We train professionals! Mentoring a student from Hout- en Meubileringscollege

Wij Leiden Vakmensen Op

Wij Leiden Vakmensen Op! We train professionals! I’m also a “recognized training company” (Erkend Leerbedrijf).

From February until April, I provided an internship for Owen van den Berg. He is a student in his final year at Hout- en Meubileringscollege in Amsterdam. (HMC – The College of Woodworking and Furniture). The school also offers programs in footwear, hats and bags. Owen was here fulfilling one of his required internships in the “Creative Craftsman” program.

I’ve taught many classes and workshops, but this is the first formal internship I’ve done since working with a student from the Arbor School back in 2009. I applied for and received certification from the college in the Netherlands so I could offer him this internship. While Owen came to me as a student, as a senior, he also arrived with many years of training and experience.

It just so happened that our time was full of new clients and shoes at various stages for existing clients. I was able to teach him some techniques that are essential to custom shoe making – like measuring feet and adjusting for fit – but are not often taught in programs that approach making footwear in a more generic way.

I’ve developed methods for rapid prototyping that his school had not heard of. He thinks they’ll start to use my techniques in the future. I learned plenty from Owen as well. It was great to have someone to provide a second opinion and a second set of eyeballs when looking things over.

Several years ago, I got a Jones and Vining keychain fob last. I’ve always enjoyed looking at it, but I never made a shoe on it. To my eye, it looked like a real last which had been scaled down to miniature, but still more or less functional, if your feet are that small. Owen decided to try to make a pair of boots on it. We worked together through some of the issues like what to use for an insole, outsole and heel. Owen used the same technique for making patterns on full sized lasts to make the profiles and patterns for this one.

Tiny boot pattern pieces

He cut and sewed the upper, lasted it and put it together like a real shoe. He also left the pattern pieces with me in case I ever wanted to make it again. Thanks Owen!

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