Craft, fashion and fantasy: shoes and hats by Caroline Groves and Louise Pocock

Chipping Campden

Dates: 10 SEPTEMBER – 13 NOVEMBER 2022

Craft, fashion and fantasy

An exhibition of work by two of the UK’s leading designer-makers.

We are thrilled that Caroline Groves and Louise Pocock, who both work locally and have a national and international reputation, have agreed to give us an insight into their work and ideas.

Shoes and hats are vitally important accessories – an extension of personality, affecting how you feel and how you are perceived. Fashion and fantasy are important elements but so are the craft traditions of the cordwainer (the traditional name for craft shoe-making) and the milliner which ensure the comfort, longevity and ‘soul’ of their work. Both women have come through rigorous training to become masters at their craft. They work with skill and passion – every hat is hand-blocked and hand-stitched and every shoe is made of the finest tanned leather, hand welted without any toxic glues.

Their clients are loyal. On her website Louise has a page of Cotswold connections – some of the local people who have bought her hats – and among her clients is Tweedy, well known for his performances with Giffords Circus. The two women are friends and relish opportunities to work together. When she was making a pair of shoes for the American actress Whoopi Goldberg, Caroline commissioned Louise to make a pair of miniature but perfect top hats as part of their decoration.

Caroline has a particular link with Court Barn and Cotswold craft traditions as her great-grandfather was Walter Curtis, one of the cabinet makers with C R Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft who moved from London’s East End to Chipping Campden in 1902. For Louise, inspiration also came from her great-grandfather, a music hall songwriter who always wore a trilby (known by the family as a titfa). Wearing a hat was always part of her imaginary world.

The exhibition will include sources of inspiration, tools, materials and equipment to illustrate the process of making as well as finished pieces.

Chipping Campden is fortunate to have two such talented designer-makers on its doorstep. A number of special events will enable visitors to learn more about their work appreciate the skill, creativity and imagination involved from the makers themselves.



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