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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

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but you can call them blue suede, as you probably don’t know any songs about nubuck shoes, right? Anyway – a simple, casual derby for everyday, just to add a hint of color to your khakis, maybe jeans.

blue nubuck 2

 

blue nubuck derby


I participated in the HCC meeting in Guthrie, Oklahoma a few months ago. I was asked to do a presentation about any chosen topic – I thought the best one would be finishing, which is probably a constant challenge for most of us. I promised before I will upload the presentation, but let me just add a few thoughts about it.

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In advance let’s just get something straight. I started to write this post because of a recent transaction between a reputable small workshop and a huge investor… but.. It doesn’t reflect my opinion about that business (as I don’t know any detail it really can’t), it is only about this phenomenon. And this is only my opinion about THE phenomenon.

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So, here is the final schedule of the June course in NYC. No further changes will occur, I promise. 🙂

Men’s shoe making course – Level I.

Duration: June 14th – 18th (5-day course)

Tuition fee: 1495.00 USD

Program: making a pair of cemented men’s shoe

Men’s shoe making course – Level II.

Duration: June 21th – 25th (5-day course)

Tuition fee: 1795.00 USD

Program: making a pair of stitched-down men’s shoe

High Heel shoe making course

Duration: June 21th – 24th (4-day course)

Tuition fee: 1195.00 USD

Program: making a pair of cemented stilettoes

Shoe design and prototype making course

Duration: June 28th – July 2nd (5-day course)

Tuition fee: 1495.00 USD

Program: shoe design, prototype making (including: upper design, pattern making, choice of materials, etc.)

This course will be co-taught with Reka Vago, my colleague, whom I’ve mentioned a couple of times. She will          be sharing lots of  tips and her experience as a shoe designer.

The price includes every material needed for constructing one pair of selected type of shoes, as well as the use of tools. Complete toolkits and single pieces of tools are also available for purchase.

Please register at the address below as soon as you’ve made up your minds, cuz the spots are filled up quickly. 🙂

http://www.rosenbaumsny.com/Summer2010.htm


Well, I believe I don’t need to introduce Lisa to a footwear fanatic. She is most probably one of the best wester boot maker – if she is not THE best. Anyway her work is amazing in every small detail. Even if I am not a big western boot fan, I admit the craftsmanship and the quality, and Lisa’s work is amazing and inspiring. Maybe I will make a western boot.. 🙂 Watch Lisa, here I come! 😀

Watch that beauty in Lisa’s hand!

We met last weeking in Stockholm in my friend’s (Carine) workshop in Gamlastan (old city). Only a few hours, but we had a nice conversation about the differences between shoe- and bootmaking.


Frankly: teaching student is loosing energy, time and a lot efforts, if you can make bespoke shoes in the same time. But teaching is not just for business. It is not a short term income – this is duty for the CRAFT you get everything from. Knowledge is not your property (even if it seems o be like that), but  a gift, a loan you get from your master, but you have to give back to your apprentices. This is my ars poetica about the knowledge I have, so I teach, even if it is not a good business. (OK, don’t pity my – I just say, that it is not the most effective way to make money).

Fake Knowledge

And let’s talk about the title of this post: fake knowledge. If you want to learn a traditional craft, you pay a lot: your time, your holiday – away from your work, hotels, travelling, course fees. And there are schools, teachers, courses, you enter and you come away with a useless, stupid knowledge about footwear (because I cannot call them SHOES). Most of these guys never start to make shoes anymore! Let me explain you this with an easy example, before someone start to conveniece me, that fake knowledge if enough for a hobby crafter. (no)

If you want to go to English speaking country, you must prepare yourself with some basic sentences, words – so you go to a school. Can you imagine the situation, when you arrive, then you realize that your knowledge doesn’t worth a shit? You can’t talk, explain yourself, not even read a sentence, people don’t understand you. So, what is the problem? You don’t want to be a translator no? Just a “hobby” traveller..

That is my problem. Don’t consider yourself only a hobby crafter. You are a beginner – you start to go on a road, which should lead to the good direction, and that is your masters responsibility – but choosing your master is yours. So choose carefully!

How to Choose Your Teacher?

I would suggest, to consider these:

  1. Select someone to teach you a craft who is a certified craftmen. I don’t mean a master – that is almost impossible to find, but at least a proper certificate should be on the wall. You can practice a craft without certification, but DON’T TEACH.
  2. Check her/his products! That is what you want to make? As a customer would you pay for it? Do you think you can learn it in a few days? (then go away quickly)
  3. Does she/he practice the craft in real life or just teach? Why she/he doesn’t make products for sell? (don’t believe “commited to teach” bullshit)
  4. Talk other students! Are they happy with the knowledge they got? Do they continue that craft? Do they get support from their teacher after the course?
  5. Is she/he respected by other craftsmen in the trade? If not why not?

How Was it in the Good Old Days?

Easily:

if you were a master you could run a workshop.

If you had certificate in a craft you could make products.

If you didn’t have any certificate, and you made products from that craft – you were went away from that city and you lost all of your properties. You could wirk a lot as a fake craftsman.

And How it is Now?

In the United States you can claim that you are a shoemaker, even master shoemaker without any certificate. This is sad for me. There are no excuse for that – and I heard many: “we are a young nation, we don’t have traditions”.. bullshit. That always makes me mad. My family is in the leathercaft for many generations. We always lived for perfection, and I have to face with fake craftsmen in the 21st century. My poor grandpa – better that you don’t see this.

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ps. I didn’t mentioned names and schools – please don’t do that in posts.  And I would like to say: there are good teachers and good schools. Find those ones!


I found this The Independent article very interesting. Maybe I should focus on High Heels only? Hmm.. (No. I won’t. But I will definately make some.)

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/news/bespoke-boom-demand-surges-for-handmade-shoes-1816857.html