In the Works

Eight pairs of sandals more than halfway finished. All that remains is to cement them to the soles...

Eight pairs of sandals more than halfway finished. All that remains is to cement them to the soles…

 

...which are drying on the deck, after have been shaped over lasts while the leather is wet.

…which are drying on the deck, after have been shaped over lasts while the leather is wet.

Footbed cemented to sole. Up next: add a heel, trim the sole, and finish.

Footbed cemented to sole. Up next: add a heel, trim the sole, and finish.

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And Then…Shoe Class

And everything changed.

blog--shoe class

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):

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.