Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Simon & Ann Cooper
07815 967951 / 01453 731727
Flaxland was set up in 2008 as a development from our joint interests – traditional maritime wooden boats and farming. Having built a number of fabric covered crafts mostly covered in artist type canvas, we sought a stronger fabric and alternative materials and the concept of growing the fabric for your own boats was born. Working on large arable farms, we loan corners of fields planting the fibre flax crop in much the same way as the shorter flax plants, known as linseed, which are still grown as a commercial crop.
With no flax industry remaining in the UK we had to revert to cottage industry methods of building and developing hand tools, harvesting and working crops by hand to process the raw fibres into linen.
Flax is ideally suited to the UK climate and was part of our industry up to relatively recently. It has been 60 years since the last commercial crop was grown in England co-inciding with the introduction of manmade fibres. Flax and natural materials are set for a renaissance, not only in its traditional use in clothing and textiles, but also in industry and bio-composites. Building and developing the skills in retting, processing, working with these fibres, as well as the use and care of the end product is important for the development of a sustainable future.
We run courses teaching individuals and groups to grow and run their own projects; work with industry and education on new uses and are keen to work with others to develop a viable future for flax growing in the UK for both fibre and seed for oils and foods.