Irish Linen and my family

The theme of the Arts Council funded workshops I’m doing, as part of the Bait project in Northumberland, is Textile Stories.  This is the information from Paddy Hartley:

Paddy Hartley Fragments Workshop
29th & 30th March 2014 at Lynemouth Resource Centre
The ‘Fragments workshop will involve exploring soluble fabric ‘floating applique’ techniques to create wearable artwork. 
Participants will recreate fragments of either an existing garment (cuffs, pockets, collars etc) or cut components from pre-existing garments and use these as a base on which to freehand machine stitch imagery, text and pattern whilst incorporating reinforced dissolving fabric into the creation of the piece.
Participants will work with multi-layers of fabric, using ‘excising’ techniques to revealunderlying layers of text and imagery in the pieces.
Participants are able to work either individually, in pairs or groups.
Please bring with you on the day:  old coats, jackets, blouses…anything with buttons.  Also you will need to bring either images or scans or text that will relate to the story you wish to work around.
If you want to work by cutting up a pre-existing garment, you will need to bring something you are happy to cut up. You may want to group up and all share a jacket say, choose a component each and remove this from the garment to each work on.
The more you fragment the garment and make unconventional cuts, the better.  The pieces we make will not be permanently attached to any garments they are builtaround. They are detachable.
Participants can work to their own story, or one which may related to the building or community in which we are working or extend the theme of the Miner’s  Strike into the workThis doesnt have to be a literal linear story. Paddy himself tends to work around image and word association

This got me thinking about what the story I could possibly tell.  I don’t want to deal with the Miner’s Strike because it isn’t personal to me; I don’t have a story to tell about it.  What I do have is a deep connection to Irish Linen, going back to at least my great grandmother, and perhaps even further.  Both of my grandmothers were involved in the linen industry, and had highly skilled jobs.  It’s so sad that we’ve lost so much of that now.  Thanks to the power of the internet I was able to find some interesting images to share with you.  

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