Frances’ interest in traditional shoemaking stems from her love for the inherent qualities of leather and the intricate processes involved in the handcrafting of objects both decorative and functional. Her interest in the distinctive properties of leather, English Oak Bark especially, lead her to traditional hand welted shoemaking, a craft that utilises oak bark leather for many of its components. From wet-moulding insoles to carving and polishing stacked heels, oak bark can be manipulated through many handworking processes to stunning effect.
After graduating with a first class degree in Modelmaking from the Arts University Bournemouth, Frances began her career in leatherwork at Bill Amberg Studio. Here she spent two years learning and developing the skills to produce products, furniture and interior installations for high profile projects, such as the Leathersellers Guild Hall. She then went on to refine her machine and hand-stitching work at luxury bag makers Simpson of London.
Throughout this time she completed several terms of evening classes with the Carréducker Shoemaking School, where James Ducker and Deborah Carré guided her through the two-hundred stages of the hand welted shoemaking process. The QEST scholarship will allow her to progress with her training through one-to-one sessions with Carréducker London Ltd and a number of other specialists in the industry across pattern making, closing and making.