
the journey in photos from seed to harvest to naturally dyeing and weaving
The couture garland made by passementerie expert Jessica Light after the first years growth & cyanotypes made by Zoë Burt help document the project
Diane Sullock and Christine Rowe give spinning demonstrations on a spinning wheel and with a drop spindle at the exhibit in Brockwell Hall
The London linen garment worn for the first time 
Aaron the spinner enables  young participants to have a go on his spinning wheel
Jo Clayton - storycycler - spins yarns and brings to life tales of plants and their transformation into the fabric of our lives through the ages

Sunday, 1 February 2015

London Linen garment - sown, grown and made in London

Some of the London linen thread was naturally dyed
using madder root also grown in London
Nurturing a love of nature and wanting to critique our fashion industry - a seed of this project was to grow a London garment to inspire people to get back in touch with where their clothes come from and debate textile provenance and clothes miles. And here it is!
Flax sown, grown and processed in London by many different people of all ages was handed to the students and knitting technicians at the London College of Fashion to design and make a London linen garment.  The brief was to reflect all the people who took part in the project.  The students designed and knitted a vest showing the lovely variations in the thread – like all the lovely variations in the people who made it. A huge thankyou to ALL the amazing people who helped envision, grow and co-create this textile journey, especially Kate Poland from Cordwainers Garden for her "LIVE" garden network.
Ryan Saradjola - photographer, Quentin Hubert as the stylist and Ka Hei Law as the hair and make-up artist. LCF technicians - knitters

The garment itself will be on shown at The Royal Horticultural
Society Secret Sunday Show on 1st March.

Flax beds being prepared at The London College of Fashion, Mare street with the help of Cordwainers Garden, Permablitz London, students & staff at LCF during spring last year

Flax grown at Brockwell Park
 Community Greenhouses
Flax being harvested 
Brockwell Park 
Community Greenhouses 2014
Aaron Scott Fletcher - "Knitwear Extraordinaire"
 heard about the Grow a London garment project via twitter. Keen to be part of the journey he brought  his spinning skills, enthusiasm and contemporary design vision to primary school children and students at LCF helping them learn how to spin too

Christine Rowe demonstrated drop spindling for fine linen threads with school children in East London. Christine was inspired to learn more about drop-spindling after being invited to research a project on Egyptian Coptic (one needle) knitting 
the finer flax fibres after
they have been scutched.
Cassie Liversidge http://cassieliversidge.com
organised flax growing and processing
 with several East London schools
 inspiring children to learn that some of their clothes are made from plants
a primary school child tries
new skills
 in processing plant fibres
 to make thread
Aaron Fletcher demonstrates spinning
flax on a spinning wheel to obtain
linen thread
with primary school children
allowing them all to have a go too

Aaron's winged footwear deserves a mention
sure it helped to inspire the children to see the magical transformation from plant to fibre to garment and their part in that

Kate Poland and Zoë Burt give a talk about
Growing a London Garment at the London Permaculture Festival

.."each morning webs appear on earth as magical as the dew drops that cover them...In all myth the art of interlocking thread originated in the divine world and this is why some small mistake must be integrated into the pattern to remind us of life's imperfections"

...asked by a monastic, “What is Buddha?” Dongshan said, “Three pounds of flax.” The monastic had a realization and bowed.
And she'd had lucky eyes and a high heart,
And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax,
At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,
Sudden and laughing.

William Butler Yeats

For further information on the project please see:

Friday, 23 May 2014

Grow a London Garment

Excited to report about developments with the seeds of fashion project and a third year of collaborative urban growth. Teaming up Brockwell Park Gardens, Kate Poland from Cordwainers Garden, The London College of Fashion, Permablitz London, Morley college, various schools, estates, community gardens and individuals across the city. We now have a  lively cluster of people collectively aiming to grow flax and transform it into linen to create  a collective London fashion design statement. For more info see
Photos below show different stages of flax growth

Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses
Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses 
Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses

Mayo Community Garden,
South London
- flax planting

Mayo Community Garden,
South London
- flax 

Newham City Farm
- flax bed

Newham City Farm
 - flax seedlings

L'Arche Community Garden
 - flax bed

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Seeds of Fashion exhibition at The South London Botanical Institute, Lambeth Open

Passamenterie garland woven by Jessica Light with flax grown within the M25
on a "shift" linen dress dyed with dhalia, dyers camomile,
french marigolds, wallflowers and weld also grown in London

photo credit Marianne Wie
Cyanotype of dried flax plant
Display case showing the process from seed to flax plant, dried flax stems,  scutched stalks - woody parts removed, heckled flax - combed strands looking like hair, spun threads transformed to linen and knitted or woven to make fabric
Paintings on linen canvas by Rupert Burt

photo credit Marianne Wie
Linen "shift" dress displayed at The South London Botanical Institute
with photo series documenting the process by Camilla Regorda

photo credit Marianne Wie
Braids woven by Jessica Light
 from flax grown and processed
within the M25

photo credit Marianne Wie
Storytelling: tales of transformation through plants and textiles with
Margaret Bateson-Hill
Display shows heckling comb and drop spindle
photo credit Marianne Wie
Cyanotype on hemp silk
photo credit Marianne Wie

Seeds of Fashion book
by Camilla Regorda

photo credit Marianne Wie

Cyanotypes by Zoë Burt on bookshelves
photo credit by Marianne Wie
SLBI founded by Alan Octavian Hume
photo credit Marianne Wie

Rayon (cellulose fibre made from wood pulp) fringe made by Jessica Light with flax seed cyanotype print by Zoë Burt
photo credit Marianne Wie
Cyanotype botanicals in the herbarium on paper and fabric by Zoë Burt
photo credit Marianne Wie
Discussions in the library
Drawing flax seeds through the microscope

Jessica Light leads a tassel making workshop

Participants mark out the stitch
 inspired by the flax and hemp plant
Dr. Emma Neuberg founder of
The Slow Design School
leads a sashiko stitching talk and workshop
Naturally dyed textiles on linen,
hemp/silk cyanotype botanicals
heat transfer synthetic prints

discharge prints on organic cotton
With gracious thanks to Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses for the space, people and encouragement to grow textile related plants; Teresina at Wildfibres for supplying seed; Diane Sullock for spinning and natural dying expertise; Olga Martinez for documenting: filming and editing, Dr. Emma Neuberg for inspiration and insight from The Slow Design School; Camilla Regorda for helpful volunteering on the project and creating a bespoke Seeds of Fashion design book; Victoria Umansky for volunteering and including Seeds of fashion as a focus for her thesis; Kate Burnett for pattern cutting and making up the dress; Jessica Light for creating a couture woven passamenterie piece out of the hand-processed linen; The South London Botanical Institute for hosting the exhibition and growing flax in their garden,  Rosendale School allotments for growing flax and participating in a workshop;  Flaxland for their training; Project Dirt and  Timberland for an Earthkeeper Grant 2013
Thankyou all!