Archive for the ‘Learned’ Category

Lesson 12: 1550s Spanish Chopines and Shoes (Cork)

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Let me start this off by saying that I’ve wanted to make a pair of these chopines for a long time. However, the construction (and the outsole in particular) has daunted me so, not to mention that I’ve never had a request, so they remained on the list to tackle at some point. Leave it to Amanda L.P. to give me one heck of a challenge. The shoes are just a simple pair of turn-shoes, although sewing such lightweight leather proved more of a challenge than expected. The chopines are bulk cork, surrounded with velvet and with silk ribbons for laces.

This pair took longer than expected, through trials and tribulations, through sewing and re-sewing (none of which you will see here, of course!), and with some helpful hand-holding by Dr. Volken. In the end, I can say that I’m reasonably pleased with these, though if you squint your eyes, they do look a bit like a pair of shoes that a bad movie rendition of Frankenstein’s monster might have worn, all dolled up with velvet and silk, of course…perhaps his bride. 😉

You simply have to see how these things were created. Grab some coffee, tea, or a cocktail, and follow along with me, as I give you the whole story.

Double Wars – Shoemaking and More!

Monday, June 5th, 2017

I was recently honored to have been invited to Sweden, to teach shoemaking at a yearly event called Double Wars. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful and fantastic an experience this was, meeting so many new people, enjoying the time in the wilderness with absolutely marvelous weather, and getting to share the time with people who were so interested in shoemaking. And, as it turns out, the FĂȘtes Galantes 2017 in Versailles was being held the Monday directly after the event ended! I had no choice but to make plans to attend the gala as well (you’ll see more in the next post). I could not answer for you how delightful the trip was in ten thousand words, let alone one thousand, but the thousand will have to do:

At Double Wars (hereafter referred as DW), the primary point of the war was to decide upon which side the knÀckebröd should be buttered, the hole-y side or the flat side. As a staunch holey-side-butterer, I was dismayed that the flat siders won the war (again), but there will be other years! Now, onto shoemaking discussions and details.

Europe Part I: London, Oxford, Northampton

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

I’m a bit behind on posting about my recent travels to Europe, but I hope that the scope and content of this do end up making up for it. My original plan was to visit four museums, both the V&A and Museum of London, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the Northampton Museum. Unfortunately, the MoL was unable to accommodate my visit due to a last minute project, but I still was able to get in quite a bit of work. Unfortunately, I’m unable to post/publish my photos of the work specifically, as I had promised that I would not publish them in any real way, but I don’t think that the Ashmolean will object to me posting a selfie of myself with a shoe that I’d been lusting to see for many years. =) This is the 1600s shoe after which the “Stratfords” were designed.


Fabric Shopping in Tokyo – Nippori Fabric Town

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

So, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from shoes to work on other projects (repairing house stuff, sewing, etc.) and in case you were not aware, I actually have to work for a living, more is the pity. It does have a few perks, though, other than keeping a roof over my head and the cat fed. This time, it’s a trip to Japan, and I’m fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Japan for a bit of sight-seeing and tourist-y stuff. This post focuses primarily on my trip to Nippori Fabric Town. Now, there are a lot of blogs out there that talk about their trip to Nippori Fabric Town with stunning amazement at the wide selection and the number of stores. If you’re interested in scarves, jeans, quilting, or anything that is remotely modern, then I suppose this is a fair assessment. The moment you start looking for materials suitable for the 18th century and before…well, aside from the restaurants with really good noodles, I’m afraid that I’ll have to disappoint you.

It started off favorably – a very easy trip to Nippori station from Shinagawa, and pretty much right out of the station, I saw a sign!

Well, it was a specific sign telling me I was on the right track. Now…where did the signs lead me?