London Craft Week, which took place last month, has grown to become an important feature in the seasonal calendar of events that take place across the British capital every year. 

We have been involved since it began three years ago, and are very proud to have taken an active part in this city-wide event's success by demonstrating our leather craftsmanship skills to members of the public.

This year we demonstrated some wallet making and offered complimentary personalisation on customers' Ettinger wallets as well as Bridle Hide bookmarks that proved very popular.

Ettinger's artisan Michelle Peach demonstrating Bridle Hide Coat Wallet making

In conjunction with this, Robert Ettinger has always sought to support talented craftspeople in a mentorship role through Walpole’s Crafted scheme. By offering advice, guidance and the benefit of his experience running a company that handcrafts all its leather goods in its own workshops in the UK, he does his part to sustain a whole new generation of incredibly talented craftspeople making items by hand in Britain. He is not necessarily offering advice on how to make things but on how to take their creativity and expertise, and develop that through entrepreneurial skills to shape their business into an attractive, viable brand with a sustainable future.

Last year Robert mentored Struthers, a couple making tailormade watches in Birmingham. They describe themselves as ”lucky to have been mentored by Robert” and deem the support from Crafted as “so important” in building their own business acumen. We were therefore delighted that Struthers were featured as part of a London Craft Week talk supported by The Economist and held in a mews in South Kensington, on a pleasant London morning.

Stuthers - Photograph by Andy Pilsbury

The subject of the talk was “Bespoke” and with them was one of their customers, a bespoke collector, who will wait from up to 2-3 years for a watch to be made. He loves to visit the makers during the process and see the piece in construction. Rebecca Struthers then told us how they had switched from science to horology, some of the difficulties they faced in selling ideas, how they described the initial conversations in the bespoke process, and also how beneficial it had been to have Robert Ettinger available for discussions and advice. They also spoke about how they are “finding their own way through hundreds of years of British watchmaking” progressing from artisan restorers, to creating new watches made from components sourced from several antique and vintage watches, and recreating the elements themselves where needed to create their exquisite timepieces. From here there is only one way to go, which is creating their own movement entirely. There is only one person in Britain currently capable of doing this and he is a living legend in the watch world. They are still in the early days of their endeavour but you could tell from their own fascination with the process that there is no doubt they will achieve their goal.

Stuthers - Photograph by Andy Pilsbury

Stuthers - Photograph by Andy Pilsbury