Brief summary and big thanks!

Friends, valued customers, fellow crafters and textile-workers,

The “re-building” of Flax Mill back to working order is half-way finished, the last remaining visitors (about 6 now) are slowly getting ready for their journeys home….

We will be dealing with this year’s Open Day, Fest and Fashion Show in detail and reveiling our plans for the future of the event in a detailed newsletter towards the end of this year.
But after dozens upon dozens of mails (all saying thanks), many phone calls and (we love them especially) the first cards coming to the door, I think we need to say a few brief words – be sure to pass them on to people you know who have been visiting last Saturday (we don’t reach everybody) or stick the little mail on your internet – presence(s) if you like what you read.

The Thanks:
An event is only as good as the people at it – last Saturday’s very large numbers here were superb folks, interested, open – minded, kind and in powerful good spirit. We learned a lot from them – the “thanks” has to be redirected, it has to go to you!

Special Thanks has to go to our visiting and demonstrating crafters, that’s Louise, Will, Gloria, Charlie, Ruth, Helen, Frank, Heather, Franziska, Emma Lorna, Sarah, Christine, Hester, Rosemary.
Wherelse would you get a gathering like that?

Very Special Thanks to our incredible helpers, they worked to exhaust and made up for a (too)small number of helping hands in the fore-run. Too many to mention them all but all phantastic!!

The Catwalk: Superb and beyong compare on these shores! Many thanks to the models and special guest designers Aisling, Briege, Fiona, Toni, Florian and Lorna. Ruth Walker’s jewellery was magic, the “main” creation (the yellow dress at the end) was bought on the spot and the rest of the pieces is going to Germany to be shown shortly. Incredible!!

The Artists: Despite the rain the concert was top class, the audience as warm and knowledgeable as ever and the session superb! I went to be at 2 am(!!) while the fiddles, guitars, etc..wer still pumping it out.
Special thanks to: Isa, Bernard, Joe, Florian (sound) and to all our participants in Ireland’s best session beyond doubt.

What do we learn from that?
– We can do things if we “go for it” – difficult times or not!
– If you fight you can loose – if you don’t fight, you have already lost!

Finally a word for (to) those who didn’t make it, were worried, thought it wasn’t going to happen….:
Our thoughts were with you, and though we were sad not to be able to welcome you: Comne and see us soon, our door is open. Flax Mill dind’t and won’t shut – people who like good fabrics and want to mind like-minded folks are welcome here at any time.

Our favourite mails so far have been: A poem, written after the Open Day by a lady from Lisburn – anyone who would like to share it, let us know and we will.
And a little quote from a family who were first time here:

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open!”
(Frank Zappa)

Hoping to meet up soon,

Love over Gold


an unforgivable mistake has crept into this mail: Under “The Artists” special thanks has of course to go to Aoibheann and family who started the gig in their own uncomparable way.

This mistake is particularly “touchy” (it was just forgotten and because we are so busy, no decent proof reading was done) because Hermann argued “blue murder” to have Aoibheann on stage, he is convinced she is the best fiddle-player in the world. Judgeing by her performance, he was proven right one more time again.

Maybe you’ll pass this on to the same people you passed the mail on?

Thank you and best regards


the mails of thanks are still coming – we try to answer them all with this bit of writing. Several (4 to be exact) were about how we manage to be so healthy, not afraid of illness etc., one visitor asked us about “the recipe” for our normality.
We have a principle never to do “sickness talk” or “virus talk” in any publications by Flax Mill. If you want to discuss this subject, you are welcome to visit us and do so.
Just one sentence at this point:
The fact that we aren’t ill, won’t be and won’t pass illness to our guests has deep reasons, the energies of this place and the surroundings have to with them, our “mental and physical immune systems” more so.
That goes for Hermann, myself, our kids and the team here. This has to do in a publication like this one.

Concert programme: Here Comes the Night!

In a year like this when many wheels seemed to turn from round to square and run (or not) accordingly, it takes large effort to put a memorable, a pleasing and a meaningful gig together. I think, we have managed despite the “square wheels”.

Judge for yourself:

– Isa’s back!

After last year’s incredible performance, we tried everything to get Berlin’s number 1 singer, accordionist and performer back to the Flax Mill. Joy was huge when the flight had been booked finally.

Her new programme is going to set our specially selected audience hopping- that’s our promise!

Isabel Neuenfeldt is bringing George, her accordion, many new songs, some of last year’s favourites, and most importantly maybe: She is delighted to be with us, “I can’t wait” was her comment on the phone last week.

