Fibre to Fabric

by Mourne Textiles in Newry, Newry, Mourne and Down, United Kingdom

Total raised £41,570

raised so far

567

supporters

Our mission is to restore vintage flax processing and spinning equipment, to create a sustainable circular supply chain, here in Ireland.

by Mourne Textiles in Newry, Newry, Mourne and Down, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 14th July 2023 we'd raised £38,794 with 533 supporters in 42 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Introducing the “Fibre to Fabric” Project - Restoring our textile heritage in Northern Ireland! 

 

Our project is aimed at not only preserving but bringing to life the exceptional heritage of the Northern Ireland textile industry. We believe in a green and sustainable future, where innovation meets tradition and tradition informs innovation. Join us in restoring vintage flax processing and spinning equipment and reviving the full natural fibre manufacturing process. Let's celebrate and learn from our shared history while creating a new industry that is sustainable, non-polluting, and fit for the 21st century.

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Our mission is to develop a new net-zero raw material supply chain for high-value manufacturing industries, rejuvenating equipment, and technology to deliver that based on our shared history. We plan to locate and learn from those who worked in the industry, celebrating and recording these skills. By logging and learning from our shared history, we can create new wealth and valuable skills for generations to come. Our project has tremendous historical value to Northern Ireland and the textile industry, and we need your support to make it a reality. Join us in celebrating our heritage and shaping a brighter future through the power of textiles, “Fibre to Fabric”. 

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Our Story

We discovered a complete set of industrial flax spinning machines while searching for vintage power looms in old derelict linen mills. Although old, these machines are still very relevant today for processing flax, hemp, and possibly nettle fibres once they have been harvested, scutched, and heckled. 

In collaboration with local farmers at Mallon Linen, we aim to promote sustainable fabric production here on the Island of Ireland, by creating a field-to-fabric circular supply chain. Our focus is on producing environmentally friendly fabrics grown and processed locally.         

To achieve this, we plan to restore the flax processing and spinning equipment, which is the missing piece in the supply chain. Our machines are from renowned textile brands, Mackies, and Combe Barbour, which are synonymous with the Northern Irish Linen Industry.        ­

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But we don't stop there! We have also obtained an industrial power loom to produce narrow-width linen and selvedge denim. This Atherton loom is a recognised textile brand that we are excited to restore to create sustainable Irish denim - truly promoting our heritage and craftsmanship. 

The second phase of our project is to train a new workforce to operate the restored machines and open up the 'Micro Spinning Mill' as a working museum. This will enable visitors to learn about the production techniques used in the past and see the production process first-hand. Our goal is to promote our Irish heritage, craftsmanship and develop a sustainable future for textile production in Ireland. 

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Our background 

Mourne Textiles was founded in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, County Down, by innovative Norwegian textile designer Gerd Hay-Edie. Today the studio is led by her grandson, Mario Sierra who continues to connect the designs of the past with modern influences, to create a collection of beautifully woven textiles. Mourne Textiles champions our Irish heritage, craftsmanship, and sustainability. Adapting environmentally friendly, and sustainable practices in the business wherever possible. Mourne Textiles strives toward the future while reflecting on the past, creating beautiful textiles here in Northern Ireland. There is a lovely quote from Gerd Hay-Edie that reflects our mission as well as her timeless ethos: “For me, out of the past flows the future”.

What will the money be spent on?

£10,000 - Atherton Brothers Shuttle loom – The first £10000 raised will be used to restore and bring the Vintage Atherton Brothers shuttle loom back into production allowing us to weave narrow-width linen and Selvedge Denim. These looms were once an important part of Northern Ireland’s textile landscape, used in many of the Linen mills located around Ireland, producing Irish linen which was then exported around the world.

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If we manage to achieve our first goal of £10000 we will then be able to continue our journey of restoring the linen processing and spinning machines starting with the linen Spinning frame and then moving along the production line as described below.

£20,000 – Mackies Wet Ring Spinner - the Mackies linen spinning frame will require a complete overhaul, bringing all of its intricate moving parts back to their original condition. Experienced Linen consultants will be employed to help with its restoration. We will need to replace the motor once used to bring power to this piece of vintage textile history and mend the trrough and heating element used to hold and heat the warm water that the linen roving's needed to pass through before they were stretched and twisted into fine linen threads.

Ready-spun linen roving’s will be sourced and used initially to bring the spinner into production. Skilled spinners who once used these machines will be consulted and their knowledge recorded for future spinning apprentices to learn from.

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£25,000 – Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour Roving Frame – This is probably the machine that requires the most attention, just some of the jobs which we will need to complete include – overhaul of electrics and replacement motor, sourcing and replacing a complete set of gills. Removing surface rust, and replacing missing parts with custom-engineered replacements.

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£20,000 – Mackies - Spreader  – An early stage of the flax processing, this machine is used to blend Hackled hanks of flax fibre and turn them into sliver, this machine can be used to blend small batches of fibre together, creating a sliver which is then fed into the doubler. Jobs which we will need to complete include – replacement of motor, leather belts, fitting and cleaning the gills. Removing surface rust, and replacing missing parts with custom-engineered sections.

