FLAX FARM IS AN EXPERIMENTAL GARDEN PROJECT TO PRODUCE FIBER FOR HAND PAPERMAKING FROM HEIRLOOM FLAX SEEDS.
Terrain Biennial, 2019 hosted by Matthew Girson and Sarah Shirk in Oak Park, IL.
Early American Quakers grew, harvested, spun and sewed flax fiber for linen textiles as a living protest against slave cotton. Propagating flax is an overwhelmingly labor-intensive process, and expensive in comparison to cotton. These abolitionist quotes by Quaker leaders are surprisingly timely though they are more than 150 years old. They ask how we might build compassion for the invisible laborers who produce what we consume and ultimately what we are willing to sacrifice for justice. Growing flax fiber for my hand papermaking practice—while seemingly absurd today—reminds me that materials I take for granted are inevitably produced at someone’s expense in the modern economy.