Remember back in February when I posted about my great-great-grandmother’s incredible carpet? I have updates!
First, let me recap quickly: my mother’s father’s maternal grandmother, Ellen Beatty Scott, was a farm wife in rural Ontario (near Perth) who, it turns out, was — let’s say — a fairly accomplished spinner, dyer, and weaver.
She made a carpet for her home, which covered an entire arm of the L-shaped house. It measures 17′ by 18′ — if I put that into my little post-war house (and if there wasn’t a staircase in the middle) it would cover most of the footprint of the ground floor. She prepped, spun, dyed, and wove the yarn for the carpet herself.
I got interested in the carpet when I was at my grandmother’s in January, and started trying to piece together the story from the bits of information available from family members. (Granny has a piece of Ellen’s carpet hung on her wall, and I started asking about who made it, and how it came to be there.)
Well, last week I happened to have some vacation time that coincided with my parents’ trip to visit Granny, so I joined them. I suggested, somewhat offhand, that maybe we could drop in and visit the Perth Museum, where the carpet now resides. I knew it wasn’t currently being displayed, but I thought maybe they could share any background information they had about the carpet… Mom and Dad were very happy to stop in Perth, and we called ahead from our lunch stop to ask about the carpet. The woman on the phone said she’d see what she could do, but didn’t sound very convinced that she could do much in the couple of hours it would take us to get there.
We pulled into Perth, and headed into the (very lovely) museum to see what could be seen. The woman I’d spoken to on the phone took us into the gallery area… and there it was. The carpet!
Rolled up, it took up most of an 8′ table. We couldn’t unroll it completely — the gallery was not big enough, even if we’d had permission — but we got to have a good look at it.
It’s a funny thing — being handed white cotton conservator’s gloves to handle something that my grandmother, and even my aunt, remember walking on. On the other hand, that carpet is truly a work of art AND a historically significant artifact, so the gloves are perfectly appropriate. (They didn’t exactly have any gloves that fit Dad, so he stayed behind the camera while I handled the carpet.)
Between the three of us, we had 4 or 5 cameras (2 DSLRs, an iPhone with fancy lenses, an iPad, and an aging Blackberry — though the latter barely counts as a camera). The photos I’m showing here are from a combination of those cameras, and were taken by all three of us. We’ve put all of our photos together in a Flickr pool for ease of sharing.
I’m going to do another few posts to break this saga up:
- What we learned about the family history around the carpet
- What we learned about the construction of the carpet
- What we learned about Granny’s carpet remnant wall-hanging