It's a new year and I don't know about you, but I've kept my New Year's resolutions simple this year - to get out and see our friends more...and to be more creative and experimental as a shoemaker/designer.
But others have made more life-changing resolutions. As you will have read, week one of our January intensive course is well under way but what you didn't know is that virtually the whole class are resolved to become shoemakers!
They are so drawn to the craft, that they have taken two weeks out of very busy lives - and travelled from as far afield as Iceland, Italy, Spain and the US - to sit down with us and learn the basics. It is an enormous responsibility and we hope that they will leave us next week wiser about the reality of life as a handsewn shoemaker, and still enthused and determined to continue making.
We will keep you posted on how they do next week, but in the mean time one of the biggest questions for them is "what will they do after the course?"
An apprenticeship is the obvious choice, but these are hard to come by. The majority of handsewn shoemakers are small businesses and so taking on an apprentice is a massive commitment of time, money and materials...and there is no guarantee that the apprentice will stay when their time is up.
Here in the UK, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship is one organisation to champion craft studies (I owe it everything as it funded my apprenticeship), but what of elsewhere in the world?
We want to help. If you have any information about shoemakers seeking apprentices, manufacturers who use handsewn workers and organisations, awards or grants that could help to fund aspiring shoemakers, wherever you are in the world, please email us. Perhaps together we can create an on line resource for all aspiring shoemakers?
Many thanks and until next week's update on the course, happy shoemaking.