Search graduate:

    Mari-Triin Kirs

  • Textile Design
  • MA
  • Austerity in Fabric: Growing Worldview on a Flax Field
  • Tutor: Katrin Kabun, Kärt Ojavee
  • Weaving

My project to grow flax started last spring with a bag full of seeds. I had little knowledge of the plant that can be processed into linen fabric. Therefore, my goal was to start from the beginning. I was troubled by the idea that I cannot design textile without knowing how to create or grow it. 

I write about austerity as moral purity, virtue and abstinence. This helps me explain a worldview approach that collides with consumer culture and environmental issues that have been directly or indirectly affected by textiles and their production. We don’t exist in the world in isolation. We are part of the system, of nature and therefore living should not happen at the expense of it.

My flax project gave me the opportunity to create textiles in harmony with the environment. I could see, touch and smell every stage of the transformation from seed to fabric. Everything I used was local, except the seeds. The plants were watered by rain and transformed into fabric as a result of human labor. I learned to spin yarn from the fibers obtained from my flax field, and wove them into a creative fabric that shows the asceticism, austerity and process of my past year.

I went through the whole process from seed to fabric and witnessed growing and blooming flax plants, retting and drying of the stalks, processed fibers, handspun yarn and handwoven fabric. Creation of fabrics takes mostly place in countries where labor costs are low. The producing countries are also concentrated in a geographically similar region and are far away from us. For that reason the valuable knowledge of textiles is disappearing from non-producing countries which causes many environmental problems as well as the decrease of textiles as a whole. Therefore, I wanted to create a fabric that is pure and at the same time share valuable textile knowledge about linen that is almost completely gone in Estonia.