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Meet Female Bricklayer - Katie Smith
Here at Dickies we are passionate about encouraging women to get into the construction trade, and recently we caught up with talented female bricklayer Katie Smith, to ask her questions about what it's like to work as a bricky in a male-dominated trade.
Katie has the following impressive awards under her work belt:
When did you first notice Dickies?
"I came across Dickies via my social media, after always following them for the skate reason, it was nice to see I could also bring my love for Dickies onto site as well."
What makes you creative?
"I’m a lefty! We’re naturally creative right? I think my ADHD has a big part to play in my creativity. It’s extremely rewarding to see what you’ve achieved by yourself and see a really decent end result. My mind is non-stop, it’s constantly coming up with all sorts of new ideas and things to try and put together to make something magic happen."
What is the most fun aspect of your trade?
"The summer! Working in the sun, doing something I love being surrounded by people who like to have a laugh- I love site life. Although we all work really hard, we also laugh equally just as much too. It seems when the spring starts, so does the banter and the summer rush and I love to be busy and kept on my toes!"
What is your best trick?
"My best trick has to be the the “the trowel pop”, this is where walk up to my trowel, kick the handle with the heel of my boot and it flicks up, enabling me to catch it without having to bend over and pick up it (avoiding that unnecessary back strain)."
Any advice on getting into bricklaying?
"Do it! Never give up, it’s such an amazing skill to have and you can take it literally anywhere. It enables you to live a comfortable life, down to earning a decent living. Apply to big companies to get involved in the apprentice schemes, there’s websites, taster sessions and all sorts out there offering the chance to gain the qualification, if your willing to apply yourself, you can get there. Don’t let NO one set you back and put you off chasing your dreams."
What is your favourite film?
"So, my favourite film has to be Disney’s "Up”, it’s a tear jerker for one and I think the storyline is really beautiful. Bricky or not, I still have a soft side."
Why do you like Dickies?
"I grew up skating, Dickies has always been around and I’ve always liked the clothing line. The clothes are of really good quality, which you need when constantly falling off a skateboard. But as for workwear wise, it’s comfortable, again really good quality, fair priced and long lasting! The work boots are ridiculously comfy too!"
If you could go anywhere where would it be?
"I’d like to go to New York and see the big builds out there, see how they are done. See the brickwork over there and how different life on site would be in such a big busy city!"
Who is your favourite celebrity?
"It has to be Stacey Dooley, she is such an inspiration to all the young women in the world. She’s pure and genuine and goes out of her way to expose real life issues. Spending time to make extremely positive changes at the same time whilst helping others out of less fortunate situations."
Work Shorts or Work Trousers?
"Work shorts all day long! Work trousers are over rated!"
Wet or dry?
"Some days wet, when we’re all tired, worked hard and it means an early finish towards the end of the week, otherwise, I’ll pick dry- you can’t make much money if the suns not shining in my game!"
What do you enjoy most about your job?
"I love how rewarding my apprenticeship is, the end result of having a trade enables me to go anywhere around the world. I enjoy building someone’s future while I’m building my own. I’d 100% encourage more women to get into the construction trade, I feel a lot of females are put off by the stigma of it being “a mans world”. Anyone is entitled to be on site, no matter what your gender, race, religion or beliefs are. It’s all in the mind, the work is 80% light work- it’s more about mental strength, if you have that along with a skill, you will never be out of work and the opportunities will be endless."
Who inspired you to become a bricky?
"There wasn’t a female tradeswomen that inspired me. Me and my Prince's Trust worker Emma went to visit a construction placement back in 2016, and I loved it. We sat in her car afterwards and we both agreed that year, was going to be my year, since the things have been a little mad in regards to succeeding and awards and progress. My Grandfather was a bricklayer, he played a father role so he would always be my inspiration as his father also was a master bricklayer so I feel privileged to have been able to carry on the family skill and keep it going. Who knows maybe in the future, I can pass it onto my children and I can be their inspiration!"
Follow Katie on Instagram to see more.
If you are inspired by Katie and are interested in becoming a Dickies Ambassador, visit the Dickies Community page.
In the 90’s Dickies were made popular by Julien Stranger and the Anti-Hero team and SF Based skaters, as well as the Zero Team/ Toy Machine Team (1996) Donny Barley, Jamie Thomas, and Adrian Lopez. They made it cool, and by skating in it, the influence started...
