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.

 

SOS – Save our Soles or Souls

The footwear industry can be environmentally damaging, enter SOS (Save our Soles), a design consultancy that merges tradition practice with technology to provide innovative and creative footwear. Masterminded by visionary, Ridhwana Shaik, this consultancy promises passionate design, conceptualization and sustainable manufacture and offers limited quantity, great quality, and uniquely African aesthetic.
SOS fold
SOS fold
SOS - MonkyNutz
SOS - MonkyNutz
Some projects include: MonkyNutz, a uni-sex kids range that is eco-friendly, created from organic cotton and recycled shoes; SOS fold ups made from 100% African cotton and recycled soles; and the Meshuga brand that provides wood soles from the scavenged wood of Jacaranda tree combined with leather by products from the meat industry that are veg-tanned used as uppers.
SOS - Meshuga
SOS - Meshuga
Most of all I like the tag line: "Leave behind a legacy of great footwear, not a landfill of wasted shoes." A great thought for today or any day.

Black Patent Crazy

Black Patent go go
Black Patent go go
I am black patent crazy. Over the past year I've purchased 4 pairs of black patent boots to add to my collection bringing my total to 5. Why you ask? Black patent is one of the most versatile shoe materials ever. It adds a bit of shine to any daytime outfit and glamor to any evening or special occasion attire. It works well in all weather needing just a quick wipe down with a damp cloth and mild soap if necessary.  Scuffs and scratches can be removed with special purpose cleaners on the market. Over time, it may loose the high shine, but it will maintain an interesting rubbery look. This black patent go go, Cynira at ShoeDazzle is on point at about $39 for VIPs. True patent leather starts with a fine grain leather that is coated to create a glossy finish. Imitations are poromeric imitation leathers like Dupont's Corfam. Whether you choose real or imitation you can't go wrong with this addition to your wardrobe. Here is an excellent choice for Men:
Converse Men's Black Patent
Converse Men's Black Patent
As my friend Phil Silverstone says, "Just bought these amazing Converse high top black patent sneaks for an upcoming tux event and then to wear with my white Levi's in the summer..."     And some for Women:
Black Patent Chelsea
Black Patent Chelsea Vince Camuto $180ish on sale Worn at the Breeder's Cup
Punk Patent
Punk Patent Penny Loves Kenny $40ish
Black Patent & Perspex Chelsea boot
Black Patent & Perspex Chelsea boot Rachel Zoe $150ish on sale

Size splitting or custom, a new lease on Life

"Is there anyone that makes custom shoes? One of my feet is 2 sizes smaller than the other." I hear this more often than you would think. Many people have different size feet with the left foot generally being  the larger. You can deal with this by purchasing the larger size and putting an insert into the one that is slightly larger. If you have a full size difference it is still only 1/3" difference in length and 1/8" difference in width, so you may still be able to handle the larger size. If your feet have a 1 1/2 or more size difference, you could still buy the larger size and supplement the smaller with insoles, but to insure your foot health, you really need to wear 2 different size shoes. What to do? You might be able to find a fit with Diabetic shoes that have inlays that can be removed. Generally this is not a fashionable option. Most people buy the shoe in 2 different sizes and discard the shoes they can't wear.  This is expensive and not a very good sustainable option unless you can find a person with the opposite sizing and share with them. Enter Nordstrom's with a great policy. As long as you have a 1 1/2 or more size discrepancy, they will fit the 2 feet appropriately and only charge for one pair. This policy is for all shoes and available online, although online you need to buy 2 pairs, return the mismatched pair and get a refund. Apparently the original Mrs. Nordstrom had polio and needed two different sizes, so the company that began as a shoe store, extended the service to their customers in need. This is a great service, part of what has set Nordstrom apart in the retail industry. Birkenstock is another shoe company that offers 2 size splitting policies. You could also look into custom shoes. As digital last creation evolves this may become and increasingly more affordable option.