Exhibitions, Experiments and A Ghost Story!

Dear friends, valued customers, colleagues in the textile-industry,
Less than 3 weeks before the 25th Open Day and Yard – Fest, I thought it is appropriate to up-date you on the state of affairs here at Flax – Mill.
We will send a “Last Minute News” bulletin out in about 1 1/2 weeks but some things should be noted right now. All decent news, may I say:
Very good exhibition in Upperlands.
I had the pleasure to be invited to the opening of a small (maybe too small) but excellent exhibition about the work of Ireland’s oldest linen – mill.
Wm Clarks & Son are showing the interested visitor a good  selection of what they are manufacturing. Unusual and very thoughtfull in these days of “loft studios”, “creative centres” and galleries to actually present what a factory does!
That’s what textile – makers are about and Clark’s creative director Duncan Neil, who put the exhibits together has put the emphasis on products.
You will find anything from Clarks new bespoke “Earthed” fabric to linen woven here at the Flax – Mill and finished traditionally (bleeched, dyed, mangeled, beetled….) by Clarks. Also shown are some finished pieces made by ourselves and by  master crafters such as Deborah Toner, Jill Gourney and others.
A great attempt to bring those who actually make things back into the public’s focus, I would recommend a visit to the Flax Coffee Shop in Upperlands very much. The little cafe/visitors centre is right opposite the entrance to the mill and beside the beetling plant. They are open Tues. to Sat. and alongside the exhibits I strongly recommend the espresso there (10 out of 10).
Linen from Organic Flax sold out but a little bit of good news!
Our “experiment” with cloth we wove using yarn (60s lea) which was spun from GOTS certified flax (grown in Holland) turned into more than a success, the cloth  sold out to the last inch in less than two weeks! We gathered up all the left-over yarn and have made – last run of weaving before the Open Day – just 100 metres of the 120 g / square metre fabric.  Needles to tell you it won’t see the week after our Open Day – let us know NOW if you want any. The growers of the flax have made it very clear that there won’t be any until next summer – a good attitude I think, you just can’t rush nature and the product is so superb that the wait is well worth it.
I can aslo give a way a little “secret”: Maria Cardenas, master – tailor from Colombia with a base in Co. Down has purchased some of the wonderful cloth. She will be at our Open Day, certainly prepared to take orders for garments.
Preparations for Sept. 8th are turning “hot” from now on!
“All hands on” is a mild way of putting the goings – on at the mill from now on.
Bookings are still coming thick but we will put the “cap on” very shortly. The media have taken our press – releases very well and on the day, we will be live guests at BBC Radio Ulster. Also, German radio will be here to report.
I would urge anyone who wants to book extra guests, especially for the evening, to do it now!!!
Looking forward to putting my arms around you shortly,
love over gold
As an attachment to this, there’s an incredible story Hermann wrote (no, he says, he only put it to paper). If you have this, you are amongst a lucky few in the world only, who he is wanting to send this to!!
After you read it, you may pass it to one or two people as nice as yourself!
The story is called “Ireland’s most famous ghost”

Ireland’s most famous ghost

Long time ago a woman – Jane Ross was her name according to the records – watched a fiddle – player in Limavady. He was blind and played a melody she loved. She sent it to the new world and called it “the Limavady Air”.

Across the ocean where many emigrants eased their lonely hearts with music from the home words were written to fit the tune – “Danny Boy” was born. It traveled the world, became (and remains to this day) the most sung Irish song – one of the most loved ones too.

The origin of the piece in Limavady should not surprise – the area has been one of good music for centuries. The making and playing of harps, fiddles, bodhrans, the writing of lyrics and melodies have a rich and lively tradition along the river Roe – right into the now.

A short while ago, Joe Kelly walked the streets of Limavady. It was a grey, dark, ghostly morning. He is a composer, has been creating both melodies and lyrics for many years. The eerie feeling surrounding him, his imagination rambled back in time. He saw Danny Boy’s ghost returning, his lover rising from her grave, called by “the pipes, the pipes”.

Joe took the pen – the words came easy. He put a tune to it – flowing like the Roe:

“Danny Boy’s Ghost” was born.

Several singers tried to put their stamp-mark to the piece; it didn’t seem to go far. What was missing? “Maybe it has to travel like the Limavady Air” said a friend. They sent it on the journey across two oceans – a different route though. It landed in Berlin at the doorstep of one of the city’s most profiled artists.

Isabel Neuenfeldt loved the piece like Jane Ross had loved the Limavady Air. She knew the setting – had performed in the Roe Valley last year.

Her only concert in Ireland ever had created a deep sense of place, a longing to return. She will – for the 25th Yard Fest at the old Flax Mill in Derrylane – “Danny Boy’s Ghost” in her baggage.

A new found friend will be waiting for her – one who carries on the good old tradition today: 16 year old harpist Dearbhla.

Their performance on the small stage under the oak – trees behind the mill is going to be one of the wonderful pieces which make up the mosaic of the home – land of the “Limavady Air”.

I didn’t write this story – just brought it to paper. The place – the annual gathering – the people there and the ghosts of those from the past are the authors.

Hermann Glaser – Baur

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