Endings and beginnings and continuings
The Hedgespoken project began in 2015 when we bought a vintage Bedford lorry with a view to converting it into a home. Thinking more boldly, we began planning to turn the lorry into a travelling storytelling theatre *and* a home. Rima was pregnant with our eldest son and making her living as an artist (with a love of life on the road), and Tom - a writer and storyteller - had recently set up a community acupuncture project on Dartmoor. We had begun to explore combining our arts by travelling the country with a storytelling show and wanted to make a home for the stories. The journey from dreaming Hedgespoken to making it a reality has been told elsewhere, but we managed it through a crowdfunding campaign, something neither of us had ever attempted before. One of the perks in that crowdfunder was a book of ‘Sometimes a Wild God’, the poem of Tom's which had already attracted a following. Rima had a degree in Book Arts and Tom had taught himself to use a couple of obscure pieces of page layout software and so, with Rima's artwork and Tom's words, Hedgespoken Press was born.
Our first books were sent out from the yurt we were living in while work on the truck continued. Address labels were printed and stuck on by headtorch and it seemed like a miracle that we had - almost by accident - created a publishing house, albeit a tiny one.
Since then we have published more of Tom's writing as well as more artwork and writing by Rima, and we've published work by the likes of Jay Griffiths, Martin Shaw and Terri Windling, among others. In recent years, we added the African-Canadian poet Pauline Peters to our list and we've continued as we began, using workers' co-ops in England for our printing, and always using 100% recycled paper for our books, prints and stationery. A commitment to beauty and quality of design as well as a strong ethical drive has always stood at the heart of what we do.
We're both extremely proud of what we've done at Hedgespoken Press. Our production values and vision shine through in the beautiful books we've created and the ways in which our works have touched hearts and moved souls across the world. We've been helped along the way by many people, but particularly Milly Watson-Brown and Sarah Vigars in the Hedgespoken Press packing room, which grew from being a basket in the yurt to a room in our house and then the office in Totnes. Hedgespoken Press has been a tiny grassroots purveyor of starlight.
So, it's really hard in a whole host of ways to announce the winding-down of Hedgespoken Press. Since Rima and Tom separated in 2021, we've tried to keep the press going because we still share the vision we began with, but our energies are naturally focused these days on our own work and not our collaborations, and the press has never quite reached the stage of being self-supporting without our steering, not to mention the challenge of trying to stay afloat as a small arts business in the current climate. And so, we're letting it go.
We know that this will be a sadness for a lot of you and we share that sadness, but also hope that you can see some brightness on the horizon. Rest assured that Rima and Tom are on good terms for all the challenges and landscapes of co-parenting and being in the aftermath of their many years together.
Rima will continue to sell her artwork - both prints and original paintings - as well as her books and forthcoming projects via her new website - find this at https://rimastaines.com
Tom has launched a new press - Feral Angels Press - which will carry his already-published work from Hedgespoken Press as well as new titles - find this at https://feralangels.com
For those wondering about the travelling theatre aspect of Hedgespoken - that is resting for now, and hopefully in good time there will be news of the new shape of its renaissance.
To all of you who have bought our books and prints, who have supported us through the Friends scheme, who've shared our work in person or online, who've sent us messages of appreciation and support, who have seen to the heart of what we have tried to do - thank you so so much. You'll never know just how much it has meant to us.
Please follow and support Rima and Tom in the rebirths of their own adventures.
Most of all, though, keep nurturing the magic and the wonder and finding the slantwise beauty in the world in the cracks between This and That.
Over and out and onwards
Tom and Rima