Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

St. Crispin’s Day Sale starts 25th October

Friday, 21 October 2016

Student Shoes, Leathersellers and St. Crispin's Sale

Welcome back shoe enthusiasts....we promised to show you the students' work from the most recent course and here it is (with a sneak pair of Barkan boots in the middle)!

As you can see there were some very happy faces at the end of two intensive weeks of shoemaking last Saturday, not surprising as Weifen and Nicole made some great looking shoes.

A quick reminder, as the GB pound is at an all-time low, NOW is the time to get booking on our shoemaking courses here in London in January or in New York next'll be saving almost 20%. (Even if the exchange rate improves, it's going to take a while, so staying in London will be much more affordable).

As you know it is Cockpit Arts 30th Anniversary, so we were delighted to be invited to celebrate the occasion at The Leathersellers new Hall in Bishopsgate a couple of evenings ago. 

As you can see, the Hall is unlike traditional Guild Halls and is very modern in feel with leather panelling, decoration and features by Bill Amberg Studio, 

a Chihuly glass installation taking centre stage in one of the rooms 

...and a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new with the beautiful church next door. 

The evening was all the more interesting as one of our evening class students, who works for Bill Amberg Studio, has been working on the Hall, so it was lovely to see in person what she has been involved in creating

and to hear from Bill about their involvement.

Bill Amberg of Bill Amberg Studio and Vanessa Swann, CEO of Cockpit Arts
 It was also lovely to see a couple of Carreduckers on guests in the room. A pair of our signature HalfCuts sported by Rob Caunt and Snape Barkans sported by Hugo (below)....

Hugo in Snape Barkans with a lightweight white rubber sole

Rob Caunt's black and red half-cuts, a good few years old now and still looking good
Thanks guys...a heartening moment.

Finally, for any of you who fancy getting your hands on a pair of resort shoes we are having a special, St Crispin's Day end of season sale starting (naturally), next Tuesday, 25th October. All Winkers sold from stock are just £100 so don't forget to visit our website. 
Until next week, happy shopping and shoemaking! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

GB Pound At Historic Low - Carreducker Courses Even More Affordable!

Welcome back fellow shoe fans. Breaking news is that the GB Pound is at an historic low against most currencies, especially the US dollar. So if you were thinking about booking a course with us, you already have a huge discount.

And the weak Pound means London is a more affordable place to visit and stay.

£1 = 1.1 Euro today compared with 1.3 Euro six months ago
£1 = $1.22 today compared with $1.54 six months ago

So if you are from overseas and want to learn how to make a pair of shoes in the world-renowned, English West End tradition with Carreducker, then why not sign up to one of our courses here in London or New York? 

Booking forms for all 2017 courses are available on our website. Just pick the city and course you are interested in and download.

And speaking of courses, we have had our October Intensive Course running these past 2 weeks and a bevelled waist masterclass with an old student who is improving his skills 

Here's a glimpse of what they've been up to...

From the get-go the comprehensive set of Shoemaking School course notes and personal notes help students to stay on track with the 200 steps in handsewing a pair of welted shoes

Making holes in the holdfast

Manicure and shoemaking - does it work? Let's see....

Holdfast ready with holes marked and made

Hand welting - getting under way



Welt finished
They have built heels and are now rasping as I write so we'll show you the results next week.

Matt, who previously did our Pattern Making for Bespoke Shoes and Intensive Shoemaking courses and then spent time in Italy improving his skills, returned for a shoemaking masterclass in bevelled and fiddle waists. He finished his shoes this week and was thrilled with the results.

Until next week, when we're announcing our St Crispin's Day Shoe Sale, happy shoemaking!


Friday, 7 October 2016

The New Design Museum Permanent Exhibition and the Society of Shoe Fitters

There's a great sense of pride here in the Carreducker workshop this week....for two reasons...we've teased you a little bit about this first piece of exciting news...

Carreducker is going to be featured in a permanent exhibition in the Design Museum in its architecturally significant, magnificent new home at 224-238 Kensington High St, here in London. It will open on November 24th and we are really proud to be part of a major national museum exhibition

Earlier in the year we were invited by the museum to create a display telling the story of handsewn shoemaking as part of a permanent display celebrating design and making.

Over the summer, we managed to squeeze in making the boots that will feature in the exhibition and to be filmed making them....quite a stressful experience as we couldn't afford for anything to go wrong... so that we can tell the story of our craft. Throughout the film, James' hands (but fortunately not his face) are featured, very close up and detailed.

Film maker, Camilla Corr took on the not inconsiderable challenge of capturing the 200+ processes that go into crafting a pair of shoes and then turning them into a three-minute compelling piece of film. She's been holed up in the edit suite for the past few weeks and will be for a few weeks more, but we can't wait to see the final cut!

Being part of London's Design Museum is a huge honour and we are thrilled that our modern approach to shoemaking - combining a strong design aesthetic with the traditional, highly skilled techniques - has been recognised in this way.

Visitors will have the opportunity to watch the process of Engligh handsewn shoemaking, to see the tools and materials involved and to examine the finished boots at close quarters. The Museum aims to make the work accessible, so visitors will be able to pick up and look at the boots in detail.

The second piece of news is that James and I have now both completed our Society of Shoefitters  courses under the patient guidance and encouragement of Maureen Unsworth. We are delighted to become Members and to bear the letters M.S.S.F. after our names.

Rosemary and Maureen (centre) assessing James' size 12s
If you are involved in the shoe industry in any way, this course is well worth taking. Even after 15 years in the shoemaking industry we learned a great deal... and, as you know, there is always more to learn...which is what makes shoemaking so fascinating.

That's it for this week. Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Deborah Carre MSSF

Friday, 30 September 2016

New bespoke shoes, boots and excursions

Welcome back shoe fans. As you can see we've been busy at the workbench again this week with a few more pairs lining up.  These are a pair of two-tone Oxford shoes with a 1930s snub toe...

...a natural sole finish and polished edges...

and unusually with a square waist, a fiddle waist. It worked out quite neatly after all.

The next pair are work in progress...a pair of bespoke Barkan Desert Boots in French Navy and caramel calf. Yum!

They've now been welted...

and will soon have a full commando sole attached to cope with the wet winter months! We'll share the photos when they're finished, but we think they're looking lovely.

We did sneak off for a few hours don sturdy boots, hard hats and high vis jackets! Here's a few sneaky pics....exciting things will happen in November. (No it's not our new studio...well, not yet)!


Any guesses? 

That's all for now. Until next week, happy shoemaking...
we'll leave you with some seasonal Barkan boot photos...