Sunday, February 3, 2008
What the elves did
Well this has been a real process of discovery. I've been commissioned to make two pairs of cowhide women's shoes, and a bikini a la Ursula Andress in Dr No, for a show in Sydney in March. We are talking cowhide with the hair still on.
So for the first time ever I have made my own insoles. Usually for myself I make flats or trainers, so insoles are easy, but when the heel gets higher a bit of reinforcement is needed. In the industry they are made using a lot of pressure, to bend the insole to the bottom curve of the last, plus don't forget there is a steel shank sandwiched between the layers.
Well I don't have a sole press, yet (I'm thinking of making one that doesn't run from an air compressor), but I do have determination, plus the valuable resource of my teacher Tim Skyrme's Shoemaking Book.
To cut to the chase I have used insole and sole leather, wet molded over the last, and for pressure I used a belt with my shoe anvil hanging off it - success!
I must say that this is one of my proudest moments, and I was a bit upset to have to cover them and hide them inside a shoe, but they are perfect. They are probably a bit overboard in the expensive materials category, I could have economised a bit, but they are all quality, and a testament to handmade.
Covered and ready to be lasted, they are a peep toe, very now, so at least you do get to see a bit of them.
So after a late night sneezing with all the cow hair floating around, listening to the abysmal result of the India 20/20 innings, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the elves had assisted in the lasting of these babies!
Now for heel covering and leaf sole making.....