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.
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.
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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.
‘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.’