Friday, March 6, 2009

What We Do

What do we do?

I received a question about the level of the craft we use to make our handmade shoes. I also recently saw another shoemaker's blog on which he criticised some shoemaking courses around the world. So maybe this is the occasion to talk a little about what we do in a general sense.

All the bespoke shoes we make are 100% handmade from start to finish. We use a variety of hand held tools and no machines. Our ethos is totally based in the tradition of this trade. The skills we use have not changed for centuries and we learned them by doing an apprenticeship. This is really the only way, not only to gain the skills, but also to reach the speed needed to make a living. It gives you the time your hands need to learn without your head getting too involved. Other craftspeople will understand what I mean.

Here are 3 shots from what I have been doing today to show the nature of what we do. The first is a heel mid build.



Next a welt being sewn.



Last a sole being glassed in preparation for dyeing and finishing.



As for the carr├ęducker shoemaking school, I believe we are the only school offering a complete shoemaking process. With us you get lasts, uppers and all the rough stuff you need for making a pair of hand welted shoes. This is over 200 processes, from hand lasting to welting; stitching the sole to heel building; twisting threads to finishing. It's 90 hours in 3 modules of 1 week each and is very intensive. I think the main thing that the course gives the student is a comprehensive knowledge of the traditional bespoke shoemaking process and the ability to decide if they really want to pursue this path.
We are doing it in New York in April and masy and then again in August in London. Very exciting, and it is the real deal.

Today has been good. We had a photographer in to take some process shots in the studio. They will look great. He has finished the product shots and here is a preview, not the final version though. Nice huh?