Back to my Journey

It's time to get back to my journey and sharing it with you. I've had a very shoe- centric 3 months. It's been exciting and exhilarating and best of all, I've carved a path forward with my business. As many of you know, I had not been able to practice my shoe making skills. My full-time job and personal issues were keeping me very busy. Last summer, I  made a decision to make some big changes that would allow me to focus on shoe making. I've stepped down from my full-time teaching position as of August 31, 2016. I've beefed up my consultancy, ONO made in the 191. I attended a Shoe Symposium in Ashland, Oregon and re-connected with my teacher Bill Shanor from Bonney & Wills. The biggest gain from this experience was a bunch of small quantity suppliers. These relationships have been critical in my path forward. I also made a connection with Iron Horse Boots who has a similar business model to me. I am hopeful we can collaborate and support each other as we move forward. Since May, I've been working on making. I started with a recycled sandal and since have moved into 6 styles of women's sandals. I'll share each with  you in my next posts. The plan is to work on my craft, work through prototyping and have the prototypes tested. So far so good. I'm concentrating on cement construction just now.
Singer Post Bed
Vintage Singer Post Bed Machine on a Reading Table.
The next batch will include sewing with my fabulous new (to me) Singer Post Bed Machine. I'm partnering with screenprinter/bag maker, Tim Eads. His fabric, my designs to make a men's loafer style deck shoe and women's espradrilles. The bases have just arrived via Esty. I'm back and ready to share my journey with you. Sit back and enjoy.

Works of Art in Leather

Moreschi The Italian Art of Shoemaking Works of Art in Leather book coverEye candy - works of art in leather. It's arrived. Thank you Amazon Prime. Welcome to my bookshelf - Moreschi The Italian Art of Shoemaking: Works of Art in Leather, edited by Cristina Morrozi, photographed by Giò Martorana and produced by Rizzoli.  This book traces the heritage of artisan culture & craft in Italian shoe production using the premiere brand, Moreschi as a model. Known for exacting standards and unique style, Moreschi produces every pair of shoes from design stage to retailer on-site. Breathtakingly beautiful for your coffee table. Instructive for the shoe purist.

 

Cowboy boots never go out of style

Custom Cowboy Boots
Custom Cowboy Boots
Invest in a versatile shoe, the cowboy boot that never goes out of style. Whether you choose an authentic bespoke model, Ariat, or a designer urban style, this is one of the best investments you will make.
Urban Cowgirl
Donald Pliner, Urban Cowgirl
     
Statement Ariat
Statement Ariat
These boots are stylish. Many sport a pointed toe that elongates the leg. The heel is a sensible height and sturdy. The range of designs are prolific. There is something for everyone and a good pair really will last forever. Cowboy boots go from casual to office to fancy dress. Quality boots can be endlessly repaired and the best part is they look just as good weathered as new.

Star Wars for real at Irregular Choice

Star Wars by Irregular Choice
Star Wars R2D2 by Irregular Choice
Irregular Choice has been one of the most inspired and unique shoe companies since 1999. Offering creative shoes at an affordable price, influenced by fantasy and travel, predominantly in Asia and Japan, Dan Sullivan hit the news wire this week with the introduction of the Star Wars collection featuring styles that reference the Jedi, Darth Vadar, the Death Star, Chewbacca, C-P30, Yoda and more. Many styles are sold out. Get what's left while they last.
R2D2 heel by Irregular Choice
R2D2 heel by Irregular Choice
Sullivan doesn't follow fashion trends or competitive brands. His philosophy is to be original and create stand out shoes. Using ornate heels (like the R2D2 featured on the Star Wars shoe), charms, and interesting color and textural combinations, Sullivan creates over 600 styles each year. Irregular Choice is one of my favorite brands for statement shoes. I own a couple of booties that suit my style. They invite comments whenever I wear them. They add a little Asian to my style. Let them work a little magic on yours.

Shoe Making 101: A shoe is born

soles
Louis soles cover the sole and heel.
This week we return to my shoe making journey that is coming to an end and my shoe is born. With heels fixed we attached our soles. These are known as Louis soles as they cover the bottom of the shoe and wrap around the inside of the heel. The shoe is then finished with a heel cap.     I'd like to take a short aside here to note that I chose a kitten heel which is about 2". The heel height is determined by the last, but you can push the height a bit giving you a range of heel options. My last was made for about at 3" heel. My choice of 2" heel gives my shoe more toe spring, meaning the toe angles up a bit. I personally like the look and feel of a bit more toe spring so this is a win for me.
shoes complete
A shoe is born
With the lasting complete, we can take a good look at my pumps and see how I fared. You can really see the metallic leather wrinkling. That leather just did not want to become a shoe! This was a great lesson for me about hides and leathers. There are so many places where leather can go wrong. The animal could have had a poor hide. The tanning process could have contributed. The finishing process (adding the metallic) could have contributed. I was too far down the road in a structured class to fix it, so I will wear them proudly. I don't think anyone will be on the floor checking them out that closely. So ends this shoe making journey and my time in Ashland, Oregon with Bonney & Wills. I can't wait to get into my studio and practice.