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Sole Welting - Page 61

post #901 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stirling View Post

I'm so glad to hear that you are ensuring you impart your knowledge to others, hopefully to another generation. Succession of this craft is vital, you're already regrettably an endangered species. Here in the UK despite the renewed interest in bench made shoes, there is little thought going into the future of this magnificent craft.


Not to be discouraged. Carreducker teaches. Two, three times a year. Lobbs takes on apprentices. And I know of several other makers (names escape me this AM) who take on serious "seekers," if only on a limited, infrequent basis. Bengal Stripe may have a whole list.

I only teach one-on-one but others (like Carreducker) take on larger classes. Even limiting it to one-on-one, I could have students in the shop every day of the year. But it gets tiring. and I like to fish. And as I get older I get a little bit more selective about who and when.

Teaching students is remarkably gratifying...when the student has an open mind and is willing to learn. When that's not the case, it's like here--it makes you throw-up a little in your mouth and want to wash your hands of it all and do something else. Spey rods, magnificent scenery--canyons and mountains, cold dangerous rivers--and large salmonids are far more appealing

I learned a long time ago...through the generosity and patience of multiple teachers...that it's always a gift. And that nothing a serious student can do (or pay) will ever repay that blessing...except, perhaps, "paying it forward."

I listen to celtic radio a lot and I've had an earworm off and on for the last week--

"If you're bent wi' arthiritis,
Your bowels have got Colitis,
You've gallopin' bollockitis
And you're thinkin' it's time you died,
If you been a man o' action,
Though you're lying there in traction,
You will get some satisfaction
Thinkin', "Jesus, at least I tried."

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/5/14 at 8:03am
post #902 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Not to be discouraged.

 

That reminds me of a question I was wanting to get your impression on.  I know that much of the passionate discussion in these threads circles (rightfully so) around the preserving of the craft and protecting it from going extinct, as well as just preventing loss of knowledge that may slip away even if the craft itself endures.

 

What is your impression on the shift in the attention given to menswear and subsequently to high-end shoes, with hand-welted bespoke being the pinnacle, during the last few years?  In other words, it seems to me that the "renaissance" in this arena, assuming it continues long enough, may help stall (rather than just slow) much of the trends towards the preference for the cheap from the latter half of the 1900's.  Do you think it's just a fad, or do you think that with individuals such as yourself, as well as classes being taught by the likes of Carreducker et al., that there will be a new population of shoemakers to carry on the torch?  Time will certainly tell if it's a fad within a few years.  But, hopefully it isn't just a fad and those being taught will actually go out, spread their knowledge to others, and make hand-welted shoes more readily available again if nothing else just due to the number of people who have the skills to make them.  I assume (which can get one in trouble) that most people taking these classes actually intend to use it, rather than just skipping away with a new set of unrefined skills to be gradually forgotten, intending to take a pottery class the following week and a cooking class the next.

 

Don't misunderstand me, I know that it will never eclipse the factory mentality, and will never have the output or availability of a Goodyear-welting (or cheaper) manufacturer.  But I think we would all agree that there is room for exponential growth towards making hand-welted bespoke much more available and less exclusive than it currently is.

post #903 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

In other words, it seems to me that the "renaissance" in this arena, assuming it continues long enough, may help stall (rather than just slow) much of the trends towards the preference for the cheap from the latter half of the 1900's.  Do you think it's just a fad, or do you think that with individuals such as yourself, as well as classes being taught by the likes of Carreducker et al., that there will be a new population of shoemakers to carry on the torch? 


As you say, time will tell, but given the influence that manufacturers have...with a large portion of their gross income going to public relations and marketing hype...I doubt that the renaissance you speak of is much affected by the interest of students coming into the Trade. Not that it has no impact. But it's like my particular friend at CWF always says--it's like trying to desalinate the ocean one teaspoon at a time...and you have to carry the teaspoon, full of water, on foot, from a lake miles away.

When you have most of the manufacturers who do primarily GY welted shoes, touting the process and their shoes as "the best made shoes in lower Elbonia" and a massively ignorant and even more massively indifferent public buying into that hype / propaganda, there's probably little that can be done to counteract the shifting of values. If nothing else a certain amount of water gets spilled on the trek from the lake.

I suspect...no, I am near-as-nevermind certain...that GY is the defacto standard of quality going forward. With all that implies--plastic or celastic or paperboard toe and heel stiffs, paper or leatherboard insoles, etc., in an implacably irresistible downward spiral.

