#OntarioScienceCentre, #Toronto, #Ontario, #JacquardLoom, HansBaer, #JohnCampbell, #Canada’sSesquicentennial, #Canada150
Toronto, Sep 3 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Science Centre (OSC) is weaving its way into history by creating a Canada 150 coverlet on our 19th-Century Jacquard Loom to celebrate Canada’s 150th Sesquicentennial, said Hans Baer, a volunteer weaver at the OSC and the driving force behind this project working at the Jacquard Loom.
Displaying the coverlet that was last woven in about 1880 by professional weaver John Campbell, reportedly the former owner of the Jacquard Loom back in the 1800s, Baer said he felt proud to weave it again in celebration of Canada’s Sesquicentennial.
John Campbell's Jacquard Looms is using perforated cards fastened together to control the movements of the machine. The early example of the binary coding fascinated Baer – a retired IBM Computer Engineer -- to undertake the weaving project on the loom.
The loom, which is working with punch cards, has been in the OSC ever since the opening of OSC in 1969.
Out of the 4 patterns used by John Campbell in the 1800s only card decks for two of the patterns came with the loom. These two patterns -- Stars & Roses, and the Garland -- have been woven at the OSC for the past 50 years.
After learning that John Campbell coverlet collection stored in Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) included the two missing patterns, Baer along with Elizabeth Evans, the fellow weaver and Shauna Cook, the Science Centre’s Volunteer Coordinator got special access in January 2016 to see these two coverlets, with patterns called Single Rose and Tulip.
With a dream to recreate these patterns, Baer took hundreds of detailed photos of the ROM’s Single Rose pattern coverlet and was able to determine where each point went and began to punch the cards.
He explained that each card on an average has 150 holes, the total pattern approximately 28, 000 holes in 192 unique cards.. Punching holes into the cards was both time consuming and labour intensive and Baer said he could just work on it for an hour a day and was able to get 5 cards punched in a day. From March to October of 2016 Baer and the small team of volunteers were able to punch all the cards.
In June of 2017 the volunteer team started to weave the single rose pattern on the Jacquard Loom for the first time since more than 130 years.
The final measurements of a coverlet are approximately 3x3 meters, twice the width of but the loom. So a total of 6 meteres of the Single Rose pattern had to be woven. This was then cut into two halves and will now have to be stitched together at the centre to make it wide enough.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary special cards were designed by Baer to weave Canada 150 in the border of the coverlet to to honour Canada’s Sesquicentennial.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)