My Bones Are Woven

What inspires someone to start on a dramatically new venture in their eighties when most of their contemporaries are putting their feet up? Iconic British Artist Ann Sutton won world acclaim as a weaver and industrial textile designer. But, aged 78, she gave up her looms and dedicated herself instead to pushing the boundaries of fine art.

In her ‘laboratory’ of a studio she works alongside her assistant Ruth to turn her endless ideas into radical creations. She is a magnet for artistic collaborators who enjoy her energy and wry humour.

Suddenly Ann’s world changes as curators from two of Britain’s biggest art institutions – The Tate and V&A - start knocking on her door. Ann defies definition but sees how the rules and structures of weaving are informing her new styles of art.

As Ruth prepares Ann’s work for the Tate she is also finalising her own packing to retire to Cornwall. Ann, now 86, deals with Ruth’s teary farewell in the only way she can. She is back in the studio creating what she feels is her best work yet.

Ann continues to squeeze every last ounce out of life and leaves us all wondering, should we be doing the same?

  • Jane Mote
  • Joshua Kershaw
  • Jane Mote
  • Ann Sutton
    Key Cast
  • Ruth McCorquodale
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Human Interest, Art
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 13 minutes 13 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 12, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    120,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Chichester International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    August 16, 2022
    UK and World Premiere
  • Screenplay Festival
    Lerwick, Shetland
    United Kingdom
    October 31, 2022
Director Biography - Jane Mote, Joshua Kershaw

Jane Mote, is a seasoned storyteller who has created audio documentaries at the BBC, led BBC London, became a commissioner and Executive Producer for 100s of hours of TV and feature-length documentaries. As Editorial Consultant for The Whicker’s documentary funding foundation she supports and trains first time Directors worldwide but has never been Director of her own feature documentary. Jane provides story-direction and extra camera firepower when needed on this film.

She is also the producer for this project. She has produced countless documentaries formerly as head of Al Gore’s documentary channel Current TV and provided production support for film-makers such as Caroline Kamya (Imani), Vincent Du (Smog Town), Adam Smith (Americaville) and Sascha Shoebel (Mirror, Mirror On the Wall) and is supporting Baby Ruth Villarama (Breaking News) and others on upcoming documentary projects.

Joshua Kershaw is a videographer who started professional life making music videos for YouTube and is now directing and creating short form video content for a variety of commercial customers including Pallant House Art Gallery.

He is also working on passion projects. He is the filming and editing genius of the duo. He has also composed his own music for some of the scenes. This is his debut documentary.

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Director Statement

Anyone who gets to know Ann Sutton wants more of her. Her joy for generating and realising new boundary-pushing ideas is infectious. She doesn’t do ‘art-speak’ but loves the words of Pablo Picasso ‘I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.’ We got to know her when making a film about how she started the world’s first walking Art Gallery Trail.

Her energetic life force was immediately apparent and her life story incredible. Through her we gain valuable insight about the process of creativity and resilience. Whilst her art is bold, radical and inspiring this is not a biopic of an artist but rather about the thirst for co-creativity and an exploration of how age is not a barrier for creative excellence. Quite the opposite. Ann may have less physical energy, but she never stops looking forward and coming up with new ideas and collaborations. She sees constraints as opportunities for uncovering fresh ways to do things.

We want to challenge a world where older people write themselves off or are blanked by society. As a directing duo we are both seeking answers to similar questions – one director is a middle-aged woman wondering if she’s reached the peak of her creative best and facing health issues that make her acutely aware of her age; the other a young videographer and you-tuber who doesn’t understand why his age is seen as a barrier to being taken seriously.

Ann’s life demonstrates the challenges of being given rightful recognition as a professional woman. As the wife of the famous furniture maker John Makepeace she was relegated to being behind the scenes despite being a major generator of ideas and inspirations for his work. She left their marriage (and 76-room mansion) aged 43 with nothing and set about rebuilding a dilapidated co-op shop along with her life to become a sustainable, independent woman. Yet, despite working with the best textile artists world (including Issey Miyake), she has never had the recognition of male contemporaries. Now, having started all over again as a fine artist, she is finally in demand and is being unearthed as a hidden gem.

We want to create the essence of what is Ann and bottle it up for viewers. She is a tonic to whoever meets her and through this film we want people to be inspired to believe they can do more. When most of us would give up she pushes forward. What is it that gives her this momentum? And how can we all learn from it?