Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 28 September 2018

Norwegian welt boots and Forge & Carve

Welcome back good shoe folk. Here they are, portraits of two rightly proud shoemakers with their fantastic Norwegian-welted boots. Congratulations to Mathilde and Natalya! 

We're continuing the theme of making and celebrating, but talking all things craft, not just shoes, with a preview of the new book we're proud to have been included in, Forge & Carve.

As we sadly couldn't make it to the official launch in the wilds woodlands of Worcester we had our own drinks last week at 50...a mini-launch if you like. 

A massive thank you to everyone who popped in to toast the publication, to have a leaf through and to even buy a copy and get it signed. (That was a first for both of us...a book signing...who would have thought!) 

And a massive thank you and congratulations to the team at Canopy Press for such a beautiful production and print job. We felt in safe hands from the start and the resulting book reflects feels as good as it looks!

Rather than give you a blow by blow account of the book (that would defeat the object and joy of buying a copy) instead below is a glimpse of each section. We've included links where we could to the craftsmen's websites and social media. 

We hope that, like us, you too will be enthused by and drawn to this series of fascinating stories and wonderful photography that offers such an engaging and enticing behind-the-scenes look into their lives and workshops.

(And yes, this was when we decided to do the book, when Robin Wood's name was mentioned. Robin is the man most-oft fighting craft's corner in Westminster and who turns a mean handle, bowl and his hand to pretty much anything!)

So here they are...

Matt Jenkins - @cloverdaleforge

Ben Orford @benandloisorford

John Neeman - @autine_johnneeman

 E J Osborne - @hatchetandbear

Eamonn O'Sullivan 

Yoav Elkayam - @yoav.kafets

Franz Josef Keilhofer - @gingerwoodturner

Ruth Pullan - @ruthpullanleathergoods

Peter Faulkner

Mary Tove Lindas - @marytovelindas

Tony Hitchcock - @thetrugmaker

Mitch Iburg - @mitchiburgceramics

Sarah Pike - @sarahpikepottery

Simon van der Heijden - @heijdenvdsimon

But the book also has a serious job to do. 

Crafting is experiencing a renaissance as skills and knowledge are shared via social media, for the escapism that it offers in the modern day and as a much-needed outlet for creativity. It is this renaissance that brings a serious message to the fore and that is this, the value of knowledge.  In 2003 UNESCO introduced the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage not just on conserving items but on passing on knowledge and expertise. 

Over 100 countries agreed to the convention, but at the moment the UK is not one of them. 

So why not join the movement to preserve those century-old skills...and bag yourself a copy of Forge & Carve? We'll have more copies on sale soon. 

What next for us? Will it be axe making, bow making or broom making?  For now, until next week, just happy shoe making.