American Textile Mills

I’m not sure where I first picked up on this article, but I’m completely in awe of Christopher Payne’s photography.

In 1776, America didn’t have a single textile mill. There were no spinning mules, no water-powered looms. There were only rumours of what such things might look like and a few non-functioning models built from those rumours. Nearly every American woman, except the wealthiest, knew how to spin her own yarn and weave her own cloth, even as across the Atlantic women were moving out of the home and into mill work as England — bent on protecting its export market by safeguarding its trade secrets — industrialized the manufacturing of textiles.


Christopher Payne has spent much of the past few years photographing more than 20 of the mills that make up what’s left of America’s textile industry.  Having developed his own technique to  “convey the significance of places and processes” the New York Times article Fruits of the Loom is fascinating, and has made me want to look into Mills in the UK. You simply forget their dominance now it is gone.

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Payne has a background in architecture, to which he attributes his interest in “how things are purposefully designed and constructed, and how they work.” In 2010, he came across a yarn mill in Maine and was transfixed by the way it seemed to exist both in the past and the present; it became the first textile mill he photographed.


How beautiful! The colours are simply heavenly, and I have found the whole article incredibly inspirational.

Happy stitching!


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