My philosophy, of course, is in the last line of the song lyrics above. I'd rather illuminate than shroud. Someone looking in on a similar discussion as we've been having here once said to me "that guy is a fountain of darkness in a world of light." Even if you know you are doomed to fail, you have to try. You have to work towards some positive goal. You have to bring constructive comments and energy to any endeavor or it is certainly doomed....and you with it.

When my wife and I were taking dance lessons (for nearly 20 years) the instructor said "in any class on any subject, with the best, most patient teacher in the world, it is rare to see more than 30% of students go on to use what they have learned even once outside of class."

Because I am selective and I only work one-on-one my percentage is maybe double that but is cut again with regard to students who then go on to become part-time, "hobbyist" shoe/bootmakers, and yet again with regard to those who stay in the Trade as "professionals.".

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/5/14 at 8:05am
post #904 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


As you say, time will tell, but given the influence that manufacturers have...with a large portion of their gross income going to public relations and marketing hype...I doubt that the renaissance you speak of is much affected by the interest of students coming into the Trade. Not that it has no impact...but it's like my particular friend at CWF always says--it's like trying to desalinate the ocean one teaspoon at a time...and you have to carry the teaspoon, full of water, on foot, from a lake miles away.

When you have most of the manufacturers who do primarily GY welted shoes, touting the process and their shoes as "the best made shoes in lower Elbonia" and a massively ignorant and even more massively indifferent public buying into that hype / propaganda, there's probably little that can be done to counteract the shifting of values. If nothing else a certain amount of water gets spilled on the trek from the lake.

I suspect...no, I am near-as-nevermind certain...that GY is the defacto standard of quality going forward. With all that implies--plastic or celastic or paperboard toe and heel stiffs, paper or leatherboard insoles, etc., in an implacably irresistible downward spiral.

My philosophy, of course, is in the last line of the song lyrics above. I'd rather illuminate than shroud. Someone looking in on a similar discussion as we've been having here once said to me "that guy is a fountain of darkness in a world of light." Even if you know you are doomed to fail, you have to try. You have to work towards some positive goal. You have to bring constructive comments and energy to any endeavor or it is certainly doomed....and you with it.

When my wife and I were taking dance lessons (for nearly 20 years) the instructor said "in any class on any subject, with the best, most patient teacher in the world, it is rare to see more than 30% of students go on to use what they have learned even once outside of class.

Because I am selective and I only work one-on-one my percentage is maybe double that but is cut again with regard to students who then go on to become part-time, "hobbyist" shoe/bootmakers, and yet again with regard to those who stay in the Trade as "professionals.".

--

 

Thanks for your thoughts!

post #905 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

That reminds me of a question I was wanting to get your impression on.  I know that much of the passionate discussion in these threads circles (rightfully so) around the preserving of the craft and protecting it from going extinct, as well as just preventing loss of knowledge that may slip away even if the craft itself endures.

What is your impression on the shift in the attention given to menswear and subsequently to high-end shoes, with hand-welted bespoke being the pinnacle, during the last few years?  In other words, it seems to me that the "renaissance" in this arena, assuming it continues long enough, may help stall (rather than just slow) much of the trends towards the preference for the cheap from the latter half of the 1900's.  Do you think it's just a fad, or do you think that with individuals such as yourself, as well as classes being taught by the likes of Carreducker et al., that there will be a new population of shoemakers to carry on the torch?  Time will certainly tell if it's a fad within a few years.  But, hopefully it isn't just a fad and those being taught will actually go out, spread their knowledge to others, and make hand-welted shoes more readily available again if nothing else just due to the number of people who have the skills to make them.  I assume (which can get one in trouble) that most people taking these classes actually intend to use it, rather than just skipping away with a new set of unrefined skills to be gradually forgotten, intending to take a pottery class the following week and a cooking class the next.

Don't misunderstand me, I know that it will never eclipse the factory mentality, and will never have the output or availability of a Goodyear-welting (or cheaper) manufacturer.  But I think we would all agree that there is room for exponential growth towards making hand-welted bespoke much more available and less exclusive than it currently is.

