My name is Ruth Emily Davey. I am a Shoemaker based in Machynlleth, Wales and make shoes for people from all walks of life from all over the world.
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My earliest fascination with weaving and cloth began when visiting the women in the Ashaninka tribe in Peru in 2006. I was fascinated with the ancient patterns woven into the cloth, which the women would weave using their feet to hold the end of the simple looms and their hands to guide the threads. I have been making shoes for 9 years now and have now developed my own use of fabric in my work. I now wish to extend this further, raise awareness and investigate the value and use of fabric in our modern world.
Through cloth, stories and ancient past have been kept alive. By taking it forward in modern Craft and Design we can bring value back to original, highly vital traditional crafts and ways of life. I am aiming to preserve the tradition of weaving by raising awareness of these ancient techniques. Smaller handicrafts are largely superseded by manufacturing high volumes of products and being a Craftswoman myself making a living by selling my work I am very aware how much work is needed to raise focus and value traditional crafts in today’s world.
Following on from my visit to Peru I have been investigating the tradition of weaving in the UK alongside my own work in leather. We have a rich history of weaving in Wales but more recently I have been to the outer Hebrides to investigate the long standing tradition of tweed cloth. There I learnt about the old hand techniques still used today but also how their biggest customer is Japan. The use of tweed in Japan has been incredibly popular in recent years and set to continue which proves much hope for small business.
About this project
The preservation and use of Ancient traditions and Craft in modern design and manufacture.
I have chosen two countries to visit as part of my project, with the aim of investigating an example of an old way of life – traditional weaving traditions in Mexico and in contrast also looking at an example of the uses of those ancient techniques being used in modern design and manufacture in Japan.
I will be doing this by visiting some examples of individuals in Mexico still practicing the hands on ancient weaving techniques and also by looking at an example of the success that can be achieved such as the Hebridean cloth in Japan as a way of taking smaller crafts through to the modern world.
I believe what is needed is awareness and exposure in these two areas and by creating a link between what very much seems like two worlds that are disconnected will create success for the undermined and exposure for the corporate industry.
The purpose of my project is to:
•To help revive traditional workmanship and preserve remaining ancient traditions and indigenous crafts with new technology.
•To create more value in traditional ways of life and the revival of the master to apprentice relationship.
•To promote Craft education through single apprenticeships and academia and put craft and making at the heart of education.
•To source material and our value of goods made by hand and bring awareness to making communities all over the world.
Who is Winston Churchill?
Winston Churchill is probably best known for his considerable achievements during the Second World War, he was also a prolific painter, a great traveller and a talented writer. He designed the grounds and gardens of Chartwell, his beloved family home in Kent, and in later life he bred racehorses. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust is founded in this spirit, to enable UK Citizens from all walks of life to acquire knowledge and experience overseas, for their own and wider community benefit.
About the Trust
When he died the Winston Churchilll Memorial Trust was established in his name in 1965. Thousands of people in gratitude for his inspired leadership gave generously so that a living memorial could benefit future generations of British people. The WCMT carry forward his legacy by funding British citizens from all backgrounds to travel overseas and bring back inspiration and examples of best practise for the benefit of others in their communities and professions.
for more info click www.wcmt.org.uk