Green Light! Go!!

In 1999, we were trying to convince my mother to move from Florida and up to North Carolina where she’d be closer to us, and during one of her visits, we toured various small towns around the Charlotte area.  We took her to Gastonia, and while driving around looking at houses, we found ourselves in the west side of Gastonia and could see a large red  brick building off of Highway 74.  Sometime later, we came back to check out the building, the Loray Mill, also known as the Firestone Mill.  This was the building that sparked my interest in photography, architecture, mills and textile history.  I was even one of the lucky photographers that was given access to the building and explored several of its floors.

Loray Mill, Gastonia, NC, October 2006

For years, Preservation North Carolina, Gaston County Historic  Preservation Commission and various folks interested in saving the mill have been trying to get the funding to begin renovations, transforming the abandoned structure into a combination of lofts and shops while preserving its history. As of the end of June, 2012, they received the good news that the renovation had a green light to start (http://www.gastongazette.com/articles/mill-72596-federal-loray.html). I couldn’t believe what I was reading!  Oh yes, I was excited to hear of this   🙂

I’ll post more about the Loray Mill in a future blog, but I didn’t want to let this news linger for too long.  Ted and I will periodically head over to Gastonia to see and photograph the progress as we can; I, for one, am anxious to see the project  happen and this grand old mill restored.  Congratulations to Lucy, Preservation NC and all the others working behind the scenes to save this historical building.  I’m sure if mills could speak, it would thank you.

Textile Heritage Festival 2012

About two years ago, I discovered and exhibited my textile mill photography in Greenville, South Carolina at the Textile Heritage Festival. Though I wanted to go back and exhibit again, various factors got in my way and it didn’t happen.  This year, Ted and I are making plans to attend the festival but this time as visitors.  When exhibiting, your time is limited to check out the other displays and visit with others who share the love of textile history.  Also, Ted didn’t see anything, as he stayed with our table while I did a quick look around.  This time, we’ll both get to see it.

The festival is held at the Upcountry History Museum, and includes music, song and information about life in the mill villages.  The folks of the Textile Heritage Society put a lot of time and effort to keep alive the mill village culture for future generations, and have been a source for me in locating the mills for my photography.  For additional information or any questions you might have, you can find them on Facebook.  Can’t wait to be there!!

Cannon Mill

Kannapolis, NC. Built:1887, demolished in 2006.

Ted and I were visiting a friend of his in Kannapolis, NC, several years ago and knowing there was a textile mill in the area, I brought the camera. We followed sign after sign directing us to Cannon Mill, and after some searching, we found it. Or rather what was left of it.

Cannon Mill, August 2006,

These two pictures were all that we could take of what remained of the old mill.  The North Carolina Research Campus has since been built on the mill site.

Cannon Mill, Kannnapolis, NC, August 2006Tp

To see more of the Cannon Mill and its demolition, I heartily recommend visiting Chad Mitchell Photography.  Click on Gallery and scroll down to Fieldcrest Cannon.

The Why and How

My pursuit of photography never really took hold until I discovered that I had an interest in architecture.  Skyscrapers, houses, churches… buildings fascinate me, a combination of beauty and function.  Even while watching movie or TV shows, I’ll be checking out the scenery for buildings.

I photographed my first textile mill, the Firestone/Loray Mill, Gastonia, NC, in 2002 and my appreciation and attraction for these particular buildings grew from there.  I’ve been asked whether I have family connections to the textile industry and the answer would be no.  However when I walk inside a mill, re-purposed or not, I feel a connection to the past and the people who worked there.  By photographing these brick giants, I feel as if I’m preserving a part of their place in history.

Remains of the Rock Hill Bleachery

The camera I’ve been using is a Canon PowerShot S5 IS that we purchased approximately three years ago and I’ve enjoyed working with it.  It’s a sturdy camera with a comfortable weight and still takes great pictures for what I need from it.  The tripod we bought for it was an additional blessing.

At the present time, I’ve photographed thirty mills in the North and South Carolina areas with one in Georgia, and I’m always on the lookout for more. I’m learning how to expand myself as a photographer  and hope others discover the beauty I see when I look up at a mill tower or feel just how tall smokestacks are when you stand at their base and look up.

There is much history in these structures and I’m honored to photograph part of it.

 

Hello world!

Loray Mills EntranceIf you’ve come to this page, you’re obviously checking out to see who I am, so let me satisfy your curiosity.  To begin with, I’m on of those unusual critters referred to as a native Floridian.  I’ve lived on both the west and east coast of the Sunshine State and hadn’t considered living anywhere else until I met my significant other, Ted.  Currently, we’re living in Fort Mill, South Carolina, a nice little burg just south of the lovely city of Charlotte.

Ted and I knew each other in passing through various fandoms, starting with Elfquest, the SCA and then through anime.  We married in 1987.  We share the house with three cats, Harley, Gracie and Lucy, collectively referred to as ‘the girls’.

Professionally, I’ve been a counter attendant at a movie theater, a cashier for a grocery story, worked in data entry, generated assembly instructions for baby clothing at a textile mill, and worked as a Radiology transcriptionist for several hospitals.

My hobbies and interests tend to be varied.  I’ve been working in counted cross stitch since I was 14.  Writing is another pleasure of mine, starting with fan fiction and then moving on to my own original stories, and have been published in various zines, books and online.  During the past few years I’ve become intrigued by two things: architecture and photography, and that branched off to photographing old textile mills.  It’s because of this interest that I’ve put together this blog, to share my passion for these old buildings, hence the name Textile Corridor.  The area we live in was one of the hubs of the textile industry.

In the following posts, I’ll share the mills I’ve visited and photographed, as well as some of their history.  Have to warn you, though – I may divert to another subject that comes to mind like books, movies or cats so you have been warned…  Hope you enjoy!