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  1. Already in April - where has the year gone? I hope everyone has stayed safe and survived the snow.

    This year I plan to develop the teaching side of my leather and textile work. I am lucky to be able to teach at Queens Park Arts Centre, a local cultural hub. I teach leather work on the 'Sunday Specials'. There is a lot going on there and well worth a look http://www.qpc.org/

    Here are a couple of photos from the belt and purse making workshops. The belts are made to fit the person and not a standard size. Student can either leave them plain, or stamp and decorate the leather which is a good to personalise your project. I have created a series of patterns for the purses which students can use or adapt, or design their own. The results speak for themselves.

    Belt making tuition Purse and wallet making tuition

     

    I have also been teaching around the kitchen table, working with people in their own homes and delivering bespoke tuition. There is a lot of equipment to consider when doing this, so preparation is key. The photo below illustrates this.

    class prep

    Bespoke tuition also makes a great gift option............................................. 

     

     

     

  2. One of the things I enjoy about leather work is being able to share my skills with other people. This autumn I have taught two workshops. The first was at Queens Park Arts Centre in Buckinghamshire (http://www.qpc.org/). They always run interesting workshops and my belt making has been part of the 'Sunday Specials' for a few years now. Participants had the opportunity to learn the skills of belt making and this time two students wanted to make collars for their dogs - check out the well dressed pooches in Aylesbury!

    The second workshop was part of a members evening at The British Museum. The museum is running an exhibition on the Scythians (well worth a visit) and the workshop was intended to offer members the opportunity to experience leather work. 

    Scythian Sample

    We visited the exhibition in October and from that visit I was able to have a look at some Scythian inspired ideas for members to try on their coaster and take home to enjoy. The picture above is of the initial ideas which were then resized to fit the coaster shape. The Scythians were efficient and advanced in many of their techniques in metal, leather and wood work. I realised that I would have been a hopeless nomad, probably with the biggest bags of might-come-in-handies possible.

    The evening was a lovely occasion and my classroom for the evening was Gallery 17, the most amazing classroom! Many members commented that they enjoyed the chance to try something practical. The amazing Omar supported me and time just flew by. A fantastic opportunity - thank you British Museum.

    Below are a few photos of the evening.

    20Nov17 220Nov17 3

    20Nov17 1

  3. Following on from the patternmaking for shoes post I then spent the next 12 days on the Carreducker intensive shoemaking course. The course is all about traditional shoemaking techniques and everything is worked in your lap. I wanted to know more about these methods of shoe making and wanted the chance to see if I could then build on this at home. Either way I would come away with a nice pair of shoes having had a good time, or, I would confirm that I wanted to do more shoemaking in the future. 

    More shoemaking it would be. Adding my heel lifts almost proved to be my nemesis. I found this very tricky and did almost turn them into flat shoes. Here is a picture of my finished shoes with hand welted and hand stitched soles (check out my first attempt at mirror shine!). If you like traditional techniques then this is a great course to select. James and Deborah are excellent teachers with an excellent knowledge base. I would also recommend the pattern making course too as this helps everyone begin to understand how shoes come together.

    We travelled up to Springline towards the end of August to get measured for lasts and start to choose a style of toe shape that I liked for my shoes.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my shoe making summer and look forwards to more shoe adventures.

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