Friday, September 15, 2023

This summer, inspired by her papermaking studies, Jen Miller, a 2nd year MFA candidate, grew flax in her back yard. As part of the process, she reached out to local and national experts in flax and its uses, and learned that there’s a history of flax production in the Czech and Slovak community in Cedar Rapids. Using the moon cycles as “a great way to mark time,” Jen hosted a full moon flax harvesting party earlier this fall with “a good number of friendly local UICB people who showed up to pick and bundle flax.” This fall, Jen is using the flax to make both paper and linen thread. With flax now her "favorite fiber," she’s excited to explore the history of its production and use near and far, with plans to apply for fellowships to study its history and modern-day production both here in Iowa and in Europe. In her experiments, Jen beautifully weaves together the threads of artistic practice, scientific and historical research, engagement with nature, and her relationships within the UICB community.