Sorry to hijack but, those are great questions. They reflect concerns that I have myself. I see that the younger gen. does not have much interest moving the shoe trade forward. It seems designers have far more interest than tradesman and that's not good. As a third generation in the business I would love to see the legacy continue. As a parent of a 26, 24 and, 19 year old the door has been left open for them. But, they went on with passions of their own and, (putting my heart aside) I support their passions pursuing their higher interests. Being in the business for 40 years there was never an interest of a younger generation that left me encouraged for the industry's future. My optimistic personality leaves me (maybe blindly) to believe that the industry will survive. Just in a different way.
From my experience it's not exciting -or- rewarding enough for the younger generation. Let alone, they can make more money in fields that they are more exposed to. Blue collar stuff like plumbers and electricians, their always coming out with new concepts, tools, techniques. The computer business (I'm not sure if it's blue or white) is fascinating to them plus they have an understanding of it. White collar? It's limitless.
Either way without the passion it doesn't much matter. Sadly, very few these days have the passion it takes to be successful in the shoe business.
post #906 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post


Sorry to hijack but, those are great questions. They reflect concerns that I have myself. I see that the younger gen. does not have much interest moving the shoe trade forward. It seems designers have far more interest than tradesman and that's not good. As a third generation in the business I would love to see the legacy continue. As a parent of a 26, 24 and, 19 year old the door has been left open for them. But, they went on with passions of their own and, (putting my heart aside) I support their passions pursuing their higher interests. Being in the business for 40 years there was never an interest of a younger generation that left me encouraged for the industry's future. My optimistic personality leaves me (maybe blindly) to believe that the industry will survive. Just in a different way.
From my experience it's not exciting -or- rewarding enough for the younger generation. Let alone, they can make more money in fields that they are more exposed to. Blue collar stuff like plumbers and electricians, their always coming out with new concepts, tools, techniques. The computer business (I'm not sure if it's blue or white) is fascinating to them plus they have an understanding of it. White collar? It's limitless.
Either way without the passion it doesn't much matter. Sadly, very few these days have the passion it takes to be successful in the shoe business.

 

Thanks for your thoughts as well!

post #907 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

Thanks for your thoughts!

Yr. Hmb. Svt.

smile.gif
post #908 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Yr. Hmb. Svt.

smile.gif

 

:cheers:

post #909 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stirling View Post

Here in the UK despite the renewed interest in bench made shoes, there is little thought going into the future of this magnificent craft.

What gives you that impression?

There are quite a few talented young people coming up through the ranks: there are the lastmakers Jon Spencer (Foster & Son) and Nicholas Templeman (John Lobb) who by all accounts do excellent work. There are a number of makers, some of them shoemakers in their own right like Sebastian Tarek who in his own work aims to get away from the classic West-End look. And there is of course Daniel Wegan ('the talented Mr Wegan') from G&G. Probably the man with the most inquisitive mind in the whole shoe business. There is nothing Daniel would not try out, at least once. He is obviously helped by the fact that G&G allow him to experiment, not like some other firms who might say: "We do it like that! End of!!!"

Some of these people might set out on their own at some point in the future, while others stay with their firm or might move to another one. Don't forget, it is incredibly costly to set up as a shoemaker who has an international impact. The costs of a trunk show to the States or the far East are enormous. People who started out on their own fall by the wayside, like Anthony Delos, possibly the most talented shoemaker of his generation, (and by all accounts the most humble and modest of men) who was gobbled-up by Berluti, not as a star to be promoted but as an anonymous worker (not even as the man in charge of the bespoke workshop, which is still Patrice Rock). Koronya's Marcell Mrasan has fled into the salaried position of a teacher/professor at an American college and Jason Amesbury (for different reasons) has fallen off the radar.

There is currently a shortage of 'closers' in the UK. Any young man or woman closer (who is good at the job) can be sure of a steady supply of work ("it takes one closer to keep three 'makers' in work). Anyone considering of going into closing should hurry up, as the legendary JK, who has trained several generations of closers is getting very old now.

It's not so much the standard methods which might die to to lack of trained operators, but the more fringe activities like 'pump stitch' and 'Norwegian'. Although popular in Italy, Norwegian has become quite rare in English shoemaking. (The English version of Norwegian, far more subtle, is different from the, somewhat garish, Italian one.)
post #910 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

What gives you that impression?

I think he was talking about people who are teaching...passing it on, thinking about "the future"...in the UK. At least that's the way I read it.

I'm hoping that your post doesn't mean there are no makers teaching except the ones I mentioned. [Oh, I think one of the people I couldn't remember this morning was Terry Moore (?). Shoefan visits, from the States, regularly and has become a pretty fair hand from what he's learned over there.]

...
Edited by DWFII - 2/5/14 at 11:55am
post #911 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post


What gives you that impression?

