From fields of golden flax to linen fiber...
Oregon's Willamette Valley has a storied history with linen fiber, and a bright future ahead. A follow-up to the enthusiastic response of 2018 Design Week's panel discussion, "Connecting Threads: Rebuilding our Domestic Apparel System", Shannon Welsh and Angela Wartes-Kahl of Fibrevolution, present a primer about this incredible bast fiber. They will talk about some of its close relatives, its evolution worldwide and in our region, as well where this revived industry is heading domestically and what steps Fibrevolution is taking to move it forward.
A fascinating and relevant topic for anyone interested in local agriculture, organic farming, textile manufacturing, land use, apparel, sustainable building materials, craft, design, local industry.
This event is free and and seats are limited. Please RSVP below to ensure your spot.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30TH
5:30PM - 8:00PM
403 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
SEATING IS LIMITED. PLEASE RSVP TO ATTEND.
Refreshments provided, come thirsty!
THANK YOU TO OUR LOCAL SPONSORS:
ACE HOTEL PORTLAND // BRIDGEPORT BREWING // COOPER MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS // MONTINORE ESTATE VINEYARDS // STEVEN SMITH TEAS // THE SUTTLE LODGE & BOATHOUSE
Here's a look at the history of fiber flax in Oregon and the process in which fiber flax goes through to produce linen.
Growing and processing flax for oil and textiles played an important role in the economy of the Mid-Willamette Valley. The Willamette Heritage Center Collections has over 200 items related to the history of flax and linen production in the Pacific Northwest. Kylie Pine, the Curator and Collections Manager for the Willamette Heritage Center, has graciously digitized multiple historical pamphlets and magazine articles related to the flax industry in Oregon. We are thankful to Kylie, and the Willamette Heritage Center, for their collaboration on our flax to linen research, as well as for sharing all of this wonderful documentation with the community.
Please click here to view - Flax and Linen Collections - Enjoy!
Flax Puller on display at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center in McMinnville, OR
Oregon has a rich history of bast fiber production. In 1942 Oregon harvested 18,000 acres and produced 37,000 short tons of flax in 14 regional processing mills. Good soil and a cool, moist climate determined the quality and yield for flax and Oregon was leading the way around the world. Post WWII, Oregon was struggling to keep fiber flax profitable, as Europe’s flax industry was rebuilt. In 1951, a mere 2000 acres of flax was harvested and 3,400 short tons were produced. 10 out of 14 processing facilities had shut their doors. The development of synthetic fibers, exploited labor forces in the South growing cotton, and the lack of a consistent grading system, all contributed to the decline of flax production. Once it’s main customer, the US military, was not engaged in war, the push for fiber independence was lost. Today, there are no bast fiber processing facilities left in the Pacific Northwest.
Fibrevolution has been growing fiber flax in the idyllic Lobster Valley of Western Oregon's coastline for over 4 years. We believe that this crop will create a much needed niche industry within our community. We have been in conversation with local universities, historical societies, regional farmers, organic inspectors, activists, artisans, designers and anyone who will listen...believing that as a collective community, we will be able to bring this niche crop back to the Pacific Northwest! Please follow us as we pull our collective wisdom together, get our hands dirty and grow regional cloth!