a mule. I bought many cheap Asian home footwear, but no one of them can be used more than a few months (sometimes even weeks), and all of them are made from full synthetic materials, causing swetting feet.. So I asked myself: I am a shoemaker, why I don’t make these things for myself? I bought a piece of lamb leather with fur on, and used the pieces of leather – left from other works and designed a pair of mules. OK, it is a but exaggerate to call it design – so I found out how to make footwear from it… and I did it. I made it symmetrical (no left, no right), and soft. A bit more heavy than a cheap Chinese version, but it just shows, that there are real materials in it: leather, fur, cork.. and a bit of handwork.
déjà vu means the feeling that you were in that the situation previously. Here is the story:
when I finished the shoemaker school I wanted to practice sheomaking in real life, so I was searching a workplace as a shoemaker. Frankly: in that certain period shoemaking industry started to shrink in Hungary, and I could have find an other job much easier and for bigger salary. Finally I went to work to a ballet shoemaker workshop. I must admit: that is something, what I never did before, even I had 3 years intensive shoemaking practice behind my back! Balett shoes are made by really ancient technologies – symmetrical last (no left, no right), and turnout technology. That is something. You put all the stiffners (a ot – believe me), last the shoes, sew it all around, then out out the last and turn out. If you wasn’t that quick – no chance you can do it. (there are other technologies, but we used this at that time)
18 years passed.. and I met with an old collague from that place. We drunk a coffe and decided to go there to see if anything happend from that place. The house looked like left yor years.. no. Frankly: it was looking like a house after a bomb attack after years. And what I seen? The workshop is still there, closed, but as I can look throught the very dirty window – everything on its place: furnitures, machines, even pictures on the walls. I couldn’t believe. History stopped in that workshop for 15 years!
to be continued.. (sorry I need to work a bit 🙂 )
Sometimes I just realise how much time I can spend to finish a pair of shoes – from the point the heels are bulided, “only” painting, waxing, sole painting, decoration etc. is left. One of my friend – makes only RTW dance shoes – can finish his products in minutes. I don’t mean it bad: dance shoes are not for elegant dresses, but dancing on a dusty stages, so fancy, shining heel is really not a demand. For me: this is the most challenging part of shoemaking: I always try to approach the PERFECT finish. And I never can.. some small stain on the sole (it will be dirty after the first step), etc, etc.. I could continue the small details.
This is a relatively old customer: this is his 3rd pair in this year. He knows very exactly what he needs: French boxcalf, double sole, English sewn on his bespoke last.
I had to work in the weekend in the workshop. There are two reasons for that:
1. there was a short term student coming to learn the basics, so we needed every minute
2. I had to finish some orders until christmas (I can’t).
At the end of the day – when my student was kind of professional in sharping the knive (and had all the fingers), half professional in cutting and very beginner in lasting a strange guy came into the worshop, asking if I have any work for him… he was a orthopedic shoemaker. I get happy – I hav e a lot of work, and now I have someone intending to work for me! wow! Unfortunately he didn’t have any experience in hand stitched shoes, so he would be just an other student.. so I will continue all alone.
Tomorrow will be ready with an other pair (urgent work). I promise I will post it.
When I decided to step into the rtw market, I was sure that I want to start with a traditional English style oxford, just I didn’t find the right last. I was searching for months for this, but without success. Finally I just realised that I know exactly, what I need (when I mean exactly, I really mean it) – why don’t I start to make it on my own? So made a new last from my 801 modell, and made a pair of straight cut oxford on it. I think this is a shoe for those, who never have any bespoke shoes, but they want to have something like that. .. and this is really like that – 100% handmade, high end quality leathers, no synthetic stuff in it. Leather, leather..
Let’s start with a sneak peak picture. I made it today, when I was about leaving. I thought some people would be interested to see what I am working on..
These are my actual orders.. Some of them are just laying on the last, without stiffners, some are lasted, waiting for welting and finishing.
First in the row: a new adlaide (I hope it is the name in English). Nothing special…except its material, which is VERY special. The leather has been tanned in Soviet Union, many years ago. Half veg-tannad, hal chrome. Most probably this leather is made for the high ranked army officals’ boot. Almost 2 mm thick, very durable, perfect for bespoke shoes. I have only a few hides from an old shoemaker, no more will come or appear on the market most probably.
Second is a chukka – for myself. Winter is coming. 🙂
Then a straight cut oxford, and an other wholecut from the mentioned material.
This is the method for fixing the upper to the insole, without synthetic (or any) glue. This method is really ancient (I will teach it in my NY course). If someone wants to have something really special – he can have it. Goes to pegged shoes.
[B](There are anyone here who thought about why shoemaker prefers pegged shoes, instead of sewn?
I met many old masters in the last few years, and almost all of them wear pegged shoes.. hmm. [/B]
Finally a nice story about my calf-stingray oxford I posted before:
The customer of this shoes didn’t take it on yet. Actually he keeps it in the display cabinet (?). Very nice from him, very low efficient advertisement for me… 😦
I decided to continue blogging here, instead of Styleforum.net – which hosted my blog, as a thread, but to tell the truth, wasn’t so practical to follow (or frankly impossibile after a certain point). Anyway: thanks styleforum for that!