Bread has come full circle. Bread was homemade and kneaded by hand and then it was mass manufactured and perfected by machine. After a while we got bored with perfect shaped loaves, and demanded our bread to be beautiful and surprising again. Today in London, we make our own bread at home, or search for a unique, artisanal, one-of-a-kind loaf in a boutique bread shop.
‘Made by Hand’ is a common, and over-used terminology that needs to be looked at afresh and redefined. Machine manufacture has been around since the Industrial Revolution and serves to help us in nearly everything we do. Very little is made entirely by hand any more.
I believe ‘Made by Hands’ to be the most accurate description for the Penelope Chilvers methods of making shoes. It is the distinctive core and soul of our brand. ‘Made by Hands’ reminds us that each shoe or boot is created by the skilled expertise of a craftsman’s hands. The machines that we use are only as good as the hands that use them. If you look closely at our work you will find human character in the detail of the stitch, the cut of the leather and the subtle imperfections, in a way that modern technology will find hard to replicate!
I have been fortunate to meet wonderful people with rare skills; some of which are dying away. I have learnt from the best and worked closely with local artisans that have taught me my trade. Each product is crafted by hand, using traditional methods, ensuring the durability of each shoe made for my label.
Traditional techniques in leather are nurtured and continue to inspire. It’s about going with the grain and not against it, and when it comes to leather, I like to enhance its natural texture, and imperfections – nothing is uniform – each piece is unique and only improves with age.