What is Point Paper?
Before the advent of computer aided design (CAD), drawings of woven textile patterns were translated by craftsmen onto special graph paper called point papers. It was these detailed point paper drawings that were then read by textile technicians who cut the weaving instruction cards that were placed onto the weaving looms.
To allow the Card Cutters to clearly see colour changes and tiny details of small patterns, the Point paper designs were much bigger than the finished textile pattern showing at least one repeat or weave unit of the fabric to be woven. The colours in the point paper designs weren't necessarily the real colours for the finished weave, they were a code that told the Card Cutter what order the threads would pass through the loom. Although at the time these bright colours used were to help see the differences in the intricate designs under the murky light of the mill, these rediscovered archives nowadays are in themselves beautiful works of archive art.
In 1804 in Lyons, France, master weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard revolutionised the speed of the previously slow weaving process. Jacquard invented a weaving machine adaption which was controlled by a continuous chain of punched cards created from point papers. These cards carried the ‘binary weave codes’ that the loom used to form the patterns in to fabrics of all varieties.
The Point Paper Art Company utilises a textile archive, collected over the last 35 years by fabric weaver Richard M R Smith, bringing art from textile history in the form of wall art and gift items to everyone.
Richard's family company, E&S Smith Ltd, manufactured and traded in the heart of the Yorkshire weaving industry in Bradford between 1935 and 2005. The mill acted as a contract weaver of Jacquard furnishing fabrics for decorative furnishing companies, hotel groups and cruise liners.
Over the years, Richard has collected together an extensive archive of Jacquard and Dobby designs along with their technical data, from both E & S Smith Ltd and a number of historical mills in the UK and Europe.
With designs dating from the 1880s to the 1980s, as well as making them accessible via the Point Paper art company, Richard also offers access to these uniquely historical records to editors, fashion and home interior designers as well as fabric and wall covering manufacturers to take inspiration from or undertake the recreation of designs not seen for many years.
Images of E&S Smith Ltd, Stadium Mills, Odsall, Bradford