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The Bespoke Shoes Thread

bjhofkin

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No offense taken. Maybe "joke" is the wrong word; "silliness" might be more apt. I'm half your age but likely a quarter your maturity level.

Here's a REAL joke:

q: Why is one side of the "flying v" that ducks fly in typically just a bit longer than the other?

a: Because there are more birds on that side.



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...
 

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.
Eduardo Montagut Contreras. Doctor en Historia Moderna y Contemporánea.
https://losojosdehipatia.com.es/cultura/historia/los-gremios-en-espana/
http://www2.ual.es/ideimand/los-gremios-de-artesanos/
https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/3081503.pdf
Maria Santiago https://redhistoria.com/los-gremios-medievales-los-antiguos-sindicatos/
José María Amat Amer https://www.valledeelda.com/blogs/calzado/9505-los-gremios-de-zapateros.html
This is great https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/16296826.pdf

Apparently all agree, it was not easy to become a teacher or master, the execution of what they called "prima work" and granted the title of teacher was a real practical exam in front of the most devoted guild masters .....
 

Manuel

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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..
I said in the post "1245"
"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. "
Have you read well? Then?
I think it's very clear but maybe better with an example.

You make cowboy boots, but you have a lot of work so you give a job to a journeyman who lives in ...... the northern part of Oregon, when the client comes to pick up his boots they bother him on the fingers, what do you do? Do you call the journeyman to solve the problem? If the boot is badly stitched because journeyman is not good what do you do? If the cutter has cut a piece wrong and the person who sews the machine puts it in the cut, do you leave it? what do you do?. Who controls and solves all the problems and why?
The master is above all and has full responsibility for the work, if the journeyman fails the client will not blame the journeyman he will blame you, if the boot is not properly sewn the client will not blame to the journeyman who sewed it, he will blame to you, he always will blame to you and so on .
It has always been this way, the problem is that nowadays nobody dominates all the operations and hence the problems that arise, the delay in time and the disappointment of the client who expected much more than what is offered, all depend on all but each one in his work, that's not how it works, I'm telling you from experience.

Please you read well, I have not said anything that you have quoted can prove it.
Manuel.
 
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DWFII

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Eduardo Montagut Contreras. Doctor en Historia Moderna y Contemporánea.
https://losojosdehipatia.com.es/cultura/historia/los-gremios-en-espana/
http://www2.ual.es/ideimand/los-gremios-de-artesanos/
https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/3081503.pdf
Maria Santiago https://redhistoria.com/los-gremios-medievales-los-antiguos-sindicatos/
José María Amat Amer https://www.valledeelda.com/blogs/calzado/9505-los-gremios-de-zapateros.html
This is great https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/16296826.pdf

Apparently all agree, it was not easy to become a teacher or master, the execution of what they called "prima work" and granted the title of teacher was a real practical exam in front of the most devoted guild masters .....

In my mind there is not much difference between you citing these links (which I cannot read) and Wikipedia. It's just more spurious information on the Internet. Whatever position you take, whatever hard, empirical, objective, experience based evidence you can present, you can always find someone who is not a shoemaker, or is not an accreditied historian and has little or no experience but lots of speculation, who will take a contrary position.
 
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DWFII

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I said in the post "1245"
"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. "
Have you read well? Then?
I think it's very clear but maybe better with an example.

You make cowboy boots, but you have a lot of work so you give a job to an officer who lives in ...... the northern part of Oregon, when the client comes to pick up his boots they bother him on the fingers, what do you do? Do you call the officer to solve the problem? If the boot is badly stitched because the officer is not good what do you do? If the cutter has cut a piece wrong and the person who sews the machine puts it in the cut, do you leave it? what do you do?. Who controls and solves all the problems and why?
The master is above all and has full responsibility for the work, if the officer fails the client will not blame the officer he will blame you, if the boot is not properly sewn the client will not blame the officer who sewed it he will blame you the client will not blame he always will blame you and so on .
It has always been this way, the problem is that nowadays nobody dominates all the operations and hence the problems that arise, the delay in time and the disappointment of the client who expected much more than what is offered, all depend on all but each one in his work, that's not how it works, I'm telling you from experience.

Please you read well, I have not said anything that you have quoted can prove it.
Manuel.
I don't know what you mean by the word "officer" but I suspect you are using it incorrectly. Even recognizing that there is a language barrier here, what part of "If the word 'shoemaker' itself means anything, it is not a collective enterprise, IMO. So I agree with you in that sense." (my post 1267) don't you understand?

