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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking


I have a great news – finally we have inseaming awls and channel knives back to stock!

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Beside that I have an other great news – all customer, who purchase over 100 USD, will receive a complimentary Shoemaking DVD.

This one:

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Here we go again, continuing the derby shoes. To make sure that the adjustment is perfect, we need to use the paper pattern again, and mark the overlaps with a silver pen.

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First things first – let’s check if we have everything. Pattern pieces – even we clicked the leather, we still need them for marking the overlaps, folding, etc.

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This is a long and heated conversation between the industry professionals. The question sounds like this: what is “handmade”? Makers, like me (and many others, working with their hand and tools only), would answer this way:  “surely handmade is a product which is made by hand entirely”. Sounds logical, isn’t it? It is so funny that a machine, which makes the work way easier, can change that opinion rapidly. A sole stitcher, a line finisher tends to plant idea in people’s mind that their product is still handmade, as “everybody use those anyways”*. Once I have a conversation with an investor (not my investor – that is actually me, and only me) and he had a valuable opinion about it. He thought that there is no really handmade anyways. (let me put this here: there is. But really very rare). He thought that even the case of high end shoes the upper are machine stitched, skived, the sole is machine sanded, etc. So after all – he said – all the shoes are partially machine made. To be very correct, he used this philosophy to justify a welting and sole stitching machine in his “handmade’ process.

We must admit – handmade sounds good. Just like “natural”, “healthy” or “organic”. These are those words which can sell a product, even justify a higher price tag. Why wouldn’t we use it then, right? Let’s be realistic: there is no control. Companies, as long as they can, will use “handmade”. Customers – well, they have no idea. They believe those labels, printed on fancy recycled papers (and a company which that much environment conscious MUST be honest in the same time, right?).

Here is what WE can do. First of all: we have to be honest in a World which is not honest. Instead of coming up with new and vague terms, let’s be specific.

 

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Diamond cutter and polishers (diamantaire) is a rare and very highly appreciated craft, which needs a lot of training, special skills and equipment – for a good reason. They work with one of the most precious and hardest treasure of Earth, diamonds. When they find those stones, they are not beauty, pretty much look like a big piece of broken glass, but the beauty is somewhere in there. A professional can cut it to pieces, polish it and create a million dollar masterpiece.
This is my latest piece, which made me feel like one of those experts. I used a very precious leather – alligator, and not just any – a huge beast, approx.  4.5-5 meters long. It was wild caught, full with scars, healed injuries, marks of figthing. Alligators in this size are usually 30 years old, and can weight over a half ton.

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This shape is kind of rare. First of all: not the latest fashion, except western boots and women shoes. It doesn’t mean you can’t find this style in the bespoke fashion. Here is an example. I am not saying it is only possible by hand, but for a nice result – that s the way. It took me a shamefully long time to make it, but it was very a meditative, very satisfying process.

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I also made a slight change with the transition between the bevelled waist and the heel. I think I am going to do it this way from now.

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This is what we are going to see today – a shoe render with a simple way.

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