The Flaxmobile Project



Closing the Material Security Gap
across Mi’kma’ki:Nova Scotia










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Land Acknowledgement



We are in Mi’kma’ki, on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People, who have lived in harmony with the land for centuries. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. These treaties did not implicate or affirm the surrender or transfer of lands and resources to the British, but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title, establishing the rules for what was to be a long-standing relationship of mutual respect between nations.

The Flaxmobile Project recognizes that land dispossession in this country is rooted in and maintained by settler colonialism and began with colonial systems of enclosure for agriculture. This dispossession contributed to the loss of traditional bast fibre knowledge and the erasure of Indigenous material culture. Flax was a crop introduced by early settlers and it is our aim that knowledge of flax cultivation developed through this project will also support the re-establishment of Indigenous bast fibres in Mi’kma’ki: Nova Scotia.

We are treaty people and respect the rights and responsibilities of the treaties.

About


The Flaxmobile Project supports farmers and craftspeople across Mi’kma’ki: Nova Scotia to cultivate fibre flax as an alternative to fossil-fuel based fibres. The Flaxmobile Project is a three-phase research project that involves a mobile facility for educational immersion and fibre flax processing. The project is creating a critical network that connects farmers, fibre mills, craftspeople and consumers to explore the sustainable futures of textile supply chains and to address the material security gap across Mi’kma’ki: Nova Scotia.

Fibre flax thrives in our Maritime climate; it is fully biodegradable, zero-waste, and the plant source for linen. While robust networks for local textiles existed in Nova Scotia until the early 1920s, present systems of globalized commerce, and a migration away from rural communities has led to the decline of these sectors. 

The Flaxmobile Project is encouraging the development of a local and sustainable fibre flax industry to provide a consistent supply of high-quality fibres and fibre by-products to support our culture sector. We intervene in existing systems o



Our approach includes five objectives:



  • Reduce barriers for Nova Scotians who wish to access locally produced and sustainable textiles and clothing, as well as natural building materials, such as flaxcrete and bio-char
  • Generate local, green jobs across the agriculture, craft, and building sectors that are in line with principles of the circular economy

  • Contribute to a broader long-term shift toward buying local and removing virgin polyester and synthetic fibres from entering Nova Scotia and ending up in our waste stream

  • Generate sharable knowledge to support climate change adaptation in other Nova Scotian communities
  • Address Nova Scotia’s target for GHG emissions reduction by sequestering 68 tonnes of carbon by 2030 and 3,669 tonnes by 2050


Upcoming Events


Community Engagement Sessions



The Flaxmobile Project is convening several community engagement sessions in spring 2024, to identify and gather a range of viewpoints from the community related to the development of a local textiles industry. We are inviting farmers, fibre mill owners, craftspeople, industry professionals and consumers, living and working in Nova Scotia to take part in the study.



What to expect from a Community Engagement Session


Please join us for upcoming events:



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Monday March 25, 2024

Truro Farmers’ Market, Truro, NS

9:00am – 3:30pm

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Monday April 8, 2024

NSCAD University Port Campus, Room P207, Halifax, NS

9:00am – 3:30pm

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Friday April 26, 2024

Online

9:00am – 3:30pm









Participants of previous community engagement sessions have said the following about their experience:



“I have a much better understanding of the industry potential and obstacles.”


“One person/group can't solve the problem alone - it will take collaboration and working together to support each other.“

“I've learned about the breadth of the problem beyond my own perspective”


2023 Farmers 





Participating farmers in the 2023 season are distributed across Mi’kma’ki: Nova Scotia from the South Shore to the Margaree Valley of Unama’ki: Cape Breton.

 







2022 Farmers









Andreea Murgu





Andreea Murgu grew up in Vancouver, BC, where her family settled after emigrating from Romania. She moved to Nova Scotia in 2011 to attend NSCAD University where she earned a double major in Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing and Textiles/Fashion.

Her Grandmother had a great love of crafts, especially textiles, a few pieces of which Andreea has inherited over the years. These special pieces sparked a fascination and obsession with collecting domestic textiles.

A large part of Andreea’s work revolves around sentimental objects and ancient and historical techniques from around the world. She is inspired by nature, history, agriculture, rituals, and what cultivates a sense of home. Andreea lives and works close to the earth in the Annapolis Valley.














Andreea’s previous works













Anita Cazzola




She/her

Anita Cazzola is a textile and installation artist currently based in the Annapolis Valley (Mi'kma'ki). Her work inhabits the intersections between textiles, wild plants, geography, and the built human environment. Exploring the material and metaphorical complexities of cloth and plants, Anita reconsiders the destructive assumptions of decay and disintegration as means of resistance, reclamation and healing. Her work is cumulative and generative, with appreciation for plants existing at the forefront. Anita uses natural dyes as a means of amplifying the voices of plants growing in “Sad spaces” (spaces damaged by human action). Demonstrating radical power through generative disobedience, plants in “Sad Spaces” share their wisdom in the simple act of being themselves.




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anitacazzola.com
thelifersmusic.com
manidoromending.com











Anita’s previous works














Frances Dorsey




Frances Dorsey is an artist and gardener living in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. Retired now from teaching at NSCAD, she enjoys the opportunity for reflection, making and observance of the astonishing worlds surrounding us all. In the daily scramble we often don’t have the opportunity to appreciate the rocks, plants, and weather phenomena for what they actually are, so being able to slow down and ponder is a wonderful gift.

Her work has been shown across Canada as well as in Korea, Australia and the United States, and she is a recipient of various awards, most recently the Arts Nova Scotia Award for an Established Artist. In 2022 she curated Plant Kingdom, an exhibition at the Dalhousie University Art Gallery featuring the work of eight artists including herself. Additionally she was instrumental in establishing a pollinator garden on the Dalhousie University campus.














Frances’ previous works
















Gabriel Soligo




Gabriel is an artist, craftsperson, and trades worker living in beautiful Annapolis County, Mi’kma’ki : Nova Scotia. While living in this place he has become part of a beautiful community of people making their way through the world in compatible yet unique ways; all aligning over care for the earth, creativity and art, self-determination, and social justice. Gabriel’s art practice revolves around textiles, words, rhythm, and sculpture. Over the years he has come to understand art as a way of living, of sharing ideas, and of communing meaningfully with others.


While his artistic voice has changed over time, he maintains the through-lines of a dedication to quality, inquisitiveness, and ever-learning.











Gabriel’s previous works














Heidi Friessen




Heidi Friesen employs the material language of textiles to examine the migration and mediation of ideas. Interpreting complex ecosystems of entangled relationships through
slow, tactile processes and natural fibres, Heidi connects to the places she inhabits, engaging the boundless capacity of materials to convey concepts and catalyze innovation. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Heidi worked as a photographer and graphic designer before finding her niche with textiles. In 2016, she completed a BFA in Fibre at the Alberta University of the Arts, and then interned at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator’s Sustainability Lab and the Weaving Hand studio in New York. The following year, she was the Assistant Designer and Studio Manager for Laura Siegel Collection, a fashion label based in Toronto. Heidi was chosen as a finalist for the 2017 LOEWE Craft Prize, and has participated in artist residencies in Hungary, France, and Portugal. In 2022 she completed her MFA at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia




︎ http://madebyheidi.ca/











Heidi’s previous works