Conversation with Alannah at Teran
Alannah Cooper is the editor of Teran (@teran_folk on Instagram or www.teran.community/ ) which is a creative platform showcasing artists and practitioners investigating relationships with craft, community and the land. It is the site of workshops, conversations and artwork that engage people with their own histories and identities.
As someone that lives rurally I felt a real affinity to Alannah’s mission, there is something very particular about the way artisans work in these communities which you can sense if you’ve ever had the privilege to see it with your own eyes. We talk about the meaning of tradition, the importance of craft and and how to protect heritage arts in the modern world.
IH: What is Teran Community and how did it come to be?
AC: Teran is a creative platform which investigates the everyday stories and traditions of rurally-based craftspeople across the UK. It is the site of workshops, conversations and artwork that engage people with their own local histories and identities.
IH: What does tradition mean to you?
AC: Tradition means continuation, traditions do not belong to the past but are passed repeatedly into the present. Traditions are the keeping alive of customs, acts and heritage, which may have been passed on for a very long time and although they may fundamentally remain the same, they often evolve and adapt through the passing of time.
IH: Why is Teran's message important?
AC: I hope that with Teran, I can emphasise that craft and tradition do not belong to the past. The website is not a historical archive, it’s an investigation of contemporary work, whether through fashion, art or craft, alongside my own exploration of the subject.
IH: What are the threats facing craft?
AC: Craft is often expensive to produce, which means that it is not always the first choice in the current fast-fashion, quick consumption climate, where people turn to the cheapest and easiest option. The Heritage Crafts Association has compiled an endangered crafts list, which highlights crafts that are close to extinction. This could be caused by many factors, such as ageing populations, rural out-migration or artisanal skills being replaced by modern machinery. By raising awareness of crafts and their fragile existence, the HCA hopes to grow interest in rare skills and encourage people to keep them alive.
"It is my hope with Teran that people see that rural and remote do not equate to bleak or isolated. "
IH: How can we protect tradition in this modern world?
AC: Figure out which traditions are important to you personally and keep them going. Traditions may take the form of national or local celebrations and customs, however traditions held within your own family or personal history are just as important to keep. It could be learning to make something that is local to you or supporting people by buying traditional products.
IH: Do you think people view rural communities differently now?
AC: It is my hope with Teran that people see that rural and remote do not equate to bleak or isolated. Rural places are often rich with creativity and craft, bolstered by the strength of being close-knit communities. Rural makers are often very resourceful and use the materials around them in innovative ways.
IH: What is next for Teran and where can we find you?
AC: This year, I have some new projects yet to be announced. I am looking forward to holding workshops in new locations, experimenting with new making processes and featuring more artists, designers and craftspeople.