Thursday, 7 March 2013

Finished, Polished and ready to Dance!

Most unusual request to date..

They started off as a pair of Italian patent navy blue size 6 boots.. One of my long standing customers, Peter Murray from the Isle of Sky wanted to order some dancing shoes and decided he would like to reuse the leather from his late wifes boots. Since this was such an unusual request and I am passionate about breathing life into old items I decided to say I would do my best. Taking into consideration he has size 13 feet and the boots were a dainty 6. Here is the story of what happened..

Words travel far..

Well its about time I made a reappearance .. Its easy to let time slide away and all sorts of exciting things are happening but before I update you let me introduce you to one of my customers Rachel Seabrook, Big Thankyou to you for painting such a nice picture..

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A day in the life of Ruth Emily Davey The Balvenie Young Master Of Craft 2011

Glandyfi Studio move

After a year in a Thomas Heatherwick Unit, Aberystwyth Art Centre I have moved the workshop to my home studio near Machynlleth. Hopefully to concentrate some time on converting the old Welsh stone buildings into studios among many other exciting projects.
See website for updated contact details

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

180 Pairs of slippers

I was commissioned by The Balvenie to design and make 180 pairs of slippers for invited guests to wear onboard the yacht, Cinderella IV in Cannes, France for the Balvenie Global Travel Retail event, Oct 12
I made the slippers in three sizes from a very soft sheepskin nappa leather in the Balvenie colours, deep red for the small, cream for the medium and a dark chocolate brown for the large.
The project proved to be quite a challenge from my customary working practise and would not have been possible without the help gratefully received from the little elves. .
full picture reel available  

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Balvenie Master of Craft awards 2012

I am delighted to be joining the judging panel for this years Balvenie master of craft competition along with TV presenter - Kevin McCloudDavid Stewart -Malt Master,  Anne Cuthbertson - editor of Sunday Telegraph Life, Nick Hand - Expert Crafts Photographer, Robin Wood - Chairman of the Heritage Crafts Association, Melina Keays - Entertaining Director of design magazine Wallpaper and Stephen Dixon Maker trustee of the Crafts Council.

 The Judges for The Balvenie Masters of Craft 2012

20120627 Copyright onEdition 2012©
Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition

(L to R) Stephen Dixon, Anne Cuthbertson, Nick Hand, Melina Keays, David Stewart, Ruth Emily Davey, and centre Kevin McCloud, The Balvenie Masters of Craft 2012 judging panel

The Balvenie Masters of Craft 2012, an awards programme which recognises, honours and celebrates highly skilled craftspeople around the UK.

For more information contact Fiona Boston: or call +44 (0) 20 7492 0977

It has been quite a year since winning the Balvenie Young Master of Craft 2011. I have received a huge amount of support and custom from all corners of Britain and beyond, many have come through the Balvenie directly, many through Robin Woods Blog last year such as a Cambridge priest and a couple who started their own business building tandem bikes.

Unbelievably, this time last year I was making my shoes from the confines of a 12 ft shed at the bottom of the garden, rapidly running out of shelf space. Now I have been able to spread my wings and make shoes in my workshop within Aberystwyth Arts centre's creative units, a bright spacious artist studio designed by Thomas Heatherwick. It has taken a while to settle in but I have come to love the strange juxtaposition of the old traditional craft in such a modern space. Surrounded by my collected shoemaking tools and machines I am constantly reminded and touched by all the support I have received over this time setting up as a shoemaker.

     Each machine has a legendary story attached; it has been such a journey finding the equipment in an era where Singer machines are collector’s items rather than an indispensible companion to the maker. Amazingly most of the few machines that I require as a shoemaker have somehow materialised all within 50 miles of my workshop. My 1950s Singer post machine which had almost resigned itself to an early retirement after being used to make shoes in Wales over 30 years ago is my closest companion, now firmly placed in its new home, kindly donated from Pam. We worked out my former shoemaking mentor trained on the very same machine all those years ago. And then there is the sole press which was made entirely from scratch by Pete the motorbike builder who spray painted it RED to match my name. The Merkle skiver is over 60 years old, which I traipsed over the other side of London to collect, now in its permanent position with special thanks to Dai Davies for fitting the oak tabletop for it to be positioned on. Then there is the incredible 1920’s combination finishing machine' which has had new life breathed into it after Ian and Angie from Betws donated it from the bottom of their garden. After 20 years of battling the Welsh elements in silent desolation this great cast iron sander now turns beautifully with the help of some WD40 and new motor fitted to turn the wheel and a lovely piece of oak shelf for the shoes fitted by Max.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Launch of the Creative Unit competition 2012

I am delighted to be joining this years judging panel for the launch of the 'year in a creative unit' competition 2012 held annually by Aberystwyth art Centre to win a year in one of the units designed by Thomas Heatherwick.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wrapping them up . .

I like to give each of my customers a unique tailored service. Each pair of shoes requires undivided care and attention to detail. In the finishing process I apply several layers of protective polish and carefully tie the laces into a perfect bow before carefully wrapping them in tissue paper to send them off to their new home with wishes of luck and the hope that they will see faraway places and do good things. Below is a pair of lime green, soft Italian leather brogues with rolled edges, fully lined in soft, black suede, finished with yellow stitching made for a very special customer who is walking through 5 different countries including Amsterdam and France.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Handmade Leather Wallets

Handmade and photographed by Ruth Emily Davey