– Bernard S. Davis (poetry) is returning!

The Birmingham based poet and photographer is no stranger to Flax Mill. He is going to perform a coup-le of poems you haven’t heard before – performance and poetry blends in a unique manner with Bernard.

Now look at this one:

He has been a guest and excellent contributor to our session last year (indeed the year before as well). We were very taken by his songs – “Another day falling down just the same old way” (what a title!) which is based on observations of homeless people in Galway and Dublin blew our minds. “Asking doesn’t cost” we thought and here’s the result: Joe Mcgonigle live and on stage!

The singer/guitarist from County Derry, now residing “up on a mountain” in Donegal, is a real powerhouse when it comes to writing songs, his meaningful lyrics, earthy style of guitar-playing and distinct voice create an “Arlo Guthrie style” atmosphere at times. We are delighted to have Joe in concert for the first time.

Music starts at 8 pm (sharp) – before that (from 6pm): The best of dinner and buffet you have ever seen – our catering brigade calls it “power for your immune system when we all need it” this time.

Note: As the Open Day Yard Fest is a private event and the owner reserves the right to refuse admission at all times.

As always but this year (for space reasons) even more so an invitation is necessary!

The catwalk of the year


the preparations for our fashion show as part of the Open Day are going – despite many problems which had to be solved due to influences beyond our control – extremely well.

Please find the programme below – you have got the invitation for the day and the programme, a very special piece on the evening will follow within the next few days. Hermann is doing that one – no doubt it will be done in his very own style.

As I write this our friends in Dortmund are packing the legendary paintings by Ula Richter for the exhibition.

I hope you are getting as excited as we are – it won’t be long now..

Please remember to book your place at the Fashion Show – interest is big that we will not be able to allocate any places for not booked visitors!

Love over Gold


Hard copies of programme,invitation and Fashion Show flyer are available from now on.

Setting Trends, not following them
Flax Mill Fashion Show
Saturday, 12th September 2020
  • *The first ever all vegan Catwalk!
  • *Healthy clothes for a healthy future -all locally made!
  • *New creations in Irish Linen and other natural (plant – based) fibres by Marion Baur, Emma Poser, Aisling Hayden and several special guest designers.
  • *Jewellery by Ruth Walker.
  • *Real clothes shown by real people, our models:
    • Aisling Hayden (The Rock)
    • Fiona Baur (Limavady)
    • Briege Hayden (The Rock)
    • Tony Hiley (Lisburn)
  • Aisling and Briege
  • *Compere: Helen Keys (Moneymore)
  • *Live Music: Isabel Neuenfeldt (Berlin)

1 showing only at 1pm (sharp)
Booking absolutely essential (sorry, no exceptions)!

For booking and all other details give us a ring: 0044 (0)28 77742655 or send us a mail:

Note: As the whole Open Day, Flax Mill Fashion Show is a private event and the owner reserves the right to refuse admission at all times. Photographers and film-makers are welcome but must book their place!


The 27th Open Day, Yard Fest and Fashion Show on Saturday, September 12th 2020 here at Flax Mill are happening in full fleet and glory!!
There has been much speculation about the possibility to organise the event under the very difficult conditions….
I think we owe this to our phantastic visitors, Crafters, and artists, especially now!
Where there is a will there is a way!
We managed to keep Flax Mill open every day and working during this horrible time – now as the shadows are starting to fade, we need to look beyond them.
Can’t wait to put my arms around you – let us know AS SOON AS AT ALL POSSIBLE whether you will be here on September 12th!
Full programme (s) are going out in a week’s time.
Until then enjoy some photos taken by Sarah Jardine, of Spiderling Creations, who expertly guided a bunch of intrepid students in the art of felting at our recent and successful series of craft workshops. Such has been the interest in the workshops  that more are planned for the near future.
Love over Gold

Iconic German painter exhibiting in Ireland for the first time

News just came that one of the most profiled German artists, Ursula “Ula” Richter will exhibit some of her paintings in County Derry as part of the 27th Flax Mill Open Day this coming September.

The Dortmund – based painter just completed an extremely successful exhibition in Berlin which marked her 80th birthday. It was hosted by “Friends of Nature” (Naturfreunde) in their gallery and attracted visitors from many countries. Amongst them was Marion Baur, owner of and chief – weaver at Derrylane Flax Mill. The organiser of the annual Open Day and Yard Fest at County Derry’s only active linen weaving mill who has been following Ula Richter’s work for a long time, was fascinated:

“At 80 she is as productive and ingenious as ever – the story behind every painting is unique and her outspokenness against racism, war and injustice comes across on the canvas. We are absolutely delighted that this huge artist will exhibit at the Flax Mill.”

