A rip rettin’ good time: Student-faculty Flax Project kicks off another year

UW-Green Bay, student-faculty flax projectRippling, retting and rarin’ to go, UW-Green Bay History and Fiber Arts students found fun (and beautiful weather) in hands-on learning Sept. 5, inaugurating another year of the Flax Project at UW-Green Bay.

Engaging in several steps of flax processing, the students harvested this year’s flax, rippled flax from earlier harvests and loaded the retting pools. For the uninitiated, “rippling” is the process that removes the seed bolls from the fiber tips, which must be done before the flax is laid in pools to rett (essentially, to soak — this separates the fiber from the stem).  Further steps will include breaking the stem into short segments, “scutching” (extracting the fibers) and “heckling” (combing) the flax before it is spun and woven for use.

Faculty members Alison Gates, Art and Design, and Heidi Sherman, History, are spearheading the interdisciplinary project, which has developed an international reputation and yielded invitations to present at workshops in Europe and elsewhere.

For more information and additional photos, visit the UWGB Flax Project Facebook page.

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– Photos by Laurie Case, Chancellor’s Office, and Kimberly Vlies, Office of Marketing and University Communication