Monthly Archives: July 2012

I am a Designer-Maker

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As a designer-maker I feel part of that weird breed of people, who since the start of time, in all ages, climates and situations has felt the urge (and necessity) to look down at their feet, and to devise a suitable foot covering, using available materials.

My greatest love and interest in shoe making is still that part; in fact my interest was first awakened when I saw a Native Indian moccasin in the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, and realised that someone, a very long time ago, after dinner put their foot on a piece of left-over hide, cut roughly around their heel and toe, sewed a half round piece to cover the top of the foot, and wrapped the rest in strips up around their leg, fashioning in effect a layered bootleg with ventilation gaps, and tied the ends with a tendon at the top. It looked so well-thought-out and at the same time so easy, so natural, and so like what I would do!

I love discovering shoemakers who take an old construction (most are old constructions) or style and think “Now, would it be possible to make the shoe I want to make, using this construction?” Or “Could I make the same shoe, but using a different construction?” “Is there a material out there that acts like bark but doesn’t break like bark?” And ” Is there a rest material I can use/recycle?”

Of course, you want the modern innovative shoemakers too, the ones that require a whole new material to be devised that functions perfect for a certain design, but I love the shoemakers the best who take something old/traditional, and invent a modern or new function and interpretation for it. Then there are the designers who make works of art!

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Why I love making shoes

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I love shoes.

I love the way they can influence the way/make you feel, look, move (differently or better), how they are designed with the wearer in mind (or should be), how they can show craftsmanship, care, intelligence, and attention to detail, what they can mean as beauty objects and as functional objects/products, how they come in families (brands) you can be part of, and how literally everybody wears them!

I love making shoes.

I love figuring out what to make out of which material, for what function, that there are several stages and a natural order to them, that “anybody” can learn to make shoes, and that so many people do!

I love the fact I can make shoes by myself in my room or workshop, but also as part of a small or huge team, for a small or a huge company, for just myself and my feet, and more importantly for others.

Shoe making creates so many opportunities; to create and invent new things, to provide something that people need and want (jobs and shoes), to pass on skills and knowledge.

I love providing for myself; to make my own shoes and not have to accept what is available in the shops.

I would love the opportunity to be part of making shoes in a team again.

To apply my skills in a bigger picture, to have the opportunity to concentrate on a specific area of shoe making in detail, to communicate and work towards a shared goal, with values I support. I would love the opportunity to join Clarks in a department where they feel my skills, love and enthusiasm can be best used, and I think personally that could be any department.

For me it’s not just about making or buying the perfect shoe, it’s about feeling part of a community, about supporting and loving a brand that stands for values I find important; For me in Clarks’s case: Function, Comfort, Quality (which all include durability) and a little bit of craziness, for everybody.

I feel each of those values could be preceded with “All” (as in: full, all-over, for all ages, suitable for all occasions and daily life)
My partner is from Street, and he has told me about what the Clarks family means to the area, which sounds right up my street (excuse the pun)

We have just moved back into the area, which means I’m getting closer!