Susie Gillespie

Flax Processing, Linen Spinning & Creative Weaving


Flax Processing, Linen Spinning & Creative Weaving


Course dates:

2021 March 6th to 9th – full


Susie  will show you how to process and spin the flax grown in her orchard to make a hank of linen and then weave a linen cushion cover or piece of artwork on large four shaft floor looms in her studio. Suitable for complete beginners and experienced spinners and weavers.

 Susie’s workshop and studio are set in the orchards of a 15th Century cider farm in South Devon. It is the perfect place for you to relax and be inspired.

The course is 4 days and includes all materials and lunch. Accommodation is available B & B in the Barn House and Farm House next door to Susie’s studio. 

While you are on the course, why not take the opportunity to explore the beaches, countryside and river estuaries of South Devon recording what you find in sketches, photographs and found items and return to the studio to incorporate your ideas into your woven art work.

valley view

Susie plants the flax seed (which is also called linseed) in spring and it is ready to harvest around August time. Susie will talk you through the process of rippling, retting and drying and you will be supplied with the flax stems from last summers harvest for you to start the next stages of processing the flax into linen yarn.




Firstly you will put the stems through a giant wooden crimp called a breaker to reveal the flax fibres. The remaining bits of hard pith that are left on the fibres are then removed with a wooden knife called a scutch.

To prepare the fibres for spinning, you will comb them through fine metal tines (prongs) called a hackle and they will begin to resemble the pony tail of a flaxen haired maiden.

The pony tail is then spread out on a table and wound onto a distaff. Susie will then show you how to tease the fibre off the distaff and onto the spinning wheel to produce the linen yarn.

Once you have a hank of your own linen yarn you can move on to the weaving studio where there are large four shaft floor looms and begin the process of weaving the linen into cloth to produce your own cushion cover or artwork.

flax flowers with susieI will show you basic weaving techniques as well as her more unusual ideas in weaving.

You can weave different textures and experiment with wrappings, twill, looping, slits and tapestry inlay. You can also experiment with gesso, paint and earth pigments and if you are making an art piece distress, fray, stain, unravel, darn, stitch, cut and sew fragments together.

Suitable for complete beginners and experienced spinners and weavers, you will come away with your own linen cushion cover or piece of artwork designed and created by you.

The course is £340 for all four days and includes lunch and materials.


Accommodation is available B & B in the Barn House and Farm House next door to Susie’s studio. Please visit the Accommodation tab above for more details.

To enquire about course and accommodation availability please click here



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2020 course dates:

November 5th to 8th – Tim Johnson ‘Finding Fibres – Containing Space’ – cancelled

November 21st 22nd 23rd – Alice Fox Land Marks – Recording Place – cancelled

2021 course dates:

February 13th and 14th – 2 day weaving course – full

February 27th and 28th – 2 day weaving – 4 places

March 6th, 7th, 8th 9th – Flax processing, linen spinning and creative weaving course – full

Please use the contact tab above to enquire about course and accommodation availability if I don’t get back to you within a day or two please try again as sometimes the enquiries do not reach me. Thanks Susie.