Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Winners of the Balvenie Masters of Craft Awards - Leather

We returned from New York to some amazing news - we are finalists in the Balvenie Masters of Craft Awards!

With Mr Ducker lounging on a beach somewhere in Spain (no really he does take a holiday sometimes) I stepped up last night to receive the Masters of Craft in the Leather category. After a hard day at the workbench preparing shoes for a host of fittings next week, it was off with the dusty jeans and on with the vintage frocks for a night to remember!

Caption: As Nick Hand, craft photographer for the Balvenie noticed, many of us were unrecognisable out of our studios frocked, suited and booted.

The Balvenie Awards are a rare treat in any craftsman's life and we would like to thank them for launching these inspired awards. With the backing of the Sunday Telegraph, they aim to help to raise awareness - and we hope attract much more patronage - for the many highly skilled craftspeople building flourishing businesses across the UK.

And the Awards are a perfect match for Balvenie. Balvenie produce the finest whisky, are family owned, raise their own raw materials, train up their team over decades and as with craftsmen their products improve with age! A 21 year old malt was proof of that!!!

Caption: One of the highlights of the evening, nabbing Balvenie judge Mr Kevin McCloud for a photo! I couldn't help myself. We are such huge Grand Designs fans and his is such a familiar face that I am afraid I did that classic over-familiarity thing and treated him like an old friend...

Fortunately he is as charming, gentlemanly, enthusiastic and engaging in person as on the box and generously posed for a pic. It was good to hear too that he is a fan of Trickers' shoes, a brand close to my heart as their Northampton factory is where I first caught the shoemaking bug many, many moons ago.

Caption: Showing that he hasn't lost his craftsman's touch, Mr McCloud rolled up his sleeves to have a go at cooperage (building a barrel)!

All in all a fantastic night for carreducker and our beautifully crafted award now sits proudly in the studio at Gieves & Hawkes.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Schools out

Before we close the page on this year's course in New York we just wanted to show you the high standard of work that the students achieved. Now this is unusual, but we think that it is because each of the students on this year's course not only had some previous experience of shoemaking but a natural aptitude for working with their hands.

The results were impressive, as I am sure you will agree:

Lauren finishing her heels

Phillip's sole pattern

Tom's sole pattern and single iron waist detail

Natural heel edge - polish and a warm iron





Nearly there...

Tired but happy!