Accademia Riaci
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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.

Jun. 02, 2016 | Posted in Reports, Shoemaking , | Tags:, Reporter: John Shepherd | Course: Shoemaking

Shoe Making 3-Summer Course 2016

My Third Week

It is week three and I got a good start on my first pair of shoes. Using the pattern I made in week 2, I cut out the leather pieces and assembled the uppers. The style is a black oxford with blue piping on the top-line and vamp. When we were at the leather store, I saw some iridescent purple-blue leather, and I immediately thought to use it for piping. The uppers were finished on Friday, and I am excited about lasting them. That is when they start looking like shoes.

On our Friday Art Walk, the theme was the Medici family. We visited four buildings that were very significant, not only for the Medici family, but also as important landmarks in the history of Florence.

On Saturday, the school organized a tour to the village hilltop town of Montespertoli. It is a key village in the production of Chianti, the most important wine of Tuscany. We enjoyed visiting a museum about Amedeo Bassi, a famous Italian opera singer who was from Montespertoli. There was a farmer’s market in one of the piazzas ,and we walked around the village as preparations were underway for the Chianti wine festival that was starting in the evening.

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The shoemaking class takes a short break at around 11:00 in the morning. We go to the coffee shop across the street. Bernardo is the very helpful and knowledgeable instructor’s assistant in the shoemaking course. We are enjoying our coffee in the sunshine.

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A group shot of my sample shoe, the last, and one of the uppers in the middle of being assembled

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A close-up of the blue piping. The pieces are glued together and ready for stitching.

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This is how I made the piping. I cut 1. 5 cm strips of leather and positioned them under a piece of string. I carefully apply glue, and fold the strip over the string. The purpose of the string is to give the piping added reinforcement and to create a “bead” that the edge of the upper leather will sit against.

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Making the piping: A close-up of the leather strips ready for glueing and folding

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A Medici Palace, built by Cosimo de’ Medici. Notice how the facade of the building progresses from rough stone on the ground floor to smooth stone on the top floor. Cosimo was influenced by the teachings of Plato, and the facade symbolizes the process of refinement through life.

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Our tour group, working in three languages (Italian, Japanese, and English), discussing some aspects of the Medici family.

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The tour group, enjoying the sunshine in the Piazza della Passera. The name of the piazza originates from two intriguing possibilities.

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Zucchini flowers for sale in the farmers market.

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A view down one of the streets of Montespertoli. The village overlooks a broad vista of rolling vineyards, olive groves, and other villages on distant hilltops.



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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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