Beyond that, I make boots and shoes...men's dress shoes (see my Instagram page). And some styles that no one else does or does nearly as well.

As far as experience goes, I have 50 years in the Trade full time--making shoes and boots. I don't use outworkers...never have, never will. I agree entirely about taking responsibility. I have brought that up repeatedly here and even broached the subject with regard to the World Championships of Shoemaking.

I repeat...the real question is "who is the shoemaker?" And I repeat again (from almost as far back as when I joined SF) who is ultimately responsible?

Of course, the makers who use outworkers will tell you that they are responsible. And, in the strictest sense, I buy that--they are. But it's a far cry from really being responsible in and of themselves, simply because there is always someone else to blame or to rightfully (but infrequently) share in the 'glory.'

And if you are a 'master' in the strictest, most historically correct sense of the word (the owner of a shoemaking workshop), you are materially and legally responsible. Esp. since being a "master' in the historic sense also implies that you took on apprentices and taught them their skills and could certify that they had graduated to journeyman status. So any failure has to ultimately be yours if you taught the worker.

But, ultimately, being responsible means more than just saying "it's my fault" or "I'll replace the shoes". It means being responsible for every decision, every philosophical, environmental, and possible consequence,. At one point, it might very well lead a truly conscientious person, to at least try, to eliminate petro-chemical based products, such as all purpose cement, from their operations just for the harm it does to the environment. Or rubber outsoles. Celastic toe puffs. Even neoprene inserts.

And being truly responsible would almost certainly lead a conscientious maker to anticipate (and want to forestall/remedy) any possible degradation of a shoe by eschewing or avoiding objectively inferior techniques, such as GY wetled.

IMO...
 
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patrickBOOTH

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To what extent does the client take, responsibility for issues? The way I see it the client can definitely play a role in the finished product whether stylistically, or even fit wise. Surely there are ways to evaluate fit by looking and touching, but if a client has never worn a bespoke shoe maybe they don't know how they are supposed to feel compared with ill-fitting RTW shoes. As with anything handmade and bespoke I view it as an iterative process to a degree and overtime things should get better.
 

DWFII

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To what extent does the client take, responsibility for issues? The way I see it the client can definitely play a role in the finished product whether stylistically, or even fit wise. Surely there are ways to evaluate fit by looking and touching, but if a client has never worn a bespoke shoe maybe they don't know how they are supposed to feel compared with ill-fitting RTW shoes. As with anything handmade and bespoke I view it as an iterative process to a degree and overtime things should get better.

Way I see it, the most important thing a client can do is listen. A good shoemaker will enumerate what he sees about the foot..hammer toes (if any), fallen met arches, heel spurs, etc.. And he will ask if the client has any issues with his feet that the maker has not 'discovered.' If the client has had surgery and therefore has less mobility in the ankle, for instance, or if he has plantar issues (such as pain the cause of which is not immediately evident on the pedograph), that kind if thing, it's the client's responsibility to speak up.

In many ways, it is a collaboration. Someone has to take the lead, however. If the client thinks he knows more about how a shoe should fit or made than the shoemaker, it should be a warning to both of them.

For instance, if a client comes in to me, and says he wears a size 10 but all my measurements (esp. heel to ball) indicate he should be wearing a 9...either I have to convince the client that a 9 will fit better (again heel to ball, as an example) or the client ought, by all logic, to walk.

Red flags all around...if both parties are wholly engaged.
 
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ottmt89

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QUOTE="mactire, post: 9801916, member: 153624"]
É la sua azienda? (Is this your business). Are there other shoemakers in Sicily? I had not known it as a place for footwear.
[/QUOTE]

Thank you for your word @mactire . As for the preparation, I think it's a good idea to post the various stages of the shoe.

As for tradition, it was interesting. My partner, already at the age of 7, went to "shop". Piazza Armerina was a poor city, where the machines were not there because they were very expensive. While the labor cost a lot less. So having no blake or goodyear, everything was done in the shop, without using any semi-processed product. Currently my partner still refuses to use semi-finished products. We were able to retrieve old wooden pieces to study the shapes. We noticed some slender lasts among the various shapes and decided that this would be our line. Then we found various attitudes that we still use today. Unfortunately I can't post videos, it would be interesting to show how we prepare the string for sewing the shoes.
 
