The project originated in a linen fabric that my grandmother sent me from Ukraine, along with a letter of explanation on how this fabric was made. She describes there the picking of flax stalks, their treatment to make them more flexible, their decomposition into filaments, spinning, then finally weaving, the stages of her daily work at the age of 14 when her family was hit by famine in the 1930s. At home, the fabric remained in a drawer for a long time, I could not use it as a vulgar towel, even if it was its real function.
To tell its story, I destroyed it. I un-wove it. Then I brought a pile of messy yarn to my mother to untangle them, while asking her about what she knew about the flax growing her mother used to do. I filmed her damaged hands, stretching the threads to remove the traces of the weaving. Finally, I used the untwisted threads to create an animated film where they turn into flax plants again.
A collaboration with Marichka Marczyk, Ukrainian folklorist and singer, member of Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Toronto).
This project received financial support from the Longueuil Arts Council and CELAT.