And everything changed.
Finally I came to understand how to use lasts; I discovered what kind of leather to use as a lining; I found out which tools and equipment I needed and which I didn’t–and where to get them! Skiving! Cements! Silver pens! Sewing machines! I learned so much.
I had been really reluctant to pay for a shoe-making class because I was afraid I would invest all kinds of time and money only to produce some kind of bulbous-toe, clunky-soled clown shoes that only a hobbit would love. I’m not saying that Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood are clamoring to include my design in next season’s collections, but I don’t think these look too amateurish.
After some research, I attended Bonney & Wills School of Shoemaking & Design in Ashland, Oregon, in March 2012. Other places I considered (all in the United States):
- Prescott & Mackay
- ShoeSchool. My pal Laura McCabe took a class there and loved it.
- The Cobblettes
- Shoe College
- International Shoemaking Design
- Simple Shoemaking
- The Cordwainer Shop
The last day of class was a flurry and I never learned to finish the edges of soles–Bill Shanor (the instructor) did it for all six students so we could leave with our completed shoes. I particularly wanted to learn that skill, so that was a disappointment, but that was my only beef. Since Bill sends all students home with a 2-CD film on making shoes start to finish, I bet he covers that. I need to go watch it!
Point is, I’m totally glad I went to shoe school.