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dieworkwear

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To what extent does the client take, responsibility for issues? The way I see it the client can definitely play a role in the finished product whether stylistically, or even fit wise. Surely there are ways to evaluate fit by looking and touching, but if a client has never worn a bespoke shoe maybe they don't know how they are supposed to feel compared with ill-fitting RTW shoes. As with anything handmade and bespoke I view it as an iterative process to a degree and overtime things should get better.
A bespoke relationship is like that scene in Ghost, where Patrick Swayze cradles Demi Moore from behind as she spins pottery. In this case, I am Patrick, my spiritual hands gently caressing the maker's, guiding him to create the tutto fatto a mano of True Elegance.
 

DWFII

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patrickBOOTH

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A bespoke relationship is like that scene in Ghost, where Patrick Swayze cradles Demi Moore from behind as she spins pottery. In this case, I am Patrick, my spiritual hands gently caressing the maker's, guiding him to create the tutto fatto a mano of True Elegance.
Wait, as in you were in my body while guiding the maker, or you were Patrick Swayze guiding the maker? I am not sure what is weirder.
 

Manuel

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In my mind there is not much difference between you citing these links (which I cannot read) and Wikipedia. It's just more spurious information on the Internet. Whatever position you take, whatever hard, empirical, objective, experience based evidence you can present, you can always find someone who is not a shoemaker, or is not an accredited historian and has little or no experience but lots of speculation, who will take a contrary position.
Can not you read a single link? Why can't you make a small effort?
You asked me to give you the sources of information....... well it doesn't matter.
Actually, it was not easy to become a master and all historians agree, it is not true that anyone could become a teacher or master in any way but I'm not going to discuss this, I will not discuss this, it is absurd.
 

Manuel

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I don't know what you mean by the word "officer" but I suspect you are using it incorrectly. Even recognizing that there is a language barrier here, what part of "If the word 'shoemaker' itself means anything, it is not a collective enterprise, IMO. So I agree with you in that sense." (my post 1267) don't you understand?

Beyond that, I make boots and shoes...men's dress shoes (see my Instagram page). And some styles that no one else does or does nearly as well.

As far as experience goes, I have 50 years in the Trade full time--making shoes and boots. I don't use outworkers...never have, never will. I agree entirely about taking responsibility. I have brought that up repeatedly here and even broached the subject with regard to the World Championships of Shoemaking.

I repeat...the real question is "who is the shoemaker?" And I repeat again (from almost as far back as when I joined SF) who is ultimately responsible?

Of course, the makers who use outworkers will tell you that they are responsible. And, in the strictest sense, I buy that--they are. But it's a far cry from really being responsible in and of themselves, simply because there is always someone else to blame or to rightfully (but infrequently) share in the 'glory.'

And if you are a 'master' in the strictest, most historically correct sense of the word (the owner of a shoemaking workshop), you are materially and legally responsible. Esp. since being a "master' in the historic sense also implies that you took on apprentices and taught them their skills and could certify that they had graduated to journeyman status. So any failure has to ultimately be yours if you taught the worker.

But, ultimately, being responsible means more than just saying "it's my fault" or "I'll replace the shoes". It means being responsible for every decision, every philosophical, environmental, and possible consequence,. At one point, it might very well lead a truly conscientious person, to at least try, to eliminate petro-chemical based products, such as all purpose cement, from their operations just for the harm it does to the environment. Or rubber outsoles. Celastic toe puffs. Even neoprene inserts.

And being truly responsible would almost certainly lead a conscientious maker to anticipate (and want to forestall/remedy) any possible degradation of a shoe by eschewing or avoiding objectively inferior techniques, such as GY wetled.

IMO...
Right, I am misusing the officer word, it seems to me that the real word is "journeyman".
Definitely not, I think there is no barrier with the language.
I have no objection to this text, you confirm 100% what I said and proof of this is that you practice it.
There is something that catches my attention, continuously in any thread you refer to yourself,

"Beyond that, I make boots and shoes...men's dress shoes (see my Instagram page). And some styles that no one else does or does nearly as well."

"As far as experience goes, I have 50 years in the Trade full time--making shoes and boots. I don't use outworkers...never have, never will. I agree entirely about taking responsibility. I have brought that up repeatedly here and even broached the subject with regard to the World Championships of Shoemaking."


I do not think it is necessary, anyone who reads these threads or traditional techniques, cowboy boots ... he has already read it and I think it does not look good, in any case, it is always the clients who value the work of the specialists, master or teachers, journeyman or whatever you want to call
It's just a personal opinion I hope you do not get upset with me.
 

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