Moulin Simard

Francois-Xavier Simard is proud to be the owner of one of the last carding mills still in use in Quebec. "I don't have regular customers," says the carder, "but weavers from Montreal and elsewhere sometimes come." The income from this work amounts to scarcely more than a few hundred dollars per year. He preserves his old mill more for posterity than for commercial gain.


Carding Machine

 Francois-Xavier at the Shredder

Simard is also a carpenter. He maintains the old building and does some woodworking. With great pride, he welcomes visitors and explains the function of the mill: "Before carding, the wool is put through a shredder to remove impurities. From there, it is fed into the carding machine whose rollers first separate the fibers into strips and then render them ready to spin."

In spite of its appearance the machine is very fragile and requires continual adjustment of its many gears. Replacement parts, almost impossible to find, have to be made to order, rendering them astronomically expensive. The rollers are carefully cleaned after each use, requiring hours of patient and meticulous work. In spite of everything, the owner continues to voluntarily card wool for those who care about the traditional crafts.

Translated and adapted by Colin Cabot for SPOOM 2001.