Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Independent Shoemakers Conference 2018

Welcome back good shoe making folk of the world. We enjoyed a wonderful trip to the seaside at the weekend - bracing winds, fresh air and plenty of shoe making talk - when we attended the 21st Shoemakers Conference on the south coast in Eastbourne. A huge thank you to Dominic and Steve for a great industry day out!

We caught up with and heard talks by Carreducker Shoe Making School alumni Marika Verploegh Chasse and Tom Murphy; Marika is making beautiful colourful shoes in Brooklyn and teaching at FIT and RISDE (Rhode Island School of Design) and Tom and his wife Fay have launched Chapter2 creating the most desirable, luxury leather soled children's shoes. 

There were generous skill-sharing demonstrations from Daniel and Neus from Gaziano; on geometric pattern cutting techniques from Martin and Hartmut; on Norwegian welting from Mariano; health tips from Marsha Hall; an insight into his business and the role played by social media from Sebastian Tarek; an insight into her design approach from Marika; and the history of SC Hall leathers. The day closed with optimistic talk of apprenticeships from Adele at Trickers and Richard and Jayne of the British Footwear Association. 

Here's a brief photo story from the day...

Welting block

Surprise! Tor boots

Favourites...a boot and shoe selection

Patina tips from Neus


Geometric pattern making

A blustery Eastbourne

Insole examples

Norwegian welting
The Conference also saw the launch of the David Xavier award in honour of a legend in the industry...whose generosity in sharing his knowledge many of the older shoemakers at the conference had experienced. With that in mind, we would like to say how sorry we were to hear of the death of an old shoemaking friend last month, Jean Claude Bidi - former student, lecturer at London College of Fashion and lovely chap. Our thoughts are with his young family.

Looking ahead, the Conference next year is being hosted by Tony Slinger in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Harrogate. There's already a lot of interest so do book soon if you'd like to attend. There's a link on Tony's website.

Until next week, happy shoemaking.