The Artist: Defined
For over 40 years, Rick Shawcross has been doing something that is rarely done anymore. It all started in 1977 when a fellow named Bill Zayets, an old family friend and master glove maker, took Rick and his brother Wes under his wing and began teaching them the fine art of making handcrafted leather gloves.
Today, Rick has preserved a tradition of quality and craftsmanship that is, quite simply, second to none. From start to finish, a Shawcross Bros. Glove reflects the way a glove should be made – not mass produced by a machine, but one pair at a time by skilled hands.
The Glove: Defined
A Shawcross Bros. Glove is defined by three equally important characteristics, and the first is the sizing. The hand is measured not only with a tape measure but by the person’s height, weight, shoe size and age. This time-honoured method ensures that the glove is made for the individual – a great fit.
The second characteristic is the materials that are used to make these wonderful gloves. Early on in his apprenticeship, Rick Shawcross learned to avoid cowhides and domestic pigskins because they are cold and lack movement, and to favor deerskins which are soft, supple and warm. As for what is on the inside, the wearer can choose an unlined glove or one that is lined with a Cashmere Blend or Lambskin, which are both soft to the touch and yet warm and durable.
The third characteristic is how a Shawcross Bros. Glove is made, which truly distinguishes it from all others. The Deerskin is carefully selected by its own distinct feel and weight (or thickness). The leather is then stretched by hand before it is cut on a maple block using a maul and die into one piece for both the palm and back of the glove, resulting in less seams for a more comfortable fit. Next, the thumb and other smaller parts of the glove are shaped by the same process. Incidentally, the tools that are used to craft the gloves are over 80 years old, and the technique is nearly as old as time itself.
When all the pieces have been cut, the leather is continuously worked as it is hand-sewn using a glover’s needle and a heavy-gauge nylon thread, too thick for any factory machine to handle. The glove is top-stitched, rather than stitched on the inside, to prevent the seams from disturbing the fit and feel of the glove on the hand. The liner is then hand-sewn into the cuff, and an elastic is sewn into the wrist (which is uncommon for either hand-made or factory gloves) to further enhance the warmth, fit and look of the lined glove. Finally, the glove is heated by steam, worked and smoothed, and then given a freshly pressed look using a weighted board while it is still warm.
The end result of a process that can take upwards of 8 hours to complete is a singularly beautiful pair of gloves, handcrafted with quality and tradition – yours to enjoy!