Our Italian flow riders were planning a skate trip for a long time this last year, but due to covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the plan just never happened for obvious reasons… However, in September the situation seemed to improve a bit and we found the opportunity to reunite part of the team to hit the road around the North-West coast of Italy.
Tom has been mastering the art of woodworking since he was a child learning the secrets...
At Dickies we recognise the art of work, so we created our Meet The Makers series to give ...
Rachel E Millar is a signwriter and lettering artist based in Glasgow, Scotland ...
A Proud History Of Dickies - The Evolution Of The Workwear Brand
The Dickies brand began as a bib-overall manufacturer known as the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company, which was established in 1922 when Texans EE “Colonel” Dickie, his cousin CN Williamson and his son C Don Williamson established the US Overall Company.Since then, Dickies has grown from a small family-run business to a multinational corporation supplying a diverse range of workwear including casual and safety footwear, work trousers and jeans, safety wear such as overalls and hi vis vests as well as accessories of unsurpassed quality.
1930s: The Beginnings of American Workwear Style
During the early years, the Williamson-Dickie brand grew slowly but steadily despite the Great Depression. This price list from 1938 clearly shows the brand’s target audience as the All-American family of the 1930s.
1940s: Military Ties
During World War II, Williamson-Dickie was sequestered to produce uniforms for the US armed forces, and following the war, the company returned to civilian production. The post-war years saw the company grow significantly thanks to C Don Williamson’s strategic expansion throughout the United States.
1950s: Quality Workwear for the World
This was the era that saw Williamson-Dickie go global; Texan oilfield workers introduced the brand to the Middle East, and before long Dickies workwear had expanded into the Middle Eastern and European markets. Back home, the brand appealed to customers with a focus on quality for the “Man of Production”.
1960s: Campus Tigers
During the 60s, Dickies adopted a strategy of selling to the “main man on campus” – targeting those who would buy the brand’s “campus casual” range. This decade saw a series of “campus tiger” ads aimed at young men looking to make an impression with their choice of college clothing.
1970s: Affordable Workwear
In the 70s Dickies continued to focus on consumers in search of social status, but also started appealing to price-conscious customers by advertising their products’ value for money. Armed with the slogan “We’re Basic” and a range of affordable prices, Dickies added another dimension to their already successful marketing strategy.
1980s: The Growth of Women's Workwear
During this decade the brand started appealing to a more diverse audience, with the expansion into women's workwear, as well as men's. The typical Dickies customer of the 80s was one who balanced hard work with fun and friendship.
Each product is designed to be durable and longwearing, with only the latest technology used to provide wearers with the most effective safety features. From plumbers to electricians and even executives, consumers in a wide array of professions choose Dickies as their preferred brand.
Newport, South Wales
Follow Tom:Website | Instagram
In 2012, The Harbour Brewing Co. was just a fledgling idea: to brew proper beer ...
From the age of around 13, Ricky fell out of love with playing football and discovered ...
Recently we caught up with talented female bricklayer Katie Smith, to ask her questions...
Meet Tom of TW Carpentry
MEET THE MAKERS| 11.03.2021
Tom has been mastering the art of woodworking since he was a child learning the secrets of the industry from his father and uncle. He spent years traveling around Europe building timber-framed houses and working on a large variety of construction projects.
"One of my parents’ earliest memories of me was Dad working on a roof, it was at home and I wasn’t even a year old and I was climbing up the ladder."
He was taught to understand all aspects of the building process so he could understand how each trade works with each other. Carpentry isn’t just a trade to Tom; it is a lifestyle which he loves, and he will continue to learn new techniques.
"I’ve always been on a building site, it’s not just my career, it’s my lifestyle."
Tom has worked on projects which have had to involve some out of the box strategies, like lifting an end-terrace roof off in one and replacing it with premade trusses.
"I’ve built anything from brand new houses to renovating houses to handcrafted bay windows. I think it’s really nice to drive around a town you have worked in and drive passed something that you know is going to stand the test of time."
Tom has worked in construction his whole life and it is something he enjoys with great passion every day.
"I love what I do, I think there are so many people in the world today that go to bed on a Sunday night dreading their week ahead and I’m so fortunate that I’m one of the people who goes to bed excited, I can’t wait to go up on Monday and go to work. It’s not just a job it’s a passion and I wouldn’t want to do anything else."
