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A Year of Change

2023 has been a year of change for me. R&A Collaborations had been my life for 12 years and this year Arron and I decided to conclude that collaboration. As much as we loved it, it took us on many an adventure, it had never really paid us both enough over the years, so it was time to go in our own directions, all amicably though.

Although there was a flurry of work through the pandemic, mostly online, it quietened right down again afterwards. It did, though, provide new opportunities and connections.

The first R&A film of the year was working with Sarah Brown capturing her amazing glass cakes which she exhibited at Collect as part of the Collect Open. There are so many different processes involved in the making and her attention to detail was spot on!

Having announced we were finishing R&A in March we had a few people come out of the woodwork asking about films and some of those happened subsequently. That work would take us through until August and what a nice few to end on.

I turned filming Linda Bloomfield’s lichen sculptures in beautiful woods on the East Sussex / Kent border into an epic road trip across the south coast over to Devon for the Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey a few days later. I stopped off on the way visiting makers / friends / cousins, Gallery 57, old family haunts and a plane museum of course. I loved being on the road!

We also made a film for the Wondiferous Hannah Gibson and her sweet nothing glass sculptures. They’re made from all kinds of glass, windscreen glass, medical bottles, recycled glass artists work etc. It was great to be able to tell her story and we had such a ace time in her company.

The final film we would make was for Julie Fewster (aka Innerfinn) and her slip cast and smoke fired ceramic pieces. There was fire, so we were happy and again it was great company to be in. Julie like Hannah was part of our Craft Coffee gang during the pandemic so we knew them both well. I even got to try out Julie's campervan which was cool. I’ve added one to my Christmas list :)

The crossover period between R&A finishing and me starting my own venture Richard Foot Craft was a slightly longer overlap than I first thought, but it was all good. I’d made up my mind early on that I still wanted to do similar types of work but make it my own. The Craft Sector wasn’t going to get rid of me that easily! I’m too well invested!

It was a strange feeling as when we announced we were finishing R&A we received so many lovely messages, cards and comments etc, it really was heartwarming and was nice to hear we were well respected!

As I started to figure out what my next step was, I sought advice and feedback from a number of people including Melody Vaughan and was a coaching guinea pig for Hayley Banks. The advantage of having a great supportive network of people!

It felt like starting again, but not at the same time. I still had all the same contacts and connections I just had to go through the whole process of setting up everything again, website, email blah blah blah!

This just takes time to do and money to set up. I tried out the AI ChatGBT app to put all my words into, but it came out all over enthusiastically corporate American sounding, which is definitely not me! So I had to tone it right down to be a bit more British!

What I wanted to offer going forward was still short films, although shot using video rather than the R&A bursts of still images animated together, to reduce the time to process everything. I also wanted to offer shorter Story Reels for Instagram. These would be up to a minute long but instead of just pretty images and music they would have a voice to them. I tried a few out with friends Hanny Newton and Lucy Baxendale and they were well received. They took a lot less time to edit and were of a suitably high quality so I was happy with them.

As R&A finished my own work started to take over and I made a couple of films with weaver extraordinaire Laura Thomas. I’ve known Laura for many years, she was my sister's buddy when she did the Crafts Council Hothouse Scheme and we had made a film with her several years ago. I remember looking after her then toddler aged son whilst Arron was interviewing her. He’s just started secondary school! How time flies!

The first film was to show weaving onto driftwood as a workshop activity, a little different to the type of films I’ve made before. It was a good challenge. The second film was to show the various different weaving processes she’s used over the years and the stories behind it for a solo exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre.

This film came together really nicely and a group of us from Shrewsbury went up to the launch of the exhibition at Ruthin. It was great to see the film being screened in the gallery and the subsequent nice feedback. It was reassuring to get validation for it as it showed me I was going in the right direction.

The autumn show season started and I’ve been to quite a few over the past few months in various guises. Mostly as a visitor but I’ve also helped set up stands at a few.

At Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair I helped my friend Lucy out as well as do a bit of filming of both reels and a short film for the organisers Ann-Marie and Victoria. It was really good to be part of the show albeit tiring!

I also helped with the set up at Decorex at Olympia in London for Design Nation. I did this last year too and it was a bit of an eye opener. It’s such a big show and the amount of money spent on some of the stands must be huge! You have to wear steel toe capped boots and high viz and often dodge forklifts driving down the aisles!

More change is occurring and I’m delighted to announce I’ll be doing more of this kind of work next year as I shall be joining the Design Nation team working on supporting the exhibitions and shows program! I’m very excited to take on this role, be part of the DN team and utilise some of my other skills. Give me a drill and a spirit level!!

I do like a challenge and it’s good to mix it up from time to time. I shall see how the film making side goes. It's all gone a little slow as you makers can’t afford extra things like films or reels at the moment, but if and when you do, you know where I am.

So there’s been a fair few changes this year and whilst it's sad to finish something I’ve been doing for 12 years it’s also been exciting to start my own thing and push myself in other directions. We shall see what 2024 brings. All I know is that I’ll get to continue working with amazing Craft and lovely Makers and that’s all I need!

Until next time, mind how you go 🧡

30 Nov 23

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