What you could do as a craftsman…
Tomiwa Adeosun “My name is Tomiwa. I am a Nigerian-born British footwear designer by day and a firefighter by night.”
Tomiwa has incorporates his experience as an ex fireman into all of his pieces, with inspired design features like old uniform buckles. Through his work, he seeks to project the excellence of traditional craft and heritage whilst also creating something that speaks to the new.
Since exhibiting at the Adidas Trainers Forum, in the sports brand’s headquarters in Germany, Tomiwa has started working on a collaborative collection with the fashion powerhouse.
“My long term ambitions remain the same, to one day to start a footwear/design brand of my own, but for now I am eager to learn as much as I can.”
“I am an artist. This means that each day I get up whenever I want, wear whatever I like, take breaks when I choose, and get paid to do my favourite thing in the world… draw. I work very hard with long hours most days but it rarely feels like work. It feels like I’ve won the lottery.
I’m commissioned by companies all over the world, including; Sony Japan, Virgin Airways, Harvey Nichols and the LA Times. At the moment I’m preparing for a trip to Japan where I’ll spend three weeks hand painting a mural in Tokyo.
I long to tell my eight year old self that this will be how I make my living. I cannot believe my luck.”
“Hello. My name is Ben and I am a charcoal burner.
This was not always so. In what seems a previous life, I had a career in advertising, earning quite a lot of money and travelling to far-flung places. For a while it was fun, but the gloss soon faded. The problem was that for something billed as a ‘creative industry’, it wasn’t creative at all. Sure, the people I worked with wore cool trainers and sported fashionable haircuts, but very few were what I’d call authentic. If you seek creativity, to be a maker of things, choose a craft. This will almost certainly deprive you of the sort of money those people in glass offices enjoy, but you will have a life and a vocation. How can you put a price on spending your days creating something tangible with your hands?
You should understand nothing is perfect: there are days in a cold, wet wood when I curse being out. Yet I would not change a thing.”
“I didn’t know I wanted to be a stone carver. As with many crafts, there is no specific route. For me it started with a frustrating degree in fine-art painting. This was followed by a boring year polishing graphite, leading onto an educational three-year stone masonry apprenticeship, then a fantastic two years self employed. Finally the most challenging and rewarding was a three year diploma in stone carving. Looking back I feel my journey has been reliant on being open to opportunities, having an enquiring mind, a little stubbornness, resilience and fearlessness, all teamed up with some good old determination, and a will to succeed!
I am now in a fantastic position where I am able to do a job which I thoroughly love, with a skill set that enables me to take on interesting and challenging work. I am sure I will continue learning and developing my skills for the rest of my career and thoroughly enjoy doing so.”
“I’m a silversmith specialising in tableware, I like to push the boundaries of what I can do and enjoy the challenge of making technically difficult pieces. I grew up in Loch Nevis, a very remote part of Scotland. As a child I drilled thousands of holes in my dad’s workshop floor with a hand drill; I have always liked tools and using my hands. I spent three months last summer at a blacksmiths working on the Golden Gates of Chatsworth House. I was remaking the iron leaves that were too far gone for repair. I made around 40 leaves, 10% of the total – it’s a very satisfying feeling knowing that they will be viewed by thousands of people and will probably still be there long after I’m gone.
Recently I’ve been using propane to blast and crush silver cups, which is a lot more fun than your standard 9-5 job.”
“I am a Designer Whip Maker with a deep passion for leather.
Since I can remember I wanted to be a Fashion Designer and accidentally fell into the wonderful world of leather craft. Having trained under the eye of the Queen’s Master Saddler and Harness Maker at Buckingham Palace. Today my work is dedicated to preserving Saddlery Craftsmanship, I use traditional techniques to sculpt, carve, mould, dye and hand-stitch leather to create luxurious products.
QEST has allowed me to take my skills to new heights and I used my scholarship to train in traditional whip making, which is a dying art. After this I set up my brand ‘Whip In Hand’ – offering full service, bespoke luxury whips from my London workshop.
A highlight of my work so far was to make a whip for Olympic and world champion dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin OBE.
There is something very rewarding about crafting something by hand and heart which, is appreciated and enjoyed by others.”
“My name is Tom Sargeant and I am a Letter-cutter and stone carver. I have just completed a three-year apprenticeship and have now become a self-employed carver. We care for and respect our materials, in the knowledge that our designs, decisions, chisel cuts and hammer blows will last long after us. I would say that the job would suit someone with good patience as the process demands you give your full attention to the stone and task at hand. One may work on a single stone for months on end, yet for me, this care and prolonged focus brings with it great satisfaction.
Simply put, I love going to work each day and feel fortunate in the knowledge that I have the rest of my life to learn and develop my understanding of this peculiar and ancient way of life. It has been a humbling privilege to work under the ever advisory eye of my masters and I now plan on developing my own styles and ideas, whilst championing the traditional skills that we use.”