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Growing & Processing Flax with Sandy & Durl of Chico Flax
May 7, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm$275
Join us for a fun and informative in-person, hands-on workshop on planting, harvesting and preparing flax to make linen. Topics and demonstrations will include:
Planting flax seed—broadcasting techniques versus row planting
Harvesting flax—the right time to harvest for just fiber or fiber plus seed
Bundling flax—preparing the harvested flax for retting
Retting—both dew retting and wet retting explained. We will discuss using a small tank or low-volume sprinklers, and show examples of ready-retted flax.
The hands-on portion of the workshop will include:
Processing retted flax—learn how use a traditional brake, scutch/paddle, and a series of hackles
Creating a strick—a decorative bundle of fiber ready to be converted into sliver for spinning
Students will come home with some seeds for planting in their garden, flax straw ready for processing, handouts on how to make equipment, and more!
The class is limited to 15 students, and will take place at the beautiful Fibershed Learning Center on Black Mountain Ranch near Point Reyes Station. (Address provided upon registration.) The class will be both outdoors and in the garage classroom, which has plenty of ventilation and wooden folding chairs.
To enroll: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/251635718207
Participants should bring any personal snacks, lunch and beverages. Lunch is not included.
Important note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will take appropriate precautions. Depending on current conditions, masks may be required in indoor spaces for all participants, and we will maintain appropriate physical distance during the class. If conditions change and it becomes necessary to cancel because of the pandemic, your tuition and fees will be refunded.
Fibershed Scholarship Program
Fibershed is offering two scholarships to most workshops; one scholarship if it’s a small class. If you would not otherwise be able to attend, and would like to be considered as a scholarship recipient, please answer a few brief questions on this Google Form. Responses will be reviewed by Learning Center staff and kept strictly confidential.
Sandy Fisher and Durl Van Alstyne have created a social enterprise known as Chico Flax, practicing regenerative agriculture with the help of The Center for Regenerative Agriculture and the School of Engineering at CSU, Chico, and other community members. They expanded their operation in 2018 to a 3.75 acre farm. Twelve years prior, Sandy and other community members worked at various small gardens to grow and process flax into linen. Today they processes their own flax into a variety of yarns, creating blends of their linen with local wool and cotton. This year Sandy will be participating in the prestigious Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington DC in April, showing her handwoven shawls and scarves using Chico Flax yarns.
Photo of Durl Van Alstyne and Sandy Fisher by Paige Green
Collage at top of page: top row, courtesy of Chico Flax (1), by Paige Green (2); bottom row, by Paige Green (1), courtesy of Chico Flax (2)