News: Churchill Fellow wins prestigious shoe-making award
Published: 15 Mar 2019
Shoemaker and Churchill Fellow Ruth Emily Davey has won the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers’ Award for Innovation 2018. The award includes £5,000 of funding for her shoe-making business RED Shoes and mentoring by footwear industry experts.
The funding from the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers will enable Ruth to buy new machinery and take on new apprentices. Ruth said:
“I feel so honoured to have received this accolade. The award will make a tremendous difference to my business and hopefully help the craft of shoemaking to flourish and thrive.”
Ruth has been making shoes since 2005, when she was offered a one to one apprenticeship with an experienced shoemaker. In 2016, she opened her own shop in Machynlleth, Powys. The shoes she makes are handcrafted and tailored to each customer.
In 2016, Ruth travelled to Mexico and Japan to learn about how these countries are ensuring that craft skills, such as shoemaking, are passed down to future generations and not lost to the world.
Below: Ruth visits craftswoman Matea Contreras Sosa in Oaxaca, Mexico, during her Fellowship
Ruth believes that the experiences she gained on her travels enabled her to develop the innovative approach to her work that has been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers’ award. She said:
“As anyone who makes things by hand will know, it can be difficult to find time to realise new ideas or designs. Having the opportunity to travel through my Churchill Fellowship broadened my ideas for new designs and helped stimulate my creative awareness. It’s a tremendous honour to be recognised by the Worshipful Company for innovation.”
Top photo: Ruth receives her award from Col. Nigel Easton QVRM TD, Senior Warden of The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers