Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ashland Shoemaker Symposium

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to attend the first ever Shoemakers' Symposium in Ashland, Oregon.  It was a fantastic experience. 

I don't have a ton of photos, but I think the high point for me was the opportunity to socialize and geek out with other makers of shoes.  We're an odd bunch, but I found some kindred spirits there, learned a lot, and made some great connections with some of the vendors.  Shoe making equipment, tools, and supplies are hard to find - it's great to be able to actually *talk* to the people who can provide those things.  Many of them don't have websites or online ordering - you just have to know who has the thing you want, and call them up.  Like, on a telephone.  How last century!  Of course, we're making shoes by hand, here. 

I just had to purchase some leather, of course.  I got some frog skins, and lizard, and ostrich shins. (This is not my haul - this is the vendor's table.)

There was also a competition - these are some of my personal favorites of the submitted shoes:

These amazing boots were inspired by a sculpture.  You can't see it in this photo, unfortunately, but the stitching and overlay work is really amazing - almost every color you see is a separate piece of very thin leather, not paint.  (There's a little bit of shading done with dye, but mostly, it's separate pieces of material.)

I had seen photos of these before - Deborah's very cute star cutout pumps. Now I got to see them in person. 

Rose, who was in my class last year, and was a speaker at the symposium, made these, and won the People's Choice award for them.  Very sharp - and exactly what I would have expected from her!
Again, a really great weekend.  Lots of good food, and wine, and interesting people I want to stay in touch with.  I'll be heading back down to Ashland on Sunday to start a two week long class on fashion boots - so there will be more shoemaking stuff here shortly!