A Visit to Bench Work Studies
, TokyoBench Work Studies
is a shoemaking school founded in 2004 by Yukiko Bassett Okawa
, an accomplished shoemaker best known for her tenure at Lobb St.James. I had a chance to visit the workshop during their annual 'Open Day', when student works are exhibited and alumni display their latest creations.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Benchmade by Yukiko Bassett Okawa English Page
Shoemaking procedures, from start to finish. Students learn at their own pace, either once or twice a week.
1st year students learn the bottom making process, and are supplied with pre-made lasts and uppers. Last-making/carving and upper construction classes are offered for 2nd year+ students.
Completed works. Casual students take a year or so to complete.
Over the years, some of Okawa's students have taken their passions
and made it into their professions
Alumni's works on display.
In front: Inamori Kutsu
and... some bespoke works by Okawa san herself, offered under the Benchmade
brand. Okawa san is a graduate of the Cordwainers College, and subsequently became the first Japanese employed by Lobb St. James (for 8 years).
Oxfords with straight caps.
U-tip derbies with hand stitched sides
Our friend Vraivio has a great interview with her on KEIKARI