Flax is a crop with a strong European heritage. As it grows well in the coastal areas of Western Europe, a strong industry and economy has flourished around flax and its processed products up until today. We all know the fine linen cloth, lace, linseed oil, linseed oil-based paint, to name a few.

However, the production of fibre-based products is increasingly delocalised to other parts of the world. This pressure from a globalised economy is leading the flax growers and processors to reach out to scientists and designers looking into the potential of this versatile crop beyond its traditional products.

 

Linseeds, linseed oil and byproducts are the subject of investigation for the project of Studio Plastique as they set out to explore and design innovative ways to apply them.

Their ultimate aim is to offer alternative and diversified visions and opportunities for the European flax industry that stands under great pressure from global competition.

The research is conducted in collaboration with scientists and researchers from various fields and is divided into 4 levels of understanding:

The Seed – analysis of the seed itself, its contexts of production and transformation.

Geopolitical – mapping of the economy and politics of flax and its products.

Material – the understanding and development of various new and exciting material and design possibilities based on linseeds, linseed oil and byproducts.

Food – an exploration of the attributes and benefits of linseeds and linseed oil as a nutriment.

 

With the generous support of

 

Vandeputte Oleochemicals

Albert Brille

Algemeen Belgisch Vlasverbond

McConville's Flax Mill & Museum

Leibnitz Institute for Plant Genetics

Photography during the exhibition at the F.E.McWilliam Gallery, N.I. by Simon Mills, 2019

Linseed oil mill, Belgium

Photography by Franziska Krieck

Leibnitz Institute for Plant Genetics, Germany

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