Where He works
Meet Rob from Rock Mallet Chisel
Rob has been working as a Stonemason since leaving school in 1988. His work is scattered throughout the Midlands and the South West and his commissions have come from as far afield as the Scottish borders.
"Restoring and conserving old buildings is something I feel really lucky and privileged to do."
Examples of Rob's craftsmanship can be seen above Shakespeare's tomb in Stratford, on the famous three spires of Lichfield Cathedral, St Martins church in Birmingham and in the grounds of Tyntesfield to name but a few.
"I do stonemasonry because it is different every day, even if I am working on the same mould on the same stone, it's slightly different to the way the stone reacts to grinders and chisels because it is a natural product."
After completing his formal apprenticeship with 'Linford Bridgeman', Rob took time out from the workshop to successfully study for an HND in Figurative Design and Sculpture at Stafford Art College.
"I do my bread and butter stuff in the day, which is very technical, working to a millimeter, you see me with a straight edge, come the evening it's about relaxing."
On his return to practical stonemasonry, Rob quickly gained a reputation for high quality workmanship and decided to become self-employed, running a successful workshop in Bridgnorth Shropshire, undertaking a variety of work ranging from gargoyles, grotesques, garden walling, ornaments, tracery windows and bespoke fireplaces.
"Being a stonemason is the best thing ever, I'll be a stonemason forever and a day, I could never imagine being anything else."
With his wealth of experience and expertise, Rob now hopes to be able to pass on some of the skills he has acquired in what is seen by many as a "dying trade". He teaches classes to people interested in learning about the skill of stonemasonry. Rob will expertly lead you through the process of working stone, covering centuries-old techniques whilst allowing your artistic talents free reign to produce your very own unique piece of work. Once a course has been completed, you will then have the opportunity to join the ROCK-MALLET-CHISEL stone carving club!
"It's about people walking out my door, having learnt- but with a massive grin on their face."
Rock Mallet Chisel
Congresbury, Nr. Bristol, UK
Follow Rock-Mallet-Chisel:Website | Facebook | Instagram
Meet Ricky from Feather Cycles
From the age of around 13, Ricky fell out of love with playing football and discovered ‘Street Riding’ BMX, which allowed him freedom to be creative.
Not long after leaving school and getting his first job working in a factory the traveling bug kicked in. Ricky purchased a ticket to Austin, Texas to meet new people in the BMX world.
For the next few years, Ricky traveled between the USA and Europe. This experience made him realise that outside working in the factory there were so many more creative jobs, and that people actually had pretty cool careers, by thinking more outside the box:
"I've met a lot of people that inspired me to do what I love and use my creativity in photography, art, design, combined with the welding experience from working in the factory."
Seeing these things, Ricky realised that he needed more than that, he needed to explore and needed diversity. Cue Feather Cycles.Feather Cycles was born from a thirst to create a useful, desirable and high-performance product from a marriage of his absolute passion and the monotony of his day job. By bringing the two together, Ricky was able to make his day job, his vocation – something that he couldn’t live without now.
"I get to work with people from all walks of life; the mates I ride with in the local club, creatives, builders, doctors, ex pros... You name it, I’ve worked with them. The drive this gives me is something I can’t imagine I would get from any other line of work. I get to design, I get to take photos, I get to use art, architecture, fashion, graphics and jewelry as inspiration."
In a world of digital trends, it gives Ricky so much pleasure that he gets to make something that will last a very long time; something that will inspire others; all made to measure, painted to show off customer’s personalities, with a personal experience from start to finish. When a customer collects their bike, Ricky takes them out for a ride, and they do an hour on the bike together.
"And that’s a really nice finishing touch when they collect their bike the first ride they go on is with you in the area where you ride all the time and see the smile on their face."
York, United Kingdom
Follow Ricky Feather:Website | Instagram
Meet Rachel E Millar
Rachel E Millar is a signwriter and lettering artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. She specialises in designing and painting lettering by hand – large or small, interior or exterior, on shop fronts, on walls and almost any other surface. She works somewhere between design, art and craft, fusing traditional techniques with contemporary design.Rachel got into sign painting straight out of university.
"I just didn’t want to sit in front of a computer for the whole day and I wanted to have more variety in my work and what I do."
Rachel finds it very exciting that each new job has a different challenge to tackle, different surfaces, colour combinations, locations.
"I think it’s very important to pass on skills to people."
