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The Bespoke Shoes Thread

ottmt89

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We do not use wooden shanks. But the toe puff and the heel counter must be put on. I apologize but my English is not very good and I can't make myself understood.
IMG_20190512_180211_351.jpg
 

mactire

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The project as I wrote before is called: Calzoleria pisana, the craftman of shoes. But we have a sales points in Messina, where it is possible to make an appointment. The shoes are produced in Piazza Armerina in Sicily.

Our shoe is very light, we try to lighten the shoe as much as possible. the innersole is thinner than normal.
Inside we don't insert any shank and / or leather reinforcements. For the sole we always try to use a light and flexible leather. But then the choice is always of the customer.

The leather we used to make these shoes is an ILCEA box calf. For any questions I'm happy to answer, thanks for the compliments.
É la sua azienda? (Is this your business). Are there other shoemakers in Sicily? I had not known it as a place for footwear.
 

ottmt89

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Yes, we are in two partners. I take care of the management part. My other partner in the technical part.

In Sicily, we had a lot of shoemakers. Many have emigrated and made their fortune as Gaetano Messina in Milan, others have worked and work in large laboratories in the Marche and in Tuscany or even abroad. For example, my partner worked for almost 15 years in Tuscany or his teacher who is now 86 has worked for many years in Belgium.

Currently there are still people who know how to make handmade shoes but no longer work. We only have a few industrial shoe factories.

We are trying to preserve the tradition and re-launch it. In time, I'll post more material. We will soon make other pairs of shoes. Thanks for your questions.
 

Manuel

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Yes, we are in two partners. I take care of the management part. My other partner in the technical part.

In Sicily, we had a lot of shoemakers. Many have emigrated and made their fortune as Gaetano Messina in Milan, others have worked and work in large laboratories in the Marche and in Tuscany or even abroad. For example, my partner worked for almost 15 years in Tuscany or his teacher who is now 86 has worked for many years in Belgium.

Currently there are still people who know how to make handmade shoes but no longer work. We only have a few industrial shoe factories.

We are trying to preserve the tradition and re-launch it. In time, I'll post more material. We will soon make other pairs of shoes. Thanks for your questions.
I wish you good luck, it's a difficult way forward but not impossible, there is always a place for work in bespoke shoes.
 

DWFII

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But, I'm sure you remember the guilds in the middle ages, they were masters of handicraft trades that were in charge of watching over them, an aspiring to master had to execute in front of a jury a completely finished masterpiece, can you imagine an aspirant to master shoemaker saying "wait a minute , wait a minute", to make the operation of hand-welted, today I bring my best officer "? You can also imagine the face of the jury and what would happen later.
As far as historians know, there never was a system in place, in Western Europe and the Middle Ages...at least among the Shoemaking Guilds...to examine or certify for Master status. Every apprentice made a "master-piece' to present to his 'boss' to show that he had 'mastered' the basic skills required to graduate from apprentice.

After his apprenticeship, he became a 'journeyman'.

And if he got lucky and won the lottery or married the daughter of a local land owner, or perhaps even the daughter of the shoemaker, he would then have inherited or had the money to buy and set up his own shop.

At which point he became 'the master.'

Being a 'master' in the Middle Ages simply meant he was the owner of a shop. No real indication of his skill level or even his level of involvement. Point of fact, chances are very real that he had journeymen working under him that were far more skilled than he was.

Barring ownership, he might remain a journeyman for the rest of his life.

Guilds, such as the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, established in London in 1272, controlled a good part of all commerce. To be admitted you had to be a 'freeman.' If you weren't (foreigners) or weren't a member of the Guild, you could be sanctioned and even punished through ecclesiastic courts and laws/edicts supported by the Crown. . For instance, cobblers, (shoe repairmen) were forbidden to cut or use new leather.

A master does not depend on anyone to do their job, he dominates each and every one of the operations that are related to their work and only when you are a master you can have assistant craftsmen and you can give work to them because you can control each of those jobs , the officers will be faster than you but never better than you.
In the strict historical sense of the word, nothing could be further from the truth. In the sense of being the owner proprietor of the shop or a shoemaking enterprise, the 'master' often delegated much of the work to others--apprentices, journeymen, outworkers and even family members, etc..

