Grace Horne is the last person in Britain still making one-off pairs of scissors by hand. She spoke to Tessa Waugh.

As far as she knows, Grace Horne is the only person handmaking one-off pairs of scissors in Britain today. It’s a skill she describes as ‘my own little bit of niche joy’.

Based in Sheffield, the home of Britain’s steel industry, Dr Horne began her working life as a cutler, producing folding knives for pocket knives.

However, concerned that the skill of scissor-making was something elusive that was ‘slipping away’, she headed to the library to find out how scissors were made before the Industrial Revolution.

Cutler Grace Horner, a Folding Knife and Scissor Maker. Shot in her reconverted public convenience workshop in Sheffield. ©Richard Cannon/Country Life

The 13in tailor’s shears she’s working on in this picture are for a left-handed tailoring client in London’s Savile Row and are the culmination of two years’ work.

Some 90% of Dr Horne’s work is for international collectors. She once sold a pair of scissors for £10,000, but recently challenged herself to make an affordable batch of paper and textile scissors, aimed at makers like herself, for £300 each.

Cutler Grace Horner, a Folding Knife and Scissor Maker. Shot in her reconverted public convenience workshop in Sheffield. ©Richard Cannon/Country Life

‘People who make things for pleasure are becoming very involved in the story of their tools,’ she enthuses.

‘They don’t want three for £1 from Ikea and they want to do their bit to support fellow craftspeople.’

See more of Grace’s work at www.gracehorne.co.uk; and find out more about British artisans at http://heritagecrafts.org.uk