Teaching my friends, family, and people that want to discover their creative skills, is very important to me. When people first start painting who haven’t done a lot of practicing in the first place, clients will look at it and see that it is hand drawn.
"With hand painted stuff you need to be consistent and follow some rules so clients can see that element of hand paint to each work. Everything you create must be legible and concise."
Being a signwriter and lettering artist is definitely a lifestyle.
"When you start painting it just takes over your brain and you just start dreaming about it."
To stay original Rachel says that you just have to experiment loads with colour, forms and different type faces, so that’s what she’s been trying to do recently.
"I like to add a lot of colour in my work and work with perspective to sort of trick the eye to think it’s 3D."
She likes that a lot of people look at her work and realise it’s Rachel’s work, as the patterns and colours let her personability shine through.After the day job is done, the lifestyle continues and she often comes back to the studio just to play with colour and texture.
"I'm a sign painter because I love it and I'll be doing it every day."
Where She works
Rachel E Millar
Follow Rachel Millar:Website | Instagram
Matt’s stepfather and grandfather were huge influences on him when he was young ...
Meet Matt from Paint By Matt
Matt’s stepfather and grandfather were huge influences on him when he was young, sharing with him their interest in American cars and classic bikes. Matt was always artistic anyway, but found his passion for vehicle restoration when, as a young adult, he was given an airbrushing kit for Christmas.
"I saved up all my pocket money as a 14 year old and paid for a vehicle restoration evening class that was available at a college here in Leeds."
Having found the thing he loved to do, Matt saved up again and completed the follow-up class a year later. This led him to enroll in college to start his apprenticeship. Matt still works alongside two of his old tutors from college who he credits for teaching him new things even now.
At 26, Matt is seen by many older vehicle restoration experts as a ‘newbie’ but he has been working on his craft for more than half of his life. His hard work has seen him featured in magazines and at big international shows.
Matt finds prep work intense, but the painting side is the most fun part where he can have fun and be creative.
"The biggest challenge is old paintwork, trying to get past what someone else has done and take it back to a good clean surface."
It’s rewarding creating something from scratch from a bare steel object and adding interesting patterns and colours that nobody has done before.
"I've done some random things. I've painted vintage barber chairs, hair clippers, and trainers."
Matt has also painted props for music concerts and credits one of the most random things he’s painted as a 6-metre mannequin with its arms spread out wide, which was hung from the ceiling in Leeds train station.
"I think I’ll always be painting. I started as a kid and will probably still be doing it as an old man!"
Where He Works
Paint by Matt
Follow Matt Earle:
Facebook | Instagram
Meet James From Harbour Brewing Co.
In 2012, The Harbour Brewing Co. was just a fledgling idea: to brew proper beer reflecting the land (and shores) from where it came.
Taking the best raw ingredients - awesome hops, Cornish spring water tapped straight from the source - and bringing them to life through dedication to technique.
"One of his specialities is to use ingredients that are specific of the time and the place which really identifies us as a Cornish brewery"
The concept evolved by the ocean - hence, 'Harbour' - but the beer came into being on the farm. There is joy in returning to the roots of the ingredients. The heritage of the space, of the land, of the ocean, remain our inspiration. Everything clicks; the farm is Harbour's home.
"I went to uni to study fine art and I left wanting to be a craftsman and I see now what I do now as being a craftsman"
I came to Harbour in February 2018 so about 18 months ago, I was running a brewery of similar size in London and after being in London for 10 years me and my girlfriend were ready to escape the city and move to the countryside.
"Day to day work is really broad. I go from all the stages of producing beer to looking after our livestock, to farming the land on our farm, to being out there talking to customers and representing the brewery"
I've known Eddie through the beer scene for years and we had talk about the farm and what could happen there in the future, then about two years ago things started to line up. I was ready to leave London and Harbour was ready to start the new R&D project.
"When you do the thing you love as a job it never stops. With the farm being a big part of my job, I spend a lot of time at work being outdoors and that’s something I love because in my time away from work I love to be outdoors"
It’s been a big change in every part of life going from my 20's in East London to living in a beautiful little town on a river that runs to the sea doing my dream job exploring what fermentation that’s tied to where it’s from can produce.
"You can do something that’s great and really worked out well but straight away you’re thinking what’s next? How can I improve? What can I do better?"
Harbour Brewing Co.
Tretoil Farm, Bodmin, Cornwall
Brewer / Forager
Follow Harbour Brewing:
Website | Facebook | Instagram
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