In the contemporary, aspirational, wishful sense of 'master' I think the real question comes back to who is the shoemaker. If the word 'shoemaker' itself means anything, it is not a collective enterprise, IMO. So I agree with you in that sense. But history is history--verifiable fact--and not wistful utopian fantasy.

Of course, nowadays people twist the meanings of words to suit themselves regardless of the history or the semantic antecedents.

It's no wonder we find ourselves talking past each other so often.
 
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mactire

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Currently there are still people who know how to make handmade shoes but no longer work. We only have a few industrial shoe factories.
Yes, we are in two partners. I take care of the management part. My other partner in the technical part.

In Sicily, we had a lot of shoemakers. Many have emigrated and made their fortune as Gaetano Messina in Milan, others have worked and work in large laboratories in the Marche and in Tuscany or even abroad. For example, my partner worked for almost 15 years in Tuscany or his teacher who is now 86 has worked for many years in Belgium.

Currently there are still people who know how to make handmade shoes but no longer work. We only have a few industrial shoe factories.

We are trying to preserve the tradition and re-launch it. In time, I'll post more material. We will soon make other pairs of shoes. Thanks for your questions.
Can you let us know more about how you got into this and your process? I am interested in visiting Sicily this winter and would like to know what's available locally before I go. Also if you could let us know which are the RTW there, as it may not be possible to get bespoke on a trip. Forza!
 

Manuel

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As far as historians know, there never was a system in place, in Western Europe and the Middle Ages...at least among the Shoemaking Guilds...to examine or certify for Master status. Every apprentice made a "master-piece' to present to his 'boss' to show that he had 'mastered' the basic skills required to graduate from apprentice.

After his apprenticeship, he became a 'journeyman'.

And if he got lucky and won the lottery or married the daughter of a local land owner, or perhaps even the daughter of the shoemaker, he would then have inherited or had the money to buy and set up his own shop.

At which point he became 'the master.'

Being a 'master' in the Middle Ages simply meant he was the owner of a shop. No real indication of his skill level or even his level of involvement. Point of fact, chances are very real that he had journeymen working under him that were far more skilled than he was.

Barring ownership, he might remain a journeyman for the rest of his life.

Guilds, such as the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, established in London in 1272, controlled a good part of all commerce. To be admitted you had to be a 'freeman.' If you weren't (foreigners) or weren't a member of the Guild, you could be sanctioned and even punished through ecclesiastic courts and laws/edicts supported by the Crown. . For instance, cobblers, (shoe repairmen) were forbidden to cut or use new leather.



In the strict historical sense of the word, nothing could be further from the truth. In the sense of being the owner proprietor of the shop or a shoemaking enterprise, the 'master' often delegated much of the work to others--apprentices, journeymen, outworkers and even family members, etc..

In the contemporary, aspirational, wishful sense of 'master' I think the real question comes back to who is the shoemaker. If the word 'shoemaker' itself means anything, it is not a collective enterprise, IMO. So I agree with you in that sense. But history is history--verifiable fact--and not wistful utopian fantasy.

Of course, nowadays people twist the meanings of words to suit themselves regardless of the history or the semantic antecedents.

It's no wonder we find ourselves talking past each other so often.
As far as historians know, there never was a system in place, in Western Europe and the Middle Ages...at least among the Shoemaking Guilds...to examine or certify for Master status. Every apprentice made a "master-piece' to present to his 'boss' to show that he had 'mastered' the basic skills required to graduate from apprentice.

After his apprenticeship, he became a 'journeyman'.

And if he got lucky and won the lottery or married the daughter of a local land owner, or perhaps even the daughter of the shoemaker, he would then have inherited or had the money to buy and set up his own shop.

At which point he became 'the master.'

Being a 'master' in the Middle Ages simply meant he was the owner of a shop. No real indication of his skill level or even his level of involvement. Point of fact, chances are very real that he had journeymen working under him that were far more skilled than he was.

Barring ownership, he might remain a journeyman for the rest of his life.

