Here I am in Asland, Oregon working with Bill Shanor at Bonney & Wills. We are 2 days in to our 7 day intensive shoe making workshop – the fashion pump. So far I’ve learned to measure the foot, select and customize a last, make an insole pattern and design a shoe.
You can follow my daily journey on my travel blog . I’ll be expanding on each day of shoe making fun for the next few weeks here. I’ll trace the birth of my first pumps in-depth with lots of images and no holds barred commentary.
In addition to the 1-day sandal making workshop I took last summer, I also took a 2-day shoe design workshop at Prescott & Mackay, lead by Aki Choklat. I wanted to learn the process and pick up some more drawing tools. I hate drawing and I’m not that great at it. I much prefer to work things through in collage or 3 dimensions. It was enlightening and in the end I didn’t do so badly. My shoe is much like my mission “badass & beautiful” with a unique heel detail.
I’ve been working hard to set up my new shoe making studio and I’m nearly there. I hope to devote 30 minutes a day to drawing and I am sure I will see a great deal of improvement with practice.
I am also sure I will mostly design on a last in 3-D (otherwise knows as draping) as you can see in this image. I was working out how many straps there would be, where they would fall on the foot, how wide the center strap would be and where elastic would need to go to get the foot in and out of the shoe.
I’m waiting for a 3D printer/milling machine from Fabtotum. I hope to try and make this heel and toe cap when that arrives.
Last August I was thrilled to take my first shoe-making workshop, a one-day sandal making class offered by Prescott & Mackay in London. I arrived bright and early to the shop and joined 3 other women for the workshop. In 6 hours, I’d have a pair of sandals!
We started with a bit of an overview of the day and the process. We were shown some completed sandals that all in all were a bit disappointing, but I was not going to let that stop me. If making a boring sandal was what I had to do, that is what I would do. After all, I was there to learn how to MAKE the sandal, not DESIGN the sandal.
We were shown our shoe components and then headed downstairs to the workshop. There we saw some pre-made straps and cords we could use. The straps require some preparation, so that part was completed for us. It would have been too much to do in the 6 hour time frame. There were straps of various widths that could go over the foot, around the heel and up the back. Colors were right up my alley, red, pewter metallic and black.
Our first task was to find materials to cover our wedges. There was a big bin of left over leathers and the 4 of us dug through. This was a very interesting part of the process. Three of us took a bit of time and gave each other feedback as we made our choices. I really enjoyed this back and forth as it added a design element to the experience.
Shocking, I know – I settled for a black leather with pewter print. Of course I didn’t need another pair of black sandals, but I knew I’d wear black and pewter sandals and not the brown and ivory that I had also selected. We worked through the process step by step, cutting leather with a scalpel, gluing components, pressing the shoes. There were more design decisions to make along the way.
It was a great day and while the shoes are a bit large and I did make a few mistakes. I left the tacks in one of my sandals before pressing them. Luckily Melissa, my instructor, was able to pull them out through the insole. She says I should use the 2 dots as part of my brand.
I am proud of what I made and I wear them. It was also wonderful to see the breadth of shoes from three of the four of us. Each has a different aesthetic and every pair would work in a high end retailer.