Last weekend, 23-24th of June Riina O travelled North, out of London, to a small picturesque town of Lincoln, to participate in the Heritage Skills Festival. The event, held for the first time ever, brought together the City of London Livery Companies to the Lincoln Cathedral with the aim to celebrate traditional crafts and skills and keep them alive. Altogether there were more than 26 of the City of London Livery Companies, ranging from the goldsmiths to saddlers to clockmakers, glaziers and plumbers. Riina O was invited by the Worshipful Company of Glovers.
The history of the Glovers Company dates back to the 14th Century, having been established in 1349 by glove makers in London, who wished to protect the high standards of their craft. The Company has survived to the present day, still supporting and promoting British glove trade and wearing of gloves on all levels – from fashion to different industrial purposes.
The Heritage Skills Festival took place at the glorious Lincoln Cathedral – the third largest one in the UK. The grandiose building managed to easily host the display of dozens of Livery companies and craft displays, including two Bentley cars and a few chariots.
Riina O had a chance to display our cutting edge modern gloves and demonstrate the craft of the traditional glove making via hand stitching.
On the 23rd of June, we had the honour to be interviewed by the BBC Radio for Melvyn in the Morning show. It was great to meet some visitors later on, who had actually heard the interview and got inspired by it to come to the Festival.
At the end of the second day an auction was held, where all the different livery companies presented their unique craft products. Riina O offered a commission of a pair of leather gloves to the client´s choice, which was snapped up by a lucky bidder.
The Midsummer´s Night was this year celebrated at a glorious dinner held for the London Livery Companies at the Lincoln Cathedral. In addition to all the displays, the cathedral easily accommodated a dinner for nearly 100 people located in its side wing of the building. Held at such extravagant location, this was definitely a Midsummer celebration night to remember!
The first week of May welcomed the third edition of London Craft Week.
Riina O had an honour to participateinthe Leather exhibition, organised by Bill Amberg at the Leathersellers Hall. Hand-picked as one of the fourteen Britain´s finest independent leatherworkers, the selection includedsaddlers, sculptors, bag makers, bookbinders, cordwainers, etc.
During three days, between 4-6th of May, the Leather exhibition was held at the place most suitable for it – the freshly renovated Leathersellers Hall. Completed just last Summer, the hall designed by Eric Parry and finished by Bill Amberg leatherworkers team, the interiors include such details as walls and even the elevator interior covered in veg tan leather, combining the Leathersellers Company´s six-century history with modern luxurious interiors. The London Craft Week Show offered one of the first opportunities for members of the public to set foot inside.
Riina O demonstrated the best of our glove collections, where ages old craftsmanship has been joined with modern technological advantages. The making process could be witnessed at the display of the deconstructed gloves and work tools, as well as at the craft presentation.
On Saturday it was even possible for the public to try the glove making at Riina´s masterclass of a modified design of an archery glove with just two fingers.
The exhibition was supported by the Leathersellers´ partner livery companies, including the Glovers Livery and it was a real pleasure meeting them in person again.
Handcrafting soft leather gloves is a centuries-old skill, going back to the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, during the last half century, the tradition has started to vanish due to the labor-intensiveness and mechanisation. Only a few skilled professionals around the world are currently practising the art of making gloves by hand.
It would be wonderful to bring the craft back in wider use and make it last.
I would love to see women and men using more gloves again, adding to their dressing code this mysterious and elegant accessory.
It was a real pleasure being part of this exciting craft event!
Riina O is delighted to pull back the secrecy curtain and take you “behind the scenes” into our studio, offering a sneak peek of our work process. Let us explain how our leather accessories are made and what is unique about these beautiful products.
Lets have a look at Riina O Leeanne leather bracelet. These beautiful colourful armbands have each an intricate pattern cut in. How are they made? The secret is – advanced waterjet cutting technology.
You may wonder, what is it?
The waterjet cutter is an industrial machine meant for cutting a variety of materials using the high-pressure jet of water. Unbelievable as it sounds, these bracelets have been cut not by a knife or laser, but by water!
Even more surprising is the fact that waterjet cutting technology is normally used for producing parts for manufacturing aeroplanes, cars and vehicles as large as tanks. Well, if they can manage to cut large steel details, small leather bracelets should be “a piece of cake”! Remarkably, cutting such small details is actually trickier than large parts.
The waterjet cutting machine is controlled by the computer that directs it according to the specific design file.
The advantage of this method, compared with laser cutting, for example, is the clean edge finish, cost effectiveness of the production and intricate cutting work. The ecological benefit includes the fact that the water can be recycled using a closed-loop system.