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John SHEPHERD
Reporter
John Shepherd

Nationality: Canadian
Course: shoe design and making
Program: Summer Course
Period : May 9,2016-Jun. 3,2016, Jun. 6, 2016-Jun.17,2016

I was born in Vancouver, Canada. Leatherwork and shoemaking has been an interest of mine for a long time. Although I have been making shoes for a number of years, I came to Accademia Riaci to improve my skills in both shoemaking and design. My plan is to learn as much as I can here in Europe before returning to Vancouver to create a label, and start a business making shoes.

Jun. 14, 2016 | Posted in Blog, Shoemaking , | Tags:, | Language:
Reporter: John Shepherd | Course: Shoemaking

Shoe Making 5-Summer Course 2016

My Fifth Week

Last Saturday, I visited the shoe store of Stefano Bemer. They create handmade shoes, primarily for men, but there is a new line of women’s shoes, based on men’s styling. It is an inspiring place. The quality of work is mesmerizing. At least it is for me. The staffs are friendly. Drop by if you want to experience sublime craftsmanship and quality in the world of shoes.

My shoes are almost lasted. Angelo demonstrated how to apply the reinforcement on the toe. It is a very important step because it is on the most noticeable part of the shoe, and will affect the look. After the shoes were lasted, I made the threads for the welting.

This week, I also started a shoe design course. I drew shoe lasts from different angles. Afterwards, I created a shoe, using the last drawing as a frame.

For the Art Visit, we did something quite different, a cooking lesson. Five of us visited Gaia at her kitchen, and we made pizzas from scratch. We made white pizzas, red pizzas (with tomato sauce), and focaccia bread with the rest of the dough. It was a lot of fun, and we had a marvelous feast, complete with wine and great company.

After the cooking class and lunch, I went to the Salvador Ferragamo Museum. There is a very impressive collection of original shoes from the 30, 40s,and 50s. There is another exhibit that explores the relationship between fashion and art.

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The entrance to the Stefano Bemer handmade shoe store. Well worth the visit

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Part of the shoe collection at Stefano Bemer

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The Palazzo Vecchio at night. The tour of the museum is fascinating, and the view from the bell tower is well worth the trek up the stairs.

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Applying the leather toe reinforcement. The edges need to blend perfectly on the shoe.

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The lasting is finished. The next step is sewing the welt around the perimeter.

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The shoe design course. Drawing the last from different angles. It is important to get the proportions right. I repeated this drawing many times.

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Another last style, with different curves, heel height, and toe shape

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I’m starting to play with shoe styles. Here is a sandal with silver beads embellishing the top. It is refreshing to design a shoe from simply drawing. It keeps the technical aspects out of the way, so you are just creating.

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The top view of the sandal. I bought some silver beads.

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In the kitchen at the cooking class. The table is covered with ingredients for the pizza topping.

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I’m hard at work on my pizzas. Zucchini blossoms add wonderful color to my pizza bianco. I combined them with gorgonzola, young bocconcini, large Sicilian capers, and smoked ham.

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Gaia showing us how to make focaccia bread. She sprinkled rock salt and olive oil on top.

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The pizza just coming out of the oven. half red and half white

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At the Ferragamo Museum, you see an impressive display revealing some previous clients.

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At the Piazza della Signoria, a parade is marching to Santa Croce for the annual Florentine football game, first played in 1570. Each of the four regions of the historic city is represented by color. They are bitter rivals on the football field.

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A view of the Duomo from the bell tower of the Palazzo Vecchio. From the top, you see all of Florence.


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