(Music by Animal Hospital)
For the better part of the last two years, I have been in and out of dozens of workshops, studio spaces, and machine rooms. I find myself drawn to the textures of industry and to the stories of craftspeople dedicated to revitalizing timeless trades.
I met Carolina Fontoura Alzaga while touring the workshop of reclaimed wood furniture manufacturer and Etsy seller, Croft House. Following an arrow scrawled in chalk, I found a tiny space wedged between the building’s outer wall and the back of a large spray booth. At first, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. The space was full of bicycle parts, the walls were covered in handwritten notes, and large metal things hung from chain motors hovered just below eye level.
Beneath it all was a small-framed person hunching over something on a table, with a bandana covering her face and a large welding mask on her head. The sound of air compressors and hammering coming from the building drowned out whatever introduction was made. Even after the helmet and bandana came off, it was difficult to know what was being said, though I did manage to get across the idea that I wanted to take some pictures. The woman that emerged from underneath the protective layers seemed more than happy to oblige.
Caro makes painstakingly intricate chandelier sculptures and lighting fixtures from bicycle parts that she salvages from scrap metal yards and bicycle shop dumpsters all around Los Angeles. In making this profile, I was struck by how her social and political consciousness are woven into her life and work.
How do you integrate your beliefs in what you make?
James Mann has been a director and cinematographer for 12 years. His recent work focuses on telling the stories of people who have revived craft heritage by putting a new twist on old materials and traditions. See more at Camera Experiment.
All Etsy videos are created under the Creative Commons license.
Please feel free to share!