Collections

Tools and Equipment

Textile | Construction | Farm | Other trades

Textile

Sewing | Weaving | Manual arts

As a result of the religious communities and their dedication to teaching the cultural arts, we have been able to preserve the current technology of sewing, weaving and the manual arts. They ensured transition in this field and maintained this artistic work.

Sewing

Regardless of its nature, sewing thread has, over the centuries, always been almost as necessary as bread and rice. And what about sewing? Since it came into existence, sewing has been an art that has provided the key to success.

Starting in 1680, a school that went by the name of the “Ouvroir de la Providence”, founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys, gave sewing lessons. Through this institution, the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame passed on the rudiments of women’s work to many young girls.

Click on an image to enlarge it and access the collection slideshow.

Darning egg

Darning egg
1994.1384

Sewing machine

Sewing machine
1997.98

Sewing machine

Sewing machine
1994.1388

Pin cushion

Pin cushion
Late 17th century
1994.1327.1

Weaving

Weaving dates back to the Neolithic period. According to anthropologists, weaving was invented in china, as a result of the fine fibres extracted from the cocoon of the silk worm. The first efforts to mechanize weaving were made in the 18th century in England.

During the time of the French Regime, under Colbert, weaving made its appearance with the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, who were committed to encouraging the birth of an industry and financing weaving schools. Depending on the time, weaving has experienced periods of lethargy and strong growth, finally declining during the era of mechanization.

Click on an image to enlarge it and access the collection slideshow.

Wool spool

Wool spool
1994.3767.1-10

Spool

Spool
1994.2923

Spindle

Spindle
1994.2454.15

Shuttle

Shuttle
Late 17th century
1994.2734.1

Spinning wheel

Spinning wheel
1994.569

Weaving tool

Weaving tool
1994.2453.10

Manual arts

Embroidery, lace making, and tapestry work are all part of a long tradition. As soon as a young girl could handle a needle, she learned the art of embroidery and explored the technique of needlepoint lace-making or bobbin lace-making. Manual arts were part of her daily life. With this art form it was possible to combine solidity, beauty and perfection. This is the secret behind the beautiful pieces of work that have travelled down through the centuries with a new look.

You must let your imagination guide you if you want to make unique pieces of work, while keeping in mind this quote from famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin: “Living art does not reproduce the past, but rather continues it.”

In many countries, manual arts serve as the source of symbolic language rather than decoration. The work indicates its owner’s social rank and is intended to bring her glory and happiness.

Click on an image to enlarge it and access the collection slideshow.

Ornate wool holder

Ornate wool holder
1994.49.1-2

Embroidery scissors

Embroidery scissors
1994.1389

Embroidery hoop

Embroidery hoop
Early 20th century
1994.2466.1-4

Embroidery scissors

Embroidery scissors
1996.22

Embroidery pattern

Embroidery pattern
1994.2563