Piper Shepard has had two visits to Wayne Mills in the past few weeks. On her first trip, she toured the entire facility, guided by president Martin Heilman and Quality Control person Mary Jane Myers.
It is an incredible place from start to finish. Martin and Mary Jane took me through the mill. We walked through the entire production of narrow woven fabrics. It is completely fascinating. The tools, technology, the depth of skill of each person working is inspiring.”
During Piper’s second visit, she was able to look through the history of the mill. Mary Jane is actually in the process of researching way back into the history of Wayne Mills and was kind enough to share amazing amounts of information she has gathered so far.
It’s overwhelming to be paired with such an amazing operation that has such a deep history.”
Where to start and what to draw upon is vast. There is so much content to work with. My initial questions seemed to connect to forms of commemoration.”
How do I pay homage or depict work, skill and history?”
How can I depict the the essence of place?”
Piper is taking in and analyzing the space, the architecture, how architectural the material process is, and how the material being made shapes the space. In working with some of these images you see, Piper has begun to generate some computer renderings – initial sketches of the architecture, space, the different operations of thread made into fabric. Piper is also interested in looking more generally at the architectural design and maps of some of the Philadelphia textile mills to generate more drawings and variations. She would also love to collect a list of mills and firms that are occupied and refurbished and to visit some of these sites, as well as, list firms that are no longer, mills/firms that are still in operation. A survey of these pieces of history will surely be illuminating, especially with some of the ideas Piper is considering.