In-Depth 2016, Cobbling

I am really excited to start the in-depth project. I have done independent projects in the past, but I think that by focusing on specific skills I will get more out of this experience. I decided to learn the basic skills of cobbling. I have worked in the past with leather, industrial sewing machines, and design, so this was a natural point of interest for me. However I am now realizing that making shoes by hand is a lot harder than it seems.

The process so far has been pretty smooth for the most part. Collecting basic information on cobbling and the tools needed has been a great way to relax and get back to my interests in this time of stress. However, I have been having a hard time finding a mentor. I have called several shoe repair shops and have gotten no answers back. Going into this, I knew that cobbling is a niche and that it would be hard to find a mentor, but I didn’t quite expect so much rejection from shops. Nevertheless, I happened upon the website of a very cute cobbling shop based right here in Vancouver and e-mailed them. Nothing has solidified yet, but I hope to be mentored by the shop keeper, Ronald Nidjdam, who seems like a very kind person from his e-mails. To overcome this obstacle, I have just been doing research on shops, e-mailing shops, and calling many others. It has not been easy, but I hope that at least one of the shoe repair shops responds. To entice people in to mentoring me I have offered to volunteer in the shops, but everything is still up in the air right now.

I have made plans to meet with what might be my future mentor in a public place with a parent around. We decided to meet up and talk about the project to see if he can help me in this situation. Ronald has taught all of his employees how to cobble and has given them a good education in shoe making, I hope that he can do the same for me. He has actually been hosting cobbling tutorials in his shop for the past year. Though I don’t have a mentor yet, I think I am making some progress in this field and I hope that by this time tomorrow I will have a mentor to help me along this journey.

This five month long journey will no doubt be hard, but I am very excited to begin working towards my goals. In this project, I hope to get a better understanding of the components of shoes, industrial sewing machines, and design. I hope to develop better sewing skills, more practical structure skills, and basic cobbling skills. Before the end of this project I hope to make at least two pairs of close-toe shoes. For practice on the sewing machine, I may make a bag to see what my limits are. I think that for the bulk of this project I will be trying different methods in creating shoes and really experimenting with those different methods to make my own unique style. I think that showing my learning may be difficult since this is a bit experimental for me and very skill oriented. I will most likely display my final products, two pairs of shoes and a bag, as well as perhaps a tutorial video created by me showing my process in cobbling. My motivation and reward for accomplishing this project will be the products themselves. I often struggle to find shoes or bags that stand out to me, so I will be very motivated to make the products and happy to wear them once they are finished.

I am very excited to actually begin creating my products and experimenting with different methods. I know that it will be a lot of manual work, but I am excited to work with my hands, it is something that I have not done much of lately. I will be posting bi-weekly with updates and progress reports as the project entails. If you have any questions about my project, suggestions for modifications or even advice on how to get a mentor, please leave it in the comments below. I really appreciate all the support from the Talons community! Good luck everyone on your in-depth projects, I am sure that they will be amazing!

One thought on “In-Depth 2016, Cobbling”

  1. What happened during your first session with Ronald Nidjham on Saturday? What did you learn? Did you hear back from more local stores, too?

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