Ursula Richter was born in Göttingen, studied painting and Graphic Design in Hannover and in Berlin. Since the 1960s, she has been active in peace- and anti-fascist initiatives. She has been living and working in Dortmund since 1975. For her first ever exhibition in Ireland, Marion Baur has chosen 12 paintings which will be shown in the listed mill-cottage. The exhibition will be opened on Friday, September 11th 2020 at 6pm – one day before the 27th Flax Mill Open Day and Yard Fest.

Visitors from 12 countries have already booked their place for the exhibition – opening. Amongst them are Birmingham – based photographer Bernard S. Davis, German singer/accordionist Isabel Neuenfeldt and American dancer, Danielle Emblom, to mention but few. The guests – many of them artists from all corners of the globe – will be welcomed by the manager of Dungiven Library Sharon Riley.

Marion Baur is urging interested friends of the art who want to be at the opening to book now:
“We have limited space during the opening to 50 people – the cottage will make for a great atmosphere but at this early stage there are only 3 places left, so please book with us now.”

People who are interested in more detail or want to book their place at the exhibition – opening can contact Flax Mill by mail: , by phone: 0044 2877742655 or using the Contact Form.

Last Minute News:

– It is now certain that one of Ula Richter’s most famous paintings “Familie Schnoog” will be part of the exhibition in September. The painting depicts a family who were murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp. It has been shown in many places at the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz!
– We can also confirm that bronze – caster Charlie Mallon (Moneymore), owner of “Mallon’s Foundry” will bring some of his castings to be shown alongside Ula Richter’s paintings. Mallon’s work is known the world over, his statues are often based on Celtic legends.

We wish you the Golden Thread

Here at Flax Mill we have never been known to do or say many “seasonal” things. Except for our Winter-Solstice-Gathering on the 21st of December we don’t celebrate either.

I would like to send you a bit of music though – a chorus to be precise- which was written by our friend Colum Sands. I like it and find it suitable as my personal wish for you:

Wherever your shuttle may fly

I wish a long life to your loom

I wish you the golden thread

That’s spun from the sun and the moon

I hope we’ll meet up soon – here at the mill or at one of the interesting events to come. Below you’ll find a few dates which might fit well into your diary and a few bits of “insider” information to go with these dates.

Have a great season!

Love over Gold


– Iconic German painter exhibiting at Flax Mill during our 27th Open Day and Yard Fest on September 12th, 2020!

She is one of the “larger than life” figures on the huge German arts – scene. Painter/political activist ULA RICHTER from Dortmund just had a very successful exhibition in Berlin to mark her 80th birthday.

The member of “Tendenzen” (=tendencies), an influential group of artists will exhibit in Ireland for the first time, about 10 paintings will go on show in our mill-cottage, complemented by several of CHARLIE MALLON’s spectacular bronze castings.

We don’t know as yet whether Ula Richter will be present at the exhibition but we can reveal that the manager of Dungiven Library, SHARON RILEY, is going to welcome the invited guests from around a dozen countries at the exhibition launch (Vernissage).

It will take place on September 11th, the day before the Open Day.

We will soon publish details about the unique event – those of you who have already booked for the Open Day and Yard Fest can place a reservation for the exhibition launch (very limited space) from now on.


– Large step forward in flax processing!

It had to come: 2020 will see a proper flax-scutching turbine (or “Belgium mill”) back in operation after almost 40 years of “trout”. The good news for people who grow (or intend to do so) the raw material for linen have a lot to do with the tireless efforts by Helen Keys and Charlie Mallon. We’ll keep you up-dated.


– Pull up your socks!

Every year, a number of friends and customers ask us for knitted products, every year we have to decline most of their wishes. Knitting on a larger scale is not possible for us at the moment – weaving is extremely busy and uses up our time. This winter is experiencing a little exception; I have “given in” following a large number of requests and designed a very limited edition of socks which I knitted from pure wool spun and dyed by Christine Casey, our “commission spinner”. Heel- and toe – area is strengthened with Irish linen yarn.

Give us a shout for all details on this project.

Last minute news  – last minute news – last minute news

Helen’s back on the cat walk!

