Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 25 May 2018

Afternoon Tea at Buckingham Palace

Welcome back good shoe folk and what a frantic few weeks its been. Relieved in the knowledge that the master is well and truly on the mend, I was able to swan off for a wonderful time spent following a very English tradition - afternoon tea. 

The fact that it was at Buckingham Palace only added to the delight! The celebrations were for HRH The Prince of Wales' patronage - he supports hundreds of charities - including QEST, the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association which, I am proud to say, supported me in my shoe making training many many years ago.

Looking across the pond to the gardens

Relieved to be let in!

Chic nails don't hide the working hands 

My partner in crime for the afternoon, designer goldsmith and silversmith, Wayne Meeten

As you can see many, many organisation were represented

Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex gave a charming, teasing speech about his father before being harassed by a bee!

There were some wonderful uniforms from around the Commonwealth -
Ghurkas, Mountees and my favourites, the Scots Guards

Never off duty, I couldn't help admiring their spats...buttoned and boned?

As it was the Duke and Duchess of Sussex' first official engagement you can see how excited the crowd were to see them in person. 

I had no hope of seeing them, but Wayne was tall enough to take these lovely photos for me

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

One of my favourite scenes - the Yeomen of the Guard marching across the lawn

HRH The Prince of Wales meeting the crowds

Tributes were paid to those affected by the Manchester bombing

I loved the many gentlemen in top hats - a great look

 This was such a special occasion for us, so please forgive the lack of shoe news. Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 18 May 2018

One to One Shoe Making Training

One more time, we welcome you to our blog and hope that you have had a great week

After an amazing London Craft Week last week, we have returned to the workshop and started the week with a new one to one student, Marion, who will be here with us over the next two weeks to hand stitch a pair of shoes with us.
She did the degree in footwear at de Montfort University but wanted more knowledge of hand skills, so she turned to Carreducker

We take quite a few one to one students through the year and they come to us from anything from two weeks to a whole year. We also tailor their timetable to suit their lives, so they might come every day; one or more days per week; or some other combination. For example, we have a Korean shoemaker, Jove, who comes to us three afternoons per week for six months
They come from all sorts of backgrounds and countries and have very different levels of experience, from complete beginners to more experienced shoemakers.

Marion started the week with preparing the insole. Here it is soaked and the blocking process is beginning.

Next she let it dry and carved the holdfast/feather with her knife and made holes with her awl.

Next came lasting - skiving the puffs and stiffs, lasting the forepart; lasting the heel; lasting the forepart lining and toe puff; and finally shaping the puffs.

And she finished the week with welting which she thoroughly enjoyed - "I could do this all day". That's lucky because that is exactly what she has done today.

One shoe with the welting finished. She will finish the other one over the weekend.

One to one training is a fantastic way to learn. It is tailored to you and you can decide what to learn, from the basics of hand welting to a bevelled waist or storm welt. We are at your service!

We also offer much shorter spells to learn specific skills called masterclasses. These are aimed at more experienced shoemakers who want to learn a new technique.

So whether you are a complete beginner looking to make your first pair of hand welted shoes or a seasoned pro who wants to add another string to your bow, Carreducker can help. All you need to do is ask -

And that is it for this week. Until next time, happy shoemaking!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Carreducker Shoemaking School, the Launch

Hello once more, dear shoemaking folk f the world. Welcome back to the Carreducker blog, we hope you have had a good week

We have had a very busy week with London Craft Week, we had an event every day. Although, as you will see, things did not quite pan out as we had planned

The week started on Tuesday with a visit to Number 10 Downing St after an invitation from The Prime Minister to a drinks reception to celebrate the UK creative industries. We were there with a small display of bespoke shoes and a short demonstration of hand welting.
It was a great boost to be invited and we got to meet Theresa may briefly as she made the rounds to see all the amazing craft works on show.

Unfortunately they take your mobile phone from you so we were limited to a few official snaps

Wednesday saw us scheduled to speak at an event at the Leathersellers Hall organised by Cockpit Arts called Makers Stories - Live where they paired up craftsmen with other significant people in their professional lives. We were paired with the amazing Bill Amberg of Bill Amberg Studio who specialises in all things leather - interiors, accessories, furniture - the list is long.
The idea was that we shared our experiences of our professional interaction over the years - mentoring, support, information, introductions, inspiration etc and how this has helped our businesses grow and thrive.

This is where the week took a funny turn and we had to start improvising. On my way to the venue, I was knocked off my bike and broke my little finger which meant that I obviously couldn't go!

Unhappy shoemaker

Luckily Deborah and Bill, being consummate professionals, went on and carried the day. Apparently it was very interesting and well received, so thank you to the two of them for saving the day.

Courtesy of David Mirzoeff

This slight hitch meant that our plans for Thursday were also thrown out. I was supposed to be demonstrating at James Purdey And Son on South Audley Street in Mayfair to showcase the bespoke service which we offer there and Deborah was supposed to be preparing for our open day at the new carreducker Shoe Making School the following day. Obviously this was not possible so we reversed roles and Deborah made a great success of her day at Purdey where she described our wonderful craft; showed her hand welting skills and answered the questions of the curious public. Again, well done and thank you to her for saving the day!

I mopped floors, cleaned windows and filled the fridge with bubbly - the glamour! And with one hand.

And so to Friday and the official launch of our new shoe making school. We are super excited about this project and were thrilled to welcome people through the doors to see the place - finally!

We were open from 11am and had a steady stream of visitors through the day including students past and present, fellow tutors, friends and supporters of the business

Prestat Chocolates very kindly supplied us with a supply of delicious truffles, so a massive thank you to them.

Prestat Chocolates, yum, perfect for the Chocolate Studios

We showed our Design Museum film - thank you to Camilla Corr for your help.

Bill Amberg assessing the amazing student work on show

More Prestat chocs - yum!

And gorgeous George was suitably impressed

Several happy customers came in Carreducker boots to celebrate- we ,love you all!

The Barkan Family

 We had a display of the new courses we will be running including three small leather accessories - an iPad case, card case and key fob. These will be short Saturday courses, perfect for a taster of hand stitching.

And the 5 new styles available on our one day Blake stitched course in the five new colours - stylish. This will be a one day course and you will have a beautiful pair of leather shoes at the end of it. Roll up, roll up!

And at the far end of our beautiful new table, a selection of students past and present's shoes they have made with us - a very impressive display of handsewn shoe making.

And then from 6pm onwards we had a party! Yay. And it was awesome.

It was so lovely to have so many people share the new school with us and share in our exciting new venture. The place was buzzing.

And I think the school exceeded peoples' expectations which is always good. Guests said what a warm, inviting feel it had, but also how luxurious and professional it looked. Glowing I think you could call the feedback! And you can't argue with that.

We wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who came and to say what a thrill it was to have you there, to have the school full of people and to share our excitement with you. Long may it continue.

And so we are up and running. The new website will be live soon and you will be able to book the new classes we will be holding in the new school

Deborah and I can't wait to welcome you through the door

See you soon, guys

And until we meet you face to face, happy shoemaking!