Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 15 June 2018

Key Fob Classes

Hello again to one and all, we hope you have had a pleasant and productive week.

We at Carreducker are mad busy with the new school, getting all of our new classes off the ground.

This morning we went to Batchelors in Culford Mews, Dalston to try out our new press knives for the small leather goods classes we are running because next week we are doing a trial run with family and friends to get a handle on how long it takes regular punters to make the beautiful objects our clever tutor, Frankey, produces with a flourish in minutes (slight exaggeration!).

Hope you agree that it is beautiful.

The press knife worked beautifully and we now have handfuls of key fob blanks in orange and brown ready for class.

And here is the trusty press knife.

And just think - this could be you. Imagine the feeling of satisfaction as you open your front door and think, I made that!

The website is nearly ready too, so be patient and watch this space. We can't wait to welcome you onto one of new classes at our beautiful new school in Shoreditch

Until next week, happy shoemaking! And saddle stitching!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust

Welcome back good shoe folk and what a week this has been...the aprons have been thrown off, glad rags donned and we've been out and about celebrating longevity, tenacity and new generations.

Where and when? Well James and I were very proud to attend the annual Royal Warrant Holders Association luncheon this week where we met and saw the extraordinary work of this year's new Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust scholars including of course, Maud who is currently training with us.

I was a QEST Scholar in 1997. (Yes, I know I can't believe it was that long ago either!!!). The scholarship funded my shoe making apprenticeship and changed my life; and James and I have been proud to fly the flag for QEST, our craft and for training people in our craft from across the world ever since.

We've been proud to train QEST apprentice Alistair Raphael; and more recently scholars Frankey Pinnock and Maud van den Broecke.

A little background to QEST

QEST Chairman Nick Crean and Mark Henderson applauding the new scholars
QEST was established to help support craftspeople of all ages and from all backgrounds, at a critical point in their careers, to sustain traditional British craftsmanship. It is the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders and was established in 1990 to celebrate The Queen Mother's 90th birthday. Since it was founded it has awarded over £3.5 million to 442 craftspeople aged between 17 and 58 across 130 craft disciplines.

In May 2017 HRH The Prince of Wales became the charity's Patron and the Earl of Snowdon, Vice Patron. 

Maud receiving her scholarship

Maud chatting with Nick Crean and Mark Henderson 

A rightly proud Maud with her shoes in progress, past projects and her certificate

James and I were also honoured at the luncheon. I received the QEST Award for Excellence established by Thomas Fattorini ... a life-time achievement award for still being a practising craftsman and for our training programme.

With Mark and Nick at the celebrations

Receiving the QEST Award for Excellence from Tristram Hunt

One of my favourite pairs of shoes - French navy croc

Chatting with guests
The QEST Award for Excellence medal
So all in all a very proud week.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios

Now we're all set for a busy weekend with Open Studios, which got off to a great start last night.

The five styles that you can make on our new short shoe making courses;
and of course the beautiful hand stitched leather goods that you can make with us too!

From workshop to shoe shop and screening room

Friday, 1 June 2018

Open Studios and Makers' Drinks

Open Studios

It's that time of year again when we throw open the doors to visitors for Cockpit Arts' bi-annual Open Studios. Come for a nosy about and great shopping from wonderful designer makers in a vibrant venue. 

We'll be show casing our craft with a bespoke shoe display and the Design Museum film; 

signing up visitors to our new hand stitched leather goods courses 

Learn to saddle stitch a felt lined folio (the perfect size for an i-Pad or tablet), card case or key fob in supple Italian Tempesti leather

and short shoe making courses where you can learn to last and welt a choice of five different shoe styles in four different colours; 

The five styles you can make on the new 1 and 5 day shoe making courses: a plain black Derby, plain dark brown Oxford, tan full brogue Oxford, dark brown brogue Oxford and a burgundy brogue Derby

and showcasing our new School space in Shoreditch!

We'll be selling samples and end of lines at great prices and taking new orders; 

and promoting the MakeMore Festival in Victoria Park, London where we'll be demonstrating and running courses in the Yodomo dome at the end of the summer.

So do come by to say 'hello' here at Holborn next weekend 8 - 10 June; Friday evening 6-9pm; and Saturday and Sunday 11am - 6pm. 

London Makers' Drinks

Finally, if any of you are in London on Tuesday, 19 June and fancy getting out of the studio to hang out with a load of other makers talking craft (and who knows what else?!*) then get along to the Fitzroy Tavern from 7pm. A great idea organised by Mark Tallowin. The address is 16 Charlotte Street London W1T 2LY. ...hope to see you there.

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 25 May 2018

Afternoon Tea at Buckingham Palace

Welcome back good shoe folk and what a frantic few weeks its been. Relieved in the knowledge that the master is well and truly on the mend, I was able to swan off for a wonderful time spent following a very English tradition - afternoon tea. 

The fact that it was at Buckingham Palace only added to the delight! The celebrations were for HRH The Prince of Wales' patronage - he supports hundreds of charities - including QEST, the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association which, I am proud to say, supported me in my shoe making training many many years ago.

Looking across the pond to the gardens

Relieved to be let in!

Chic nails don't hide the working hands 

My partner in crime for the afternoon, designer goldsmith and silversmith, Wayne Meeten

As you can see many, many organisation were represented

Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex gave a charming, teasing speech about his father before being harassed by a bee!

There were some wonderful uniforms from around the Commonwealth -
Ghurkas, Mountees and my favourites, the Scots Guards

Never off duty, I couldn't help admiring their spats...buttoned and boned?

As it was the Duke and Duchess of Sussex' first official engagement you can see how excited the crowd were to see them in person. 

I had no hope of seeing them, but Wayne was tall enough to take these lovely photos for me

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

One of my favourite scenes - the Yeomen of the Guard marching across the lawn

HRH The Prince of Wales meeting the crowds

Tributes were paid to those affected by the Manchester bombing

I loved the many gentlemen in top hats - a great look

 This was such a special occasion for us, so please forgive the lack of shoe news. Until next week, happy shoemaking!