Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lasts, Part 1

Last night I mixed up a batch of plaster and filled the flats to make my first pair of lasts. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. About two hours after the plaster had set, it was strong enough for me to tear apart the shoe.

This required a box knife and patience.

I had both. And what was funny about the whole thing is my mom coming in to watch me.
She watched me mix the plaster and fill the shoes. Then I jokingly told her to come back in two hours and watch me tear the shoes apart.

And she did.

Did I mention that she used to work in a shoe factory? I asked her what she did and she said that she sewed the tongues and heels in mens shoes.

I think her knowledge will come in handy when I get to that point.

Here is a picture of the filled shoes, prior to my tearing them apart to get the last out. I forgot to take a picture of the 'tearing apart' part.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Last Cordwainer

I am sure most of you have no idea what a cordwainer is, am I right?

How many of you know what a cobbler is? No, I don't mean the peach or apple kind, either!

A small lesson here:
A cobbler is someone who repairs shoes.
A cordwainer is someone who makes shoes.
A last is the form they use to make the shoe.
A cordovan is a type of Spanish leather.

So, I, Cordovan Cobbler, formally welcome you to the Last Cordwainer.

Why did I pick this name, title etc? (BTW- any name you may have previously known me as shall hereby be stricken from your vocabulary or suffer a slow and painful death.)

Because I am trying my hand at making shoes. Yup. I decided that I want to make shoes.
Today was the first day. I bought a pair of flats in my size at a thrift store and took all embellishments off. Then oiled those puppies up and filled them with plaster to make the last.

I should be tearing the shoe apart in about an hour.

Please stay tuned for further updates on my shoe-making process. I am sure it will be full of surprises and stories.