There are quite a few talented young people coming up through the ranks: there are the lastmakers Jon Spencer (Foster & Son) and Nicholas Templeman (John Lobb) who by all accounts do excellent work. There are a number of makers, some of them shoemakers in their own right like Sebastian Tarek who in his own work aims to get away from the classic West-End look. And there is of course Daniel Wegan ('the talented Mr Wegan') from G&G. Probably the man with the most inquisitive mind in the whole shoe business. There is nothing Daniel would not try out, at least once. He is obviously helped by the fact that G&G allow him to experiment, not like some other firms who might say: "We do it like that! End of!!!"

Some of these people might set out on their own at some point in the future, while others stay with their firm or might move to another one. Don't forget, it is incredibly costly to set up as a shoemaker who has an international impact. The costs of a trunk show to the States or the far East are enormous. People who started out on their own fall by the wayside, like Anthony Delos, possibly the most talented shoemaker of his generation, (and by all accounts the most humble and modest of men) who was gobbled-up by Berluti, not as a star to be promoted but as an anonymous worker (not even as the man in charge of the bespoke workshop, which is still Patrice Rock). Koronya's Marcell Mrasan has fled into the salaried position of a teacher/professor at an American college and Jason Amesbury (for different reasons) has fallen off the radar.

There is currently a shortage of 'closers' in the UK. Any young man or woman closer (who is good at the job) can be sure of a steady supply of work ("it takes one closer to keep three 'makers' in work). Anyone considering of going into closing should hurry up, as the legendary JK, who has trained several generations of closers is getting very old now.

It's not so much the standard methods which might die to to lack of trained operators, but the more fringe activities like 'pump stitch' and 'Norwegian'. Although popular in Italy, Norwegian has become quite rare in English shoemaking. (The English version of Norwegian, far more subtle, is different from the, somewhat garish, Italian one.)

Another frenchman is Eric Devos, who employs one permanent staff and one apprentice (http://eric-devos-bottier.com/) in Bourg en Bresse.

post #912 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

I think he was talking about people who are teaching...passing it on, thinking about "the future" in the UK. At least that's the way I read it.

I'm hoping that your post doesn't mean there are no makers teaching except the ones I mentioned. [Oh, I think one of the people I couldn't remember this morning was Terry Moore (?). Shoefan visits, from the States, regularly and has become a pretty fair hand from what he's learned over there.]

There are more people giving structured shoemaking classes than just Carreeducker. But don't forget, if you make your very first pair of shoes in one of these courses, how many more pairs do you have to make until you become so efficient that you can go around, show your samples to the established firms and ask them for work.

Virtually all the 'makers' and 'closers' will take on paying students on a one-to-one basis. I know about the going rate, and you probably get a better bargain than with one of the structured courses If you know your way around the business, you can book yourself in with one of the top crafts people. But not all the people in the trade are each other's equal in the quality of their work, and, presumably, they vary in their teaching abilities. There is another difficulty, unlike 50 or more years ago, when all these people were based in London or nearby, these days they are scattered all over the British Isles. Apart from apprentices, John Lobb takes on paying students who work for one or more weeks with a 'Don' an experienced shoemaker. Think of it as a 'Masterclass', where people who have already good shoemaking experience are introduced to the finer and particular English ways of making shoes to 'West-end standard'. (If you come from Central or Eastern Europe, you probably have never made a bevelled waist.)

Terry Moore (lastmaker extraordinary), one of the nicest men around, is getting very old (close to eighty) and has all, or almost retired. Whether he takes on students at this point of his life, I wouldn't know. He did train Jon Spencer from Foster & Son.
post #913 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by thelonius View Post

Another frenchman is Eric Devos, who employs one permanent staff and one apprentice (http://eric-devos-bottier.com/) in Bourg en Bresse.

Apparently (information from the French forums, I can't vouch for it) Devos is the half-brother of Anthony Delos. When he wanted to enter the business a few years after Delos, Delos objected to another shoemaker by the same name, so Eric Delos changed one letter in his name and became Devos.
post #914 of 1641
Excellent information there, bengal. Enlightening (and encouraging) to see the craft not only being kept alive, but in some ways, thriving.
post #915 of 1641
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWraith View Post

Excellent information there, bengal. Enlightening (and encouraging) to see the craft not only being kept alive, but in some ways, thriving.

 

Indeed.  Reports of its imminent death have been somewhat exaggerated.

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