A Field of Flax – transforming Bootle into a collective garden

February 2021

Before the imports of thread for spinning and weaving began in the eighteenth century, the North West of England was home to the production of linen – an ancestral heritage which is tied to Bootle, with Linacre meaning ‘Acre of Linen’.

A new partnership between Taking Root and Rule of Threes Arts, A Field of Flax is a community growing project, inviting local people to play an integral role in enriching public space, and take action in the co-production of an environmental public artwork.

Over the course of ten months, we will be growing a ‘field of flax’ flowers across different sites, using the growing process to promote learning about Linacre’s history, sustainable growing and textiles production.

A time-travelling exploration of place, artist and weaver Raisa Kabir will draw on Bootle, in particular Linacre’s heritage, working with community growers to transform public space into a collective garden, and re-imagine Bootle’s sustainable future.

The community will be invited to work alongside Raisa to nurture the flax from seed to flower, before harvesting and processing the flax into thread. During the later stages of the project, she will invite people to learn how to weave the homegrown thread into linen cloth using a community loom, stored at Bootle Library, following the full cycle of textiles production from field to cloth.

A series of small creative workshops will run alongside the growing process, connecting local history to growing, fabric trade and urgent environmental concerns.

Through a period of social distance, we are inviting local people to connect and take part in the project by growing at home alongside us. We will be providing free grow-at-home kits with seeds, compost and instructions for Bootle residents to grow flax on their doorsteps, on their windowsills or in their front or back gardens.

People of all ages are invited to participate in the project as much, or as little, as they like, whether it is learning about the process through ‘heritage challenges’ and online talks, tending to public gardens, growing their own flax at home or simply enjoying watching the flax grow in public sites across Bootle.

To support our project, we are kindly asking for donations of large, unloved plant pots to go alongside seeds, instructions and compost as part of our grow-at-home kits. Ideally, pots will be at least ten inches deep to allow flax to grow.

These pots will be repurposed and given a new home, as we deliver the kits to Bootle residents and families who would like to grow flax with us, safely at home. To donate a plant pot to a new home, please email hello@ruleofthrees.co.uk, with your address, and we will tell you a day to leave it on your doorstep, so we can collect them safely from a distance.

Read more about A Field Of Flax here.

Equally, if you are interested in the project and would like to be involved, please contact us by email – hello@regenerus.org.uk – and we can send you regular updates as the project develops.

For more about our project, visit the Rule of Threes website, or follow our social media for regular updates.

A Field of Flax is a project funded by the Arts Council England.