I received a copy Kunst, Aufräumen, or “The Art of Cleanup” for my birthday some time ago. Check it out if you haven’t already. It featured all sorts of things “cleaned up” or deconstructed from their otherwise “messy” natural state. For example, organizing from a bowl of alphabet soup a an alphabetized and sorted grid of all the letters and carrot pieces. I really enjoyed the book and all of Ursus Wehrli’s clever images. When I made this pair of oxfords, I wanted to try something similar.
It wasn’t until I tried to make an organized image that I understood how much systematic thinking it takes to be as organized as Wehrli. I’ve got a long way to go. The image I made includes all all the parts that went into these shoes. There are at least two of everything. This pair was built using cement construction. These shoes are unlined, so they do not include the quarter, tongue and vamp liners. If they were welted, there would be a few more parts still. The upper is hand dyed top finished vegetable tanned Italian leather. Here’s the parts list from left to right:
- Wooden pegs (10)
- Tongue (2)
- Laces (2)
- Spring steel shank (2)
- Vamp (2)
- Toe cap (2), Toe box (2)
- Inside Quarter (2), Outside Quarter (2)
- Backstrap (2), Heel counters (2)
- Vibram rubber heel cap (2)
- Heel lifts (4, 2 per shoe)
- Leather Insole (2), Leather Sole (2)
It takes nice uppers to make nice shoes. Learn how to cut, trim, finish, assemble and sew uppers. This has traditionally been referred to as “clicking and closing.” Come learn how on May 23-24, 2015. Details on the Workshops page.
There is a new schedule of workshops and finally a mailing list to go with them. The Profiles and Patterns workshop will be held Saturday May 2 2015, from 10am to 4pm. I hope to see you there.
The Portland Art Museum has invited me back for two more presentations as part of their “Italian Style” exhibit. These are special Member’s Night events. Look for me downstairs in the “Crafting Fashion” area from 5pm to 8pm.
I will be giving a presentation on Italian leather and teaching a free introduction to shoe design on February 7, the opening day of the Portland Art Museum’s new exhibit “Italian Style.” Look for me downstairs in the “Crafting Fashion” area from 1pm to 5pm.
These shoes were for a female client who wanted a woman’s shoe without compromises. She likes knitting and needlepoint so I tried to put something special into the design for her. This derby design with English quarters features an ornamental stitch similar to a wheat ear embroidery stitch on the wing tip toe cap and bottom quarter lines. Welted construction, Italian vegetable tanned dark red leather upper and vegetable tanned leather liner. Vegetable tanned leather insole and outsole. Natural finish leather heels. Braided outsole stitch.
Derby design with French quarters. Welted construction, Italian vegetable tanned brown leather vamp and blue quarters. Leather insole and midsole. Vibram Gumlite outsole for a little extra cushion. Casual or formal? I think it’s right on the edge. The rubber sole and the more rounded curve of the toe suggests it’s more casual than formal.
Date: Sunday, March 30
Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Location: Halo Shoes – 938 NW Everett St., Portland, Oregon
Learn about the interdisciplinary pursuit that is making shoes by hand. I will show how measurements lead to a last which gives rise to a pattern that can be made into a shoe. Along the way we’ll visit the diverse world of shoemaking including design, drawing, sewing, sculpture, biology, chemistry, physics and math.
Please feel free to drop in and stay for a while or stay for the whole presentation. I will make time for questions and answers so bring your burning shoe questions!
Classic Derby design with English quarters. Welted construction, brown Italian vegetable tanned leather upper, leather insole and Rendenbach leather outsole. Check out the natural color braided hand stitching on the welt. (Thanks for our friends at A&E for the hand sewing thread) Top line is extra high to allow for orthotic insert.
Tim Becker from KOIN TV came to talk with me about the process of making custom shoes and decided to try to capture the process from beginning to end. As it happened, I was just beginning work on a new design that would be the green and brown gibson boot. I really liked that Tim and his camera man Bill were so interested in the process. They spent a lot of time in my shop filming, but also learning and asking questions about the process. They would have had to film every day for a week and a half to record everything that goes into it. There are definitely some gaps and this is not really a step-by-step documentary, but I think they did a great job capturing the complex process that is making a pair of custom shoes and the complex feelings that go with it. Here is the piece they put together which aired March 5, 2013.
Note that even though the nice TV anchors suggest you take care of your custom shoes (which you should) and not wear them in the rain, good leather shoes hold up fine in the rain, including the green and brown boots.