Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 18 September 2010

new cd corporate car? we settled for this one. on Twitpic

new cd corporate car? we settled for this one. on Twitpic

new cd corporate car? we settled for this one. on Twitpic

With Mr D keeping you updated on the wonderful guys at Springline it has been left to me to fly the flag for carreducker ar Goodwood Revival. We are sharing a stand with Farnham tailor Eloise Grey. We have made three of her beautifull Isle of Mull tweeds into Winker resort shoes which wr are showing alongside Harris and Dashing tweeds.

Along with her coats and jackets and our bespoke shoes the stand looks great. Add some Cole & Son Ex Libris wallpaper and our reading room styling is complete and attracting admiring comments and photos...thankfully the shoes and clothes are being admired too. It is always a lot of work to create a welcoming environment edpecislly when we are working with canvas walls and roof.

Revivalists (if that is the correct collective) are a great bunch of people, full of bonhomie (and champagne!) and a more elegant crowd hasn't been seen for a good 60 years. It just goes to show how splendid men look in a well cut suit or in uniform! I am a down to earth sort of girl - I make shoes after all - but even I come over all unecessary with a man in uniform! It being ladies day today there are some very elegant ladies about. The best have period hair and make up and accessories. Today at Goodwood men are men and women are women - if only life were always so simple.

In the mean time we are having a fine old time plane and car spotting. There are some beauts as you can see. Limited petrol head celeb spots so far, but hopefully they will venture through the tunnel tomorrow for a spot of recreational shopping.

The show is open from 7 to 7 so we are doing long days and i am bombing around the Sussex countryside in a transit van! Wish it was something more glamorous - maybe next year? We are both at Origin next week from Thursday so more news from there as well as shoemaking tips!

I can hear a Hurricane preparing for take off so time for me to sign out. Come by to say hello at Origin if you are attending. T.O.O

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Trip To Northampton

It's true fellow shoemakers, sometimes I am not hunched over my table all day, messing up my back. Occasionally I leave the workshop and see the sky, the countryside, other people! Well, today was one of those days.

I took a trip up to Northampton, home of English shoemaking. Accompanied by my trusty apprentice of the last two weeks Seiji, we visited our last maker and leather merchant.

We are currently in the middle of a design project, so we need three new lasts to make the samples on. This requires a visit to Springline, the last remaining last manufacturers in England (I think, however, I would love to be proved wrong). Derek in the Model Room is very helpful and we spent a couple of hours looking through the archive. This is a thing to behold - hundreds of lasts on shelves gathering dust, lots of dust (more than used to that though).
Now, this may not sound very interesting, but to a shoe nerd like me, it is heaven. It really inspires the imagination. Lasts are objects of beauty. Seriously.

It can be a bit dazzling, and after a while, you stop seeing the lasts properly. Fortunately, you are allowed to photograph prospective lasts and make your final choice at your leisure. One thing to bear in mind when choosing lasts is that the finished shoe will look much softer because of the leather, toe puff etc. But it is really interesting and a lot of fun.

Springline makes lasts for the industry and also bespoke lasts by hand. They have four and a half skilled craftsmen working on the handmade side of things. They also make bespoke trees. I saw Derek in the middle of making some 3 piece boot trees for a client of ours. He showed me the rough turned obeche wood model and a finished boot tree he uses to help get it right. Our client's last is on the right.

Last maker at his bench.

The Model Room at Springline.

By the way, we found some amazing lasts, including some beautiful vintage ones. You have no idea how exciting this all is.

The other place we visited was A&A Crack and Sons where I bought some tan Scotch grain and some glace kid for linings. They have more leather than you could look at in one day, including most of the box calf we use on our shoes. It is a family run business and they are very patient.

All in a very successful trip.

Now, here's the thing. The Other One is, as we speak, on the South Downs at the Goodwood Revival selling Winkers, Limited Editions and measuring up bespoke clients. If yo're lucky, we may get a post with some pics of the event.

So, that is all from me. Until next week, happy shoemaking.