£20,000 – Mackies - Doubler – This machine takes 6 slivers of different qualities, drawing the fibers out  and turning them into a finer quality sliver which is then processed through the First Stage machine. Jobs which we will need to complete to bring this machine back into production include – replacement of motor, leather belts, fitting and cleaning the gills. Removing surface rust, and replacing missing parts with custom-engineered sections.

£20,000 – Combe Barbour - First Stage – This stage of blending draws out the fibre further again in preparation for the roving frame. Jobs which we will need to complete to bring this machine back into production include – replacement of motor, leather belts, fitting and cleaning the gills. Removing surface rust, and replacing missing parts with custom-engineered sections.

£20,000 – Micro Hackler - This section of a much larger Hackler we hope to adapt so that we can hackle small batches of scutched fibre. Jobs which we will need to complete to bring this machine back into production include – replacement of motor, leather belts, removing surface rust, and replacing missing parts with custom-engineered sections.

£50,000+ - If we are fortunate to receive funding to cover the restoration of all of the machines then we can begin to look at the space where they are housed and ways that this could be improved to allow daily production, this would include heating of the space, humidifiers, fibre extraction fans, lighting, racking, warehouse layout /planning, insurance, rent, rates etc

£35,000+ - With sufficient finances we would like to create two part time jobs at the mill, potentially turning them into full time positions. Please look at the option of becoming a regular doner if you would like help create apprenticeship positions and help develop an apprenticeship program These apprentices will have the opportunity of learning from the experts we meet during our campaign, thus continuing the legacy of Irish spun linen.

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Call for Skills

Calling for skills - Spinners, Hecklers, Scutchers, Weavers, and everything in between!

As a part of this project, we are calling for all skilled workers, past and present who have experience working within the textile industry. We plan to locate and learn from those who worked in the industry, celebrating and recording these skills. By logging and learning from our shared history, we can create new wealth and valuable skills for generations to come. 

Share our campaign and help us find these skills and build a community.

If you are a skilled worker and wish to share your knowledge and experience, please sign up for our community here.

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Rewards

We've put together some exciting, exclusive rewards for our backers. Thank you so much for considering supporting our project - we are so grateful.

All rewards will be made to order, once our campaign is closed, we hope all our rewards will be sent out by September/October. ­­

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Ways to Support Us

We cannot do this alone - we need your support! Please help us spread the word and share our campaign on social media. Join us in creating a more sustainable future for the fabric industry in Ireland by backing our project today. Thank you for your support!

Follow our story on social media and keep up to date with our campaign on our Instagram @mournetextiles 

Our Project Supporters

We are grateful for Ulster University and The Arts and Humanities Research Council’s support, which helped to tell the story of our project. Together with researchers Alison Gault and Anna Duffy, Mourne Textiles is part of the “Restoration and Redesign: A Circular System Economy for a Coastal Community” [AH/Y000226/1] research project, we have been exploring the possibility of developing a local circular supply chain using the textile spinning equipment in the Mourne district of Northern Ireland.

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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£5 or more

Thank you message

You’ll receive a thank you email with a message of thanks from Mario and Karen at Mourne Textiles for your support

£10 or more

Thank you card

You’ll receive a card by post thanking you for your support

£20 or more

Thank you card and 200g of Herdmans linen

You’ll receive a yarn package of approximately 200g of linen spun by Herdmans before it closed its South African production facility in 1980.

£20 or more

Mourne Textiles 20% discount code

You’ll receive a 20% Discount code that can be used across Mourne Textiles Website for the month of June 2023. Select from our full range of products, if your chosen product is out of stock you will be able to pre-order using your discount code for delivery when back in stock. Contact our studio for estimated delivery dates.

£45 or more

500g Good flax tow fibre

500g Good flax tow fibre from locally grown flax - Good quality tow fibre suitable for hand spinning as well many other uses such as composites, upholstery and bedding. Grown on Mallon Farm, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Harvested by hand and water retted using river friendly methods. Broken and scutched in a 1940's Mackie's Scutching Turbine.

£45 or more

100g Hand hackled fine line fibre

100g Hand hackled fine line fibre from Locally Grown Flax - Mallon Linen This is the high quality long fine line fibre suitable for hand spinning. We're told it is beautiful to work with; soft, fine yet strong. Grown on Mallon Farm, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Harvested by hand and water retted using river friendly methods. Broken and scutched in a 1940's Mackie's Scutching Turbine. Hackled by hand.

£50 or more

Neck Warmer

Tweed Emphasize Neck Warmer with limited edition Fibre to Fabric label. Drawing inspiration from nature and woven on industrial shuttle looms almost a century old, our collection of luxury neck warmers are perfect for keeping you cosy during the winter months. Crafted from a sumptuous blend of Merino, Cashmere, and Silk. One size: D30cm x L130cm (circumference)

£50 or more

Workshop Zoom tour

Price per person. Join a 1 hour exclusive zoom workshop tour. Tours will take place in small groups of up to 4. We will take you through the various stages of the hand weaving process from winding cheeses, making a warp, winding bobbins and then hand weaving on one of our looms. You will be able to ask questions as we go.

