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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. 28, 2016 | Posted in Reports, Shoemaking , | Tags:, Reporter: John Shepherd | Course: Shoemaking

Shoe Making 6-Summer Course 2016

My Sixth Week

After many drawings of lasts from different angles, I started drawing shoes. My theme was ghillie shoes, using loops for the lacing. After drawing a few styles, i worked on shading and colouring the drawings.

Along with the design class, I spent as much time as possible working on my shoes in the shoemaking workshop. The welts were sewn, the insole was filled and levelled, leather soles were attached and hand-stitched, and finally, the heels were built and the soles and heels were shaped and polished. The shoes were finished with no time to spare, late on Friday afternoon.

The shoes fit and feel very comfortable!

Thank you to all the people and students at Academia Riaci! My time at the school was very rewarding, and I will drop by to visit the next time I am in Florence.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_01
In the Shoe Design class, after drawing the lasts, we started designing shoes. Here you see a sandal with silk ribbon ties.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_02
A ghillie shoe is characterized by loops instead of holes for the lacing. The traditional ghillie is a Scottish or Irish dancing shoe. I’m exploring the use of loops in various shoe styles.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_03
Sewing the welt on the oxford shoes

2John SHEPHERD_0160617_04
The welt is sewn around the perimeter of the shoe. It binds the upper to the insole, and it is also used to sew the sole to the shoe.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_05
The Arno River at dusk. The river divides old Florence, and in the evening, it is a beautiful walk along the banks.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_06
After the welts are attached, the bottom of the insole is filled with a shank, a leather cover on the back and cork on the front of the shoe. You now have a level base to attached the sole.

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Shading and colouring helps bring the drawing to life.

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Another shoe style using the ghillie theme.

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Masa is one of the assistant instructors. Here he is demonstrating how to close the channel where the sole is stitched to the welt.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_10
The soles and heels have been shaped, dyed and waxed. The next step is to remove the lasts, apply more polish, and add the laces.

John SHEPHERD_20160617_11
The shoes are finished, and so is my time at Academia Riaci. I’m wearing them for the first time as I’m about to board a flight at the Florence airport.



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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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