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Charlie Chaplin's dancing shoes

Lonaconing Silk Mill.

This mill, located at the western tip of Maryland, processed raw silk from China and Japan from 1907 until it closed without warning or notice, in June, 1957. (During WWII, it spun rayon some of which was used for ally parachutes.)

The building is just as it was the day it closed, without restoration. The rows upon rows of "spinning" machines, some made of wood as well as metal, remain. Apparently, small ceramic guides were used to move strands of silk onto rollers.

The day I photographed the mill, the sunlight (the only source of light in the building) streamed through a partially broken window highlighting these ceramic guides. They reminded me of the scene in Charlie Chaplin's movie when he plays with the shoes, making them "dance" on the table.

I used a pinhole camera process to create this image, trying to capture the genre of the old movie and the spirit of the thread dancing from spool to roller.

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Charlie Chaplin's dancing shoes