Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 14 August 2009


Summer madness! Another micro-post this week as I am at home. The Other One is teaching the course this week, so I cannot enlighten and inform you. When I left they were about to start stitching the soles. Progress was good and I fully expect the heels to be underway on their beautiful handsewn bespoke shoes when I get back to class on Monday. I say beautiful because, fortunately, I can see the beauty in all shoes, however unconventional.

It's a very fine balance as to how hard to crack the whip in the first week. Unfortunately, the toughest jobs happen right at the beginning (sharpening knife, skiving, welting). 90 hours is usually just about enough to get the shoes finished, but the last day is very rushed. So I often say that "good enough" is the criterion for moving on. Students naturally want to do every stage perfectly, but this is just not practical. I leave certain things out, like side-linings, and then have to judge as to progress. I have a feeling that some of the students may finish early, but they can be given repeat tasks to practise. The other thing is that some students may sail through the harder sections (in the first week) and then struggle with the seemingly easier stages.

So it's a balancing act. Keeps me on my toes though.

Happy shoemaking!

1 comment:

Loafer said...

Hi, this is a rare posting from The Other One.

I thought that you would all like to know how the students have been getting on this week. It's been a juggling act trying to keep the class together...some have sailed ahead with the first stages and others are slower, but deliver consistently good work.

So for the last few days I've been cracking the 'whip of excellence'- making the faster students concentrate harder on achieving a better quality of work.

Half have finished stitching their soles with generally good results (just a few wobbles when concentration - or their threads! - broke). The others will finish over the weekend and so all will begin building heels with Mr Ducker on Monday.

I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results next Friday when we'll celebrate the students' achievements with photos of their shoes, bubbly and cake.