Guilds, such as the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, established in London in 1272, controlled a good part of all commerce. To be admitted you had to be a 'freeman.' If you weren't (foreigners) or weren't a member of the Guild, you could be sanctioned and even punished through ecclesiastic courts and laws/edicts supported by the Crown. . For instance, cobblers, (shoe repairmen) were forbidden to cut or use new leather.
Wow! I'm a little surprised, The guilds were started in Europe in the 10th century, US history begins in 1600.

You should not be guided by what wikipedia says. I speak from university studies and studies carried out by historians and professors, so think you are wrong.
I leave some information based on studies...
"The cobbler craftsmen began to join in Europe, from the tenth century, there is abundant bibliography on these guild movements that came to have a great influence in almost all the kingdoms of the old continent."

"In some European cities, shoemakers' guilds were the most important, in Florence it reached up to 3000 members in the 13th century; doing his works next to Ponte Vecchio; in Milan the cobblers were part of the upper middle classes; In Spain in the year 1202, the shoemaker's guild of Barcelona was one of the most powerful and richest in Barcelona and the oldest in the continent."

Learning used to last about 3 years, and if the fee could not be paid, about four years. Once the agreed period had elapsed and the piece was prepared for the examination, the officer began a pilgrimage of six to nine years to deepen and expand his knowledge in other workshops (in the seventeenth century, the pilgrimage was reduced to a year and a half, and became a fixed part of learning). During those years, the officer spent a minimum of six weeks in each workshop; in a document, and later in a booklet, the time spent and the behavior he had had was recorded. At the end of the pilgrimage, the officer made his master's piece, which showed the four oldest guild members their knowledge and ability.


I can give you a lot informnation.......and I will answer the second part of your message
Manuel.
 

DWFII

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I never rely on Wikipedia esp. not for shoemaking history or information.

My information comes from Master Al Saguto, who is one of the foremost shoe historians in the world, and a protoge' of June Swann who was, for many years, the Keeper of the Shoe Collection at the Northampton Shoe Museum, and considered, in her own right, the foremost shoe historian in the world.

Saguto translated and annotated the English version of Art du Cordonnier. François A de Garsault; 1767. He also was a consultant on R.A. Salaman's on Dictionary Leatherworking Tools circa 1700-1950. And frequently travels to Europe to consult on archaeological digs and the provenance and preservation of historic shoes. Additionally, he is also past president of The Honourable Corwainers' Comapny--an American Shoemakers' guild with close and formal ties to The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers.

In Western Europe and specifically in England, an apprenticeship was seven years. Documented.

I would urge you to provide a source for your information/assertions. None of your quoted material runs contrary to what I have posted here, and without documentation or sources, the rest is just speculation.

As a long time member of the HCC, I was initially a little disconcerted by the facts, myownself. Not what urban legend and myth would lead us to believe. But again history is not a Renaissance Faire; it is not what we want to believe (no matter the "could have dones" and the "might have beens") but what we can document and prove.

Here's another nugget for you to ponder--heels...as we know them...do not appear until the late 16th century. No records, no paintings, no descriptions exist to support heels...as we know them...before that time.
 
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DWFII

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What does that mean?

Regardless, objective facts mean something for all but the most incurious.

How about a master shoemaker who is also one of the foremost shoe historians in the world?
 
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bjhofkin

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Are you referring to my post just now? To be clear I was just making a silly joke, not directed at you (or anyone), and with no reference to anything you've been saying.

What does that mean?

Regardless, objectives facts mean something for all but the most incurious.

How about a master shoemaker who is also one of the foremost shoe historians in the world?
 

dieworkwear

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Are you referring to my post just now? To be clear I was just making a silly joke, not directed at you (or anyone), and with no reference to anything you've been saying.
This is what happens when journeymen humorists outsource their work to humor outworkers.
 

DWFII

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Are you referring to my post just now? To be clear I was just making a silly joke, not directed at you (or anyone), and with no reference to anything you've been saying.
Why I asked. Wasn't sure what was intended.

Probably my fault but it didn't strike me as funny. I didn't get the joke. No offence intended.

Of course, the point still stands...the best answer is "both." Depending on the circumstances--more knowledge is always better, whether it be historical or experiential (shoemaking).

IMO...
 

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