Walton Flax Exchange

Walton Flax Exchange is a month-long exhibition with local artist Shane Waltener. Using flax, grown and harvested in Walton, the exhibition will display the processing of the crop from plant to linen, introducing the idea of soil-to-soil clothing made from fabric which is entirely compostable. Flax sculptures and objects will be interwoven with public activities and performances, inviting other practitioners and members of the public to skill exchange and share knowledge on the subject. The exhibition aims to generate an interest in the production of Walton fabric and create a local ‘fibershed’, a term coined by Rebecca Burgess in 2010, describing a network connecting growers, makers and consumers.

Shane Waltener’s work draws inspiration from traditional craft practice combined with an interest in movement, dance and choreographing making processes. His approach is rooted in ecology and reuse. Audiences are regularly involved in the making of his artworks, facilitating personal, social and cultural histories relating to these crafts to be freely exchanged. 

Using flax, grown and harvested in Walton, the exhibition will display the processing of the crop from plant to linen. A spinning wheel and other tools will be installed in the space and used for a performance of spinning and music. Talks and demonstrations are woven through the exhibition including: plant dying, processing and spinning flax, making flax cordage for coiled basketry, and a book group reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’.

Walton Flax Exchange
Shane Waltener
6 November – 10 December, 2022
Opening Sunday 6 November 3pm-5.30pm
The exhibition is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10.30am-5.30pm.
The Nose, 28 Newgate Street, Walton on the Naze, Co14 8AL.

Opening Event
Sunday 6 November, 3pm-5.30pm
Come and see the artwork on display in the bookshop and project space, and be introduced to making flax thread. Drinks served.

Flax Harvest

Processing Flax 
Wednesday 9th
Wednesday 16th
Wednesday 23rd
Shane will be in the bookshop processing flax on days throughout the exhibition. The flax grown was grown in three gardens in Walton on the Naze. He will be demonstrating the process of working the bast fibre into thread for weaving into linen. Shane will be using breakers, scutchers and hackles, some of them hand made, to do this before spinning the fibres on a wheel and weaving them into cloth on a table loom also in the bookshop. Come and watch him work.


Basketry Workshop and Book Club: Braiding Sweetgrass
Wednesday 16 November, 7pm (6.45pm for soup)
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. By Robin Wall Kimmerer.

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two ways of knowledge together. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. 

Basketry Workshop
Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass discussed at the bookclub, Shane will introduce making coiled grass baskets using corded flax fibre. The baskets made will be plant dyed at a later workshop at the bookshop when Shane will be in conversation with Emma Eagle talking about working with locally sourced material, textile making and plant dyeing.

Dye Plant demonstration and Artist Talk 
Saturday 19 November, 4pm - 5.30pm

Shane Waltener will be in conversation with local artist, plant dyer Emma Eagle, about their interest in textile making, foraging and growing your own materials to work with. They will demonstrate dying with natural plant dyes, and invite visitors to bring examples of textiles of plants and materials they have dyed with. Shane will also talk about the Walton Flax Exchange exhibition introduce the idea of a local ‘fibreshed’, a term coined by Rebecca Burgess in 2010 describing a network connecting growers, makers and consumers. 

Shane Waltener is an artist whose work draws inspiration from traditional craft practice combined with an interest in movement, dance and choreographing making processes.

Emma Eagle is a local artist, plant dyer and farmer’s daughter, who collects colours, materials and environmental data to map the changes happening in our coastal landscape. 

‘When dying with plants the colour will be dependent on so many different variables, which part of the plant you are using, the time of year, the weather, the age of the plant, all of these variables will impact on the colour. I can't wait to see the result when the fabric or yarn comes out of the dye pot and dries. Not only will this colour be beautiful, but it contains all the information about the plant, this is what I find exciting and what I hope to utilise and appropriate in my work.’ 
Emma Eagle

Natural Dye

Performance, and closing event.
Saturday 3 December, 3.30pm and 5.30pm.

Shane Waltener will be processing flax in a performance with performance artist and musician Merlin Nova. Both artists met at Ambient Jam, a multi-media dance improvisation collective. Working with their respective tools and instruments, the performance - part rehearsed, part improvised - highlights connections between textile and music making. 

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