£50 or more

Open day of flax in full bloom - Mallon Linen

Open day of flax in full bloom - Mallon Linen. Visit Mallon Farm at the end of July for a 2 hour guided tour of the farm and scutching mill. This is a unique opportunity to see the flax field in full bloom. A fantastic photo opportunity.

£50 or more

Flax Harvest Day - Experience - Mallon Linen

Flax Harvest Day - Experience - Mallon Linen - Join the Mallon Linen team at 10am for a tour of the farm. Charlie Mallon will demonstrate the technique of flax pulling before you join the harvesters for a morning of light but very enjoyable work. Learn about the history and process and experience first hand the connection that linen has to the land. The tour and flax pulling lesson will last for around 2 hours, Bring a packed lunch and suncream

£75 or more

Narrow Scarf

Tweed Emphasize Narrow Scarf with limited edition Fibre to Fabric label. Drawing inspiration from nature and woven on industrial shuttle looms almost a century old, our collection of luxury scarves are perfect for keeping you cosy during the winter months. Crafted from a sumptuous blend of Merino, Cashmere, and Silk.

£100 or more

Mourne Check - Furnishing Fabric 1 metre

Created by Gerd Hay-Edie and used by designer Robin Day for Hille in 1951, the Mourne Check was to become a signature fabric widely used for much of his furniture during his ten-year period designing for the brand. Today, the Mourne Check is woven from a durable linen and wool mix and is available in our original mid-century colour palette Fabric suitable for Upholstery Fabric width 140cm

£100 or more

A named supporter

Your name or your company name will be featured on a Crowdfunder Supporters list which will be included in our newsletter once the campaign has ended.

£110 or more

Mourne Classic Tweed - Curtain Fabric - 1 metre

The warp uses a mixture of different weight yarns unevenly threaded which gives a distinctive balance and texture to the material. Designer Gerd Hay-Edie likened the rhythm of the fabric and the oscillations in texture and tone to the continuously shifting position of the tide. Suitability – Curtains Fabric - Reversible with repeat Composition - 100% wool Curtain fabric – Average width 150cm

£150 or more

Personal tour of the mill

1hr Personal tour of the mill with Mario and Karen. We will take you through the various stages of the hand weaving process from winding cheeses, making a warp, winding bobbins and then hand weaving on one of our looms. You will be able to ask questions as we go.

£180 or more

Tweed Emphasize Sofa Throw

Tweed Emphasize Sofa Throw with limited edition Fibre to Fabric label. Our Tweed Emphasize fabric is an exquisite example of mid-century style. Uniquely crafted from 'wild', traditionally spun, Pure Wool Donegal yarn, creating a stunning, highly textured, dappled appearance. The Tweed Emphasize Blanket is a sumptuous piece that creates the perfect finishing touch to any interior. 125cm x 185cm - 100% Wool Purled Fringe

£500 or more

Your name engraved on a brass plaque.

Your name featured on a brass plaque attached to the Mackies Spinning Machine. You will be a part of the machine you have helped restore.

£500 or more

Introduction to weaving

Price per person. 1 day Workshop introduction to hand weaving on a traditional floor loom at Mourne Textiles - Group of 3. workshop dates 23rd September and 30th September, please specify your preferred date.

£1,500 or more

Introduction to weaving - 3day workshop

Price per person. 3 day Workshop introduction to weaving on a traditional Floor loom at Mourne Textiles - Group of 3 Workshop dates 6-8th October

£2,500 or more

Milano Rug 120cm x 185cm

The Milano Rug defines our mid-century design heritage. It is hand woven in our workshop using the highest quality yarns. We honour the same materials and techniques our founder, Gerd Hay-Edie, used over sixty years ago to produce this rug true to the original. It's combination of three yarn types create a unique surface texture: the linen warp adds strength, while woollen yarn and un-spun hand twisted fleece offer softness and warmth

£2,500 or more

Mourne Fleece Rug 120cm x 185cm

The Mourne Rug defines our mid-century design heritage. It is hand woven in our workshop using the highest quality yarns. We honour the same materials and techniques our founder, Gerd, used over sixty years ago to produce this rug true to the original. It's combination of three yarn types create a unique surface texture: the linen warp adds strength, while woollen yarn and un-spun hand twisted fleece offer softness and warmth.

£130 or more

Natural Dye Workshop

Come and join Kathryn Davey for a Hands-on workshop experimenting with simple & traditional natural dye techniques. Using materials readily available in our kitchens and outdoors, you will learn to create a soothing rainbow of beautiful natural colours & naturally dye a finished piece to take home. From this 4.5 hour workshop, you will learn the steps required to dye a variety of natural fibres. Workshop will take place on 23rd September

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