My love for linen can be traced back to my childhood years in postwar Germany. Old, hand-woven linens were still part of our
everyday lives: beautiful, durable and pure linen that stood in stark contrast to our torn and fragmented society. I think that
this still holds true for me: that in a society that is fast paced and ever changing there are some things of enduring quality and
value, and to me my linen is a beautiful and tactile reminder of that.
All of my linen is between 80 and 130 years old and made from flax
and hemp, which were grown by the same European farmers that
hand-wove the material. The women weavers of former times spent
their evenings weaving this amazing linen, often working only by
candlelight. A weaver would work four to six hours to produce
just 60 centimeters (24 inches) of this linen. The finished linen was
used to make clothing and bedding as well as grain sacks and
Today, linen of this quality and kind is no longer grown by
European farmers. Like the rest of us, they buy their clothing
ready made, and the conveniences of man-made materials render
the need for this kind of linen obsolete. More importantly, to grow
and hand produce linen is no longer cost-effective. Flax that is
now grown in the vast fields of northern Europe is used to
produce the more economically valuable linseed oil.
Truly, these linens are one of a kind! Old linen bolts are becoming
harder and harder to find. In a decade or so, most of the old
farmers' linen presses and their daughters' dowry chests will have
yielded up their historic treasures to be loved by others, who will
appreciate their handmade linen for its artistic beauty.
|© 2007 Ludwiga’s Linen. All rights reserved.