I first met Alan when my friend Jack and I turned up at his house, on a late, dark summers evening back in 2014. We were out on a trip meeting and photographing a group of makers I had worked with on my MA Final Project, and in true 'me-style' and much to Jack's amusement, I hadn't booked anywhere for us to stay. Let's just say I'm a fan of winging it. "But there is this guy Al, he's a shoemaker and lives not far from here, he did say to drop in if I was in the area", "Sarah, it's 10 o'clock". Sure enough, if we didn't mind sleeping in an old caravan in the bottom of his garden, we had a place to stay.
Having chatted to Alan a few weeks previously on the phone for a good couple of hours, a welcomed break from my then university studies, I knew to expect a lively, almost eccentric (he'll hate me for saying this) character, to which, he did not disappoint. I will never forget the evening he welcomed us into his home, we shared a (few) bottle(s) of wine and we chatted for hours, Alan telling us stories and talking us through the years worth of work he has crammed into his house. It wasn't till Jack and I wearily opened the caravan door in the morning light that we realised we were surrounded by the beautiful views of the small, tucked away village of Aberarth, on the very tip of the breathtaking West Wales coastline.
I have known Alan for over four years now and each time we meet, I discover something new about him, this guy is not short of stories. I've learnt, I've laughed, I've listened and I've agreed (to disagree) and best of all we've become mates, which is why I am so excited to be able to share with you an exhibition of Alan's life, work and career. I hope you can join us to see it!