Monthly Archives: February 2014
Which is coming with a story. So, some time ago, I was walking in NY with some friends and their friend – first time in my life there – and stepped into a fancy shoe store in Madison Avenue. They started a conversation with the salesman there, who was actually a shoemaker, just being there for educating customers, custom patina their shoes, etc. So at a certain part of the conversation, they were talking about what they do for living.. Banker, whatever.. then the salesman turned to me – “and you Sir, must be a shoemaker”. No, he was not a mentalist. How did he knew? We, shoemakers look the shoes at a different way, than other people – upside down. We are well aware, that upper making is a different craft (even if many of us practice it on a daily basis), so e start at the sole, heel, edge finishes. Not just shiny-shiny, looks good way, but as a sommelier tastes wine, enjoying every little bit of the taste. We know where most of our work goes – the finish. Everybody can make a decent welting, lasting after a certain time of part ice, but finishing is an art (even if I don’t like to use this word for what we do). Finishing is about skills, balance, control and concentration. This is the biggest challenge for most of all – one sloppy move is enough to make your shoes crap.
I love finishing, it almost like meditation. I love doing it alone, no chatting, no distraction, just me and the shoes. Years ago I made long list on my wall, which lists it step by step – so I can follow the same way all the time… and I never do.
So, enjoy the look of these shoes – just off the last, soon they will be on my customer’s foot, who hopefully happily will wear them for long years. A very moderate fiddleback, new, matt sole finish, a sole channel, what – I believe – only I do, new style from brass nails, and hidden welt (and bevelled) waist. The last is my old-new 224. (old as I designed it several years ago from a block of wood, new as I redesign it every single year a bit – some millimeters here and there). This one is 224/2013.
ps. new, professional pictures will come soon.
I think it not even necessary to explain how beautiful this leather is. By the way – they cut cut it off from the animals two different way – through the belly, so the back will be in center of the hide – we call them hornback and the other way around, cutting the back alongside – that is the belly. I prefer bellycuts (this is what you can see this picture). Shows the beauty of the skin, but not too rough. For technical reasons (let’s just mention skiving) this is less challenging than the other.
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I assume if is redundant o mention: this post is not written for people with sensitive stomach. Told ya.. Anyway: shoemaking is not for sensitive people. Shoemaking, like it or not, use animal hides, which come from animals. The good news, the hides are usually side products, as animals are killed for their meat. Not the alligators – in this case meat is the side product. Well… still a beautiful leather, hmm? I might have to make myself an alligator shoe eventually…
Alligator leather is one of the most expensive, most luxurious looking leather type for a good reason. It looks fabulous with the texture, the deep colors what you can achieve with the cheap printed cow, but somewhere deep inside every human being there is a string, which start to resonate the sound of the danger when you see those shapes.
Alligator is not of the endangered species – moreover there are over a million only in Florida, but still has a special status, which lets the government to control the hunting. There is a strict regulation for hunting them – the CITES ((the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The CITES is an international agreement between governments, making sure that endangered species are not threatened by hunters and after all us – craftsmen and customers. Long story short: your exotic skins, or at least most of them, should be tagged with a plastic band. Without that you shouldn’t buy them and the seller shouldn’t sell it. There is only a limited amount of those every year, available for alligator farmers and hunters.
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