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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.

May. 31, 2016 | Posted in Reports, Shoemaking , | Tags:, Reporter: John Shepherd | Course: Shoemaking

Shoe Making 2-Summer Course 2016

My Second Week

My second week was spent practicing the pattern-making steps I learned in week one.I also made the pattern and the complete shoe for the third décolleté style, the “Chanel”. With the three styles of pumps completed, I moved on to oxford shoes. The lasts I ordered last week just arrived, just in time to use them for the patterns! I made an oxford pattern and a sample upper. I lasted the upper and made a sample shoe, using cork for the sole and heel. It fits!

I discovered the Mercato Centrale one evening. It is a very large market on two levels, The street level is full of food stalls selling fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, cheese, and wine. The upper level has a very generous variety of places to eat and drink. There are large tables throughout for people share. The ambience is lively, and it is open until midnight. Plus, they have free wifi and a charging station if you need to recharge your phone. The market is a five minute walk from the school.

On our Friday Art Walk, we visited the rose garden. May is the best time for roses. The garden is located on a hill just outside the medieval wall around Florence, near the Piazzale Michelangelo. The view of the city is takes in all the major landmarks. Along the way, our brilliant guide, Andrea, bought some pecorino cheese and fave beans, and we ate them amongst the roses.

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The basic tool kit for making shoes. You can buy the kit through the school. It contains all the basic tools for making a pair of shoes.

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Two different styles of pumps. The shoe on the right is the sample made of felt for the chanel style

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Our instructor, Angelo, showing me how to attached the leather sole

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Angelo is demonstrating how to trim the sole by hand. He is using a small aluminum shield to protect the upper from the knife.

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The finished chanel pump, next to the last. It feels good to finish my first shoe!

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Another view of the chanel pump. I learned a lot about making this style

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Making the pattern for the oxford shoe. Starting from the top, you see the heel piece, the two quarters, the tongue, the vamp, and the toe piece. The “standard”, made with masking tape on the last is on the right.

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The same upper of the oxford, made of felt. I did double rows of stitching to practice my stitching on the sewing machine. Of course, the better the stitching, the better the shoe will look.

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The felt upper lasted. Looking good! The pattern fits well.

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The finished sample shoe, with a cork sole and heel, still in the last. The photo was taken on the window ledge of the workshop, with a great view of the narrow street below.

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From our Friday art walk, a view of Florence from the rose garden

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Me and my new friend in the rose garden. I can’t quite see what he is looking at.



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At Accademia Riaci, we are recruiting Course Reporters from our students. The students who are chosen to become Course Reporters are given 10 % of the tuition as their scholarship fee.
The Reporters who have submitted excellent reports will have his or her profile posted on our school website for the next 5 years as an alumnae and will be able to connect with their business chancesafter their graduation.

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