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About Simon Brock

Simon Brock TIMMM

I am an artist, leatherworker, clog maker, timber technologist and sometime morris and longsword dancer. The ‘TIMMM’ bit means that I have taken exams to prove I know about wood in some fairly serious detail!

I have been working with wood for the whole of my adult life, training as a furniture maker after leaving school. Leatherwork came slightly later, in 2011. In clogs, I have found one of the small number of crafts which combines both materials.

The seed is sown

It all started in 2010 when I met clog maker Trefor Owen at Whitby Folk Week, and subsequently went to train with him in the art of clog making. I had been attracted by cutting the wooden soles (which was fun) but in the end I found the leather uppers just as interesting.

After spending some time volunteering as a clogger at the Colne Valley Museum, including learning more tips from another clog maker and leatherworker, Phil Howard, from 2011 I dedicated myself full time to learning leatherworking (in which I am 90-odd per cent self-taught).

In 2012 (when I was good enough to actually sell leather items I’d made!) I launched the imaginatively-titled Simon Brock Handmade Leather Goods as an outlet for my range of high end bags and belts, which I still make occasionally.

Clogs

The development of Leather for Folkies

Between 2014 and 2015 I developed a range of leather goods specifically aimed at folk dancers and musicians. These proved popular and still form a large proportion of my work. In particular, my bagpipe quivers and concertina cases are sought after by those with a nice instrument in a boring case!

Coming back to clogs

In 2015 I acquired some long-sought-after clog maker’s stock knives, and started to look seriously again at clog making. Thanks to a few intensive training visits to my mentor Trefor Owen during 2017, I was able to make good progress at re-learning the rudiments of the craft, and spent most of the second half of 2017 making better and better clogs.

After many rejected pairs, by the end of 2017 I was making clogs which I was happy to put my name to.

Extra-curricular stuff

When not making leather goods or clogs, I am an active participant in the folk world, spending most weekends dancing with Flag & Bone Gang, as Dance Captain of Handsworth Sword Dancers and/or very occasionally jigging with avant garde Cotswold outfit Black Hart Morris. I play a gaily-decorated accordion, dress up as the Derby Tup in mumming plays, attend and organise Sheffield village carols sessions (in season!) and do a decent line in shanties.

Accordion