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Design: Hand Head Heart

We are delighted to announce that Caroline Groves, a traditional bespoke shoe and bag maker, will be featured in this exhibition.

Design: Hand Head Heart is inspired by the Nine Lives featured in the Museum's permanent display and celebrates nine contemporary crafts people. These designers are distinguished in their field, and echo the rich heritage established by Charles Robert Ashbee and his Guild of Handicraft in 1888 - placing great value on work, the joy of craftsmanship and the natural beauty of materials.

With over 33 years of leather working experience, her creative talent crosses the boundaries between craftsmanship, fashion, art and fantasy.  Caroline’s inspirations come from her interest in period costume and her Arts and Crafts heritage: her great-grandfather was one of the crafts people that brought the Guild of Handicraft to Chipping Campden in 1902 under C.R. Ashbee. Her work is all about curves and the sculptural elements of shoemaking and design.

The Caroline Groves label was set-up twelve years ago and has since built up an international following of clients. Between 1984 and 1990 she was working mainly with leather and sheepskin clothing; during this time she became interested in handcrafted hand stitched leatherwork and did some training with a saddler. She says that

“MacGregor and Michael were always my inspiration and my mentors” 

Around 1990 Caroline met the shoemaker with whom she trained and worked until establishing her own business in London in 2003 after realising she wanted to work more on design, style and use beautiful materials. She is a Liveryman with the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and last year her shoes were on display at the V&A’s exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.

Caroline said:

“Leather and its inherent qualities have always been my passion. To me the shoe is the absolute expression of these characteristics, bringing together the essential internal strength and shape of the shoe and soles with oak bark tanned, wet moulded leathers along with some of the most finely coloured and finished upper leathers.”