Our number one candidate for compering the trend-setting and at this stage almost “sold out” (!!)fashion show 2020, Helen Keys, has just given us a “yes”. The university lecturer from Moneymore who also grows flax was our favourite after her excellent performance in 2019.

Warming News for the Cooler Days!

Dear friends, valued customers, dear fellow crafters and textile-workers!

Our first “major” communication since the 26th Open Day and Yard Fest is going out to the “full list” and in several languages, please pass it to people who you think should have it. Don’t hesitate to use it on your own internet – page or presence in other media.

1.) The Open Day and Yard Fest – a short summary, thanks and an outlook

No doubt, this year’s Open Day saw the largest number of visitors ever, the atmosphere was extraordinary – the gathering seems to draw new fascinating crafters, artists and interested people every year. Over 400 (!!) e-mails of thanks and praise speak for themselves, so do the lovely letters and cards.
At this point I can’t but put things right:
Our thanks have to go to you, the visitors, stall-holding and demonstrating crafters, our orators, the best internationalist crowd of helpers in the world!
Where else would you find musicians, singers and poets like those who made the 26th Yard Fest? Thanks!
I am not going to pick out names – the spirit of working together in a great collective was the driving engine for:
-1.600 + cups of coffee and tea – a buffet for the evening guests which was beyond a shadow of doubt the most spectacular one ever!
– a great bar during the concert, serving 5 (!!) different types of German beer to mention but one highlight – well prepared and run talks (packed as usual) – a concert to remember for long – the totally overcrowded but equally fascinating fashion show……this list could be continued.Motivated by this experience (tired though) our group of “hard – core – helpers” sat down on Sunday and (after detailed discussions) announced:

The 27th Open Day and Yard Fest are going to happen! The date is September 12th, 2020.

Let’s go for it – you never celebrate alone!

2.) News from inside the mill.

*Silk screen printed handkerchiefs!
The gap between our plain and the hand-embroidered hankies is closed. One of our favourite textile-printers, Charlotte Krone (Market Harborough) has put a long-standing plan to practise, she printed a limited edition of white linen handkerchiefs with my design of the flax flower in blue. They are on the shelf now, needless to say we used our “finest” in more sense than one. Don’t forget: The emphasis is on LIMITED edition!
Charlotte Krone

*More limited still and of great historical value since a few days: Hand painted hand-woven Irish linen tea towels with the “Save the Shipyard” motive – pictures of it went around the world after I presented the workers in Belfast with one – on them. They make for a great memory of the victory by the workers of Harland and Wolff. The towel is our handwoven one, the great artist Fiona Mc Nally (Cookstown) did the painting.

*Straight off the looms: Old favourites and new spectacular fabrics! We are re-producing “Flax Field”. The very successful hand woven linen with 9(!!) colours in the weft (coincidentally but nicely one of Wm Clark’s “earthed” fabrics has the same name – they go well together) is getting a slightly different warp. Here’s the story:

When Hermann helped friends near Cookstown with their flax – pulling, he looked at the cloth after returning home. He thought it could do with a little more “faded blue” in it. Tribute to the re-emerged yarn – dyeing on these shores we could come up with Irish spun (Irish Flax) warp – yarn “bang on the tone” he had seen in Charlie Mallon’s field. As the “old Flax Field” the new cloth is available in a limited edition of 60 metres only and it won’t be here for too long!

On the “natural front”, all our customer’s favourites are back in the shelf: “Derrylane”, “Roe 2” and the like. Jewel in the crown amongst the “brown” fabrics is certainly my new hand-woven “black over natural” which we got beetle-finished by Clarks. Those of you who were at the Fashion Show will know immediately what we are talking about.

*Last but not least, after the good success of this year’s Fashion Show (some of the exhibited creations are away to Germany to be shown as we write this), I incorporated a few new designs into our small range: Some blouses, one type of waist coat and a couple of newly designed trousers. For those who had to wait for their orders (our button – whole – machine gave some trouble): All is back on track, next week will see the last of the ordered garments going out.

3.) What’s next?

Besides hopefully a visit of yours very soon we would like to draw your attention to two happenings: Winter Solstice Celebration at Flax Mill on Sat. 21. December! If you want to come, let us know very soon, we won’t have a huge crowd here but an “atmospheric one”.

Across two oceans: “Maikaefer flieg” a musical collage by Isabel Neuenfeldt and Antonjo Effenberger.

The very highly acclaimed piece about children under Nazi – fascism is being shown several times from now on. For details contact Isabel:

Love over Gold