Flaxapalooza 2020
Strung Together
Makers Guild

Makers Guild of Maine

Our events stimulate all five senses.
Six if you include the sense of accomplishment.

Makers Guild
Makers Guild Event
Makers Guild Event Photo

Who we are:

The Makers Guild of Maine creates opportunities for people to come together to make beautiful and practical handcrafted items, traditional music and locally sourced food. Learning and sharing these skills reaches across generations and backgrounds and puts front and center the forgotten pleasure - and sense of accomplishment - that come with actually making things - whether it’s a new harmony, a gossamer soft shawl, a sturdy fishing line or a blueberry pie. When we create beautiful, lasting and bespoke things from materials at hand, we are providing a platform for our families and greater communities to live truly rich, healthy and meaningful lives. Our initiatives draw on and invigorate Maine’s heritage and foster entrepreneurial development while removing the social, economic and cultural barriers that often put these activities out of reach. We strive to connect Mainers with each other, and with the larger world.

Makers Guild Event Photo
Makers Guild Event Photo
Makers Guild Event Photo

What we do:

The Makers Guild of Maine develops, coordinates and promotes events that advocate for creativity and community with a close connection to the outdoors. Our events tie in perfectly to the contemporary ideas about slow-movements, about returning to pre-internet days when relationships took more time, when we valued individual artistic endeavors just for the sense of accomplishment, not money. Our events are an homage to Maine, life as it should be.

Events & Projects We Facilitate:

Flaxapalooza 2020!

What it is:

Everyone knows about blueberries, lobsters, and lighthouses but few know how two hundred years of working with FLAX—the plant that provides linen—has shaped our state’s history and culture in deep and unique ways.

Flax is an ancient, hardy, and versatile plant that thrives in Maine’s soil and climate. Its varied uses are not only an important part of our history but continue to serve us well today. Flax and other plant fibers provided canvas for sails, as well as all the cordage, nets, and fishing lines that are essential to a maritime economy. Farmers depended on it for sacking and twine. Logging created a constant demand for rope and shelters, and for military tents and uniforms. Mainers all needed clothes— from work shirts and aprons, to petticoats and lace trimmed wedding gowns. Moccasins and boots were sewn with strong linen thread. And flax oil—known as linseed— is still widely used as a waterproofing agent and preservative for wood, leather, and masonry; an important component of linoleum, paints, and varnishes; and nutritious oils for animals and humans alike. Flax was and remains the source of practical and decorative items for the home—bed sheets and quilts, linens for the table, rugs for the floor—and countless other items from cheesecloth and baskets to artists’ canvas.

While the story of Maine is undoubtedly that of seafarers and lobstermen, loggers and farmers, FLAXAPALOOZA 2020! will celebrate the people, skills, and communities that transformed flax and other plant fibers into the extraordinary range of goods that continue to enhance and facilitate the lives of many. We will also spotlight the Maine makers and entrepreneurs who are reviving the use of flax and other plant fibers in everything from sustainable farming practices to a fashion revolution.

Flaxapalooza 2020

Our 2020 Events

Immigrant Communities:

In honor of Flaxapalooza 2020, Makers Guild of Maine will host 5 special Wednesday evenings that will follow the same format as the others but with a performance component that highlights the distinctive skills and culture contributed to Maine by immigrant communities. We hope to include communities from Armenia, Finland, Scotland/Ireland, Canada/Franco-American and East Africa. These evenings are always free to the Public.

Fiber College of Maine:

Fiber College of Maine will adopt Flax as the theme for the September 9-13, 2020 gathering.

Special classes will include:

Bobbin Lace, Spinning and Weaving Flax, Knitting with Flax yarn, Natural Dyes on Linen and Slow Stitching.

Sarah Haskell will be offering For the Love of Linen From the practical to the poetic. Attendees will explore the mystique of linen through spinning, weaving dish towels, and using linen in a range of projects - from art pieces, to clothing and domestic goods.

Katharine Cobey, currently enjoying exhibit space at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and The Farnsworth Museum will be offering a five day master class entitled: A Celebration of Knitting Diagonal with Linen and other Bast Fiber Yarns. Attendees will learn Katharine’s signature trivia cast-on technique, lace and texture options to include in their own designs and discuss how linen and other bast fibers have innate qualities that can enhance a special project.

Banjo Making: more information to follow

Special lectures will include:

The Unbroken Thread: 200 Years of Spinning and Weaving in Maine
Three fiber artists will weave together stories and demonstrations on the “great wheel,” a large traditional spinning wheel, by Susanne Grosjean, an expert on early American spinning wheels. Susan Barrett Merrill, whose ancestors were Maine spinners and weavers from Bloomfield (now Skowhegan), will be presenting on the history of flax growing and spinning, a major industry in Maine in the early 19th century. She will spin flax into linen thread. Dr. Nancy Payne Alexander will bring a historian's eye to the long and continuous history of Maine women working with fiber to the present.

Lace Collections from selected Maine Historical Societies by Jill Horton

September 16, 2020

Martha Wilson, Kantele Players, Finnish Heritage performance, baking Nisu a cardamom spiced traditional coffee bread and a Heritage wheat weaving class; July

Sara Grey is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the old-time style. As well as singing and playing superbly Sara is a fine story-teller specialising in stories from northern New England where she grew up and learned many of her stories from her dad. Beanhole beans will be served and whittling spoons will be the craft.