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A Weaver’s Workshop by Cornelis Gerritsz Decker

Posted by on April 6, 2016

A Weaver's Workshop_Cornelis Gerritsz Decker(1615-1678)_Cornelis Gerritsz Decker (1615-1678)

Detail: broom, pump, bucket, carrots, cabinet, birdcage, bench, spinning wheel, bowl, loom, weaver, yarn swift, brush, window, candle box

6 Responses to A Weaver’s Workshop by Cornelis Gerritsz Decker

  1. Amy Liebert

    I’m interested in the hatch near the door. Indoor window? cabinet set into the wall?

  2. Morgan Gardner

    Is that a birdcage hanging from the ceiling? Did the bird serve any function other than as a pet?

    There is also at the far left some sort of press with a spout and a bucket below to catch the product. Anybody know what this is for? Is it related to the weaver’s work? There is a similar tub under the loom which seems to be full of liquid.

    • Julia Allison

      As to the tub under the loom, I wonder as well, but linen is stronger wet than dry and often was (is) kept damp while weaving especially the warp threads as they are under tension. It seems inconvenient to the weaver but maybe his helper is the one keeping the warp damp and so it is easy for them to get to. Still seems a bit out of the way.

  3. Julia Allison

    I don’t know how this picture got past me. I so wish we could see the wheel better (yes, I spin and weave and love their history). I think it must be a spindle wheel (great wheel though the early ones were smaller than we know them to become) and the lady is turning the wheel. But there is no source of fiber that one can see. That makes me wonder with the swift so close and the loom so close, if she is rather winding bobbins for the weaver from the swift using the wheel. I have seen dedicated wheels for just this job. It would make more sense with the lack of fiber to spin and the location of everything.

  4. Suzanne Cooke

    1. the ‘hatch’ is an ambry. An ambry (or almery, aumbry; from the medieval form almarium, cf. Lat. armārium, “a place for keeping tools”; The word also seems in medieval times to be used commonly for any closed cupboard and even bookcase. There is another, religious, definition that does not apply here. If you look at the shadows, it is mounted on the wall, not in it.

    2: The tub under the loom. From this I would presume that linen is being woven. To keep the threads from breaking, linen needs to be woven in a humid environment. I often kept a cold-water vaporizor going under my loom when I wove linen.

    3: The ‘press’: If you look closely this is made of brick. It is most likely to be a water pump. A linen weaving room accumulated dust very easily and in fact there is a disease called weaver’s lung, mostly seen among cotton weavers post industrialization. Sweeping the floor with a damp broom (notice the broom and small tub near the pump) kept the room damp, the dust down and the floor clean.

    It also possible, but not probable, that the tubs are associated with urine collection. Stale urine (ammonia) was a favored mordant for dyeing. It was especially important in the production of bright red wool from madder (I’ve done this – not just book research)

    4: Thje ‘spinning wheel’: This is actually a pirn winder. The pirn is the spool that fits into the weaver’s shuttle and travels the weft across the warp. Notice the swift beside the winding-boy. He is winding a measured length of weft from the swift onto pirns. Weaving goes very quickly with a professional weaver. The weaver would want to be able to forsee when his pirn would run out and have a new one ready to load.

    • Julia

      Suzanne, thank you for your detailed answers. Especially the reason the bucket of water was under the loom. I knew it would have to do linen because linen needs moisture, but how with it under the loom that happened, I didn’t get. But just as a humidifier is so simple. I don’t weave with linen so haven’t dealt with its moisture issues though know about them.

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