Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Picture (and a few well-placed labels) is Worth...

When The Alice Board began planning to exhibit our collection of Japanese woodblock prints it became obvious that the room to transform into an exhibit space was the Weaving Room. This space has the best lighting to avoid damage to paper - fiber optic lighting. But first, everything had to be removed, walls needed painting, and windows had to be creatively covered to afford increased display area. With a capable and talented maintenance man like Steve Fessette everything is possible! Even to Steve, removal of the big Four-corner Post loom or "barn loom" from the Weaving Room seemed to be the element of the puzzle that would be the most challenging. The loom is a large piece, well-constructed, with tight mortise and tenon joints held together with wooden dowels, or pins.

The loom before dismantling...

The barn loom was made to be taken apart and moved occasionally. Intellectually, we could see it was possible to dismantle, move the loom, store it safely, and then put it all back together again after the exhibit. But none of us had ever tackled this puzzle before! If we took it apart, would we know how to put it together again... so many months later?

One Saturday in June we took on the project armed with labels, a camera, and four good brains! Stephanie Pfaff, Elizabeth Greeno, Steve Fessette and I carefully labeled every joint, took meticulous photographs, and slowly dismantled the loom.

A joins with A, B with B... and so on...

Since that day in June the thought of putting the barn loom back together again has preyed on my mind every now and again! With the weather quickly changing and the time to transform our exhibit space back into the Weaving Room upon us... well, today was the day! So Stephanie, Steve and I marched out to the loom and carried the pieces of the puzzle into the Weaving Room. The labels had stayed intact, and armed with the photographs of the dismantling process, we began to reassemble.

It's amazing how well equipped we were to complete the task! We had taken so much time in the process of taking the loom apart, that putting it back together was accomplished pretty quickly!

The loom among the Japanese prints... note that the windows are still covered.

The barn loom is back in its traditional home. Currently it is surrounded by Japanese prints, but will soon have its old mates back; spinning wheels, samplers and Federal settees... that is, until the NEXT exhibit transforms the Weaving Room, once again, into the Exhibit Space!


  1. Hi,
    I am so glad to see that the labels worked out o.k. Hope everyone is doing well!

  2. This was a great feat! Congratulations to you, Steve, Beth and Stephanie for the hard work it took to break down and reassemble this precious object.