My in-depth project has continued to progress at a very good pace. I have really begun to finalize ideas about my learning center and after gathering and preparing all the different parts of my shoes, I have finally come to one of the most important stages in shoe-making. Yet this specific step has been a source of great frustration for me.
For the past few weeks I have been learning how to and attempting to last my shoes. Lasting the shoes is when you stretch the material using a hammer and nails so it fits exactly to the form of the shoe last. This is really important because this is what gives the shoe its shape; sewing makes everything come together, but lasting is where all the real work is done. This stage is crucial to having good shoes because the overall quality of the shoe is mostly determined at this stage– it is very easy to see which shoes have been made without lasting, and the quality is significantly worse than if the shoes were lasted. Finishing also gives the shoe a unique look, but lasting is a very long and hard process which includes nailing tough leather into the shallow sole of the shoe over and over again until no folds are visible in the leather. The first week I was lasting the lining of my shoes, I was almost in tears because every time I would hammer a piece of leather down, another nail on the other side of the shoe would pop out. Ron did the first lasting of my shoe in about 5 minutes. The first time I lasted one shoe, it took me over an hour to get all the nail in place. I then repeated this process each week and as the leather began to take shape, lasting became easier. I have been working very hard to finish my shoes, but despite the time I put in, there is only so much I can to finish my shoes. I have to wait about a week between lasting so the leather has the chance to actually stretch and shape. I am beginning to last the visible materials of my shoe this week, but it will take at least 3 weeks to finish. I am worried at this point about finishing my shoes, but there is not too much I can do to speed up the process at this point. If I do not finish the shoes, I think I will continue to work on them until I do they are complete. I think that even if I do not reach my goal for in-depth, that I will still be happy with the work I have done and with all the things I have learned.
In-depth night is quickly approaching so I have begun to think about the big night and my learning center. I am very excited to see everyone’s projects displayed, but I am rather nervous about my own learning center. I will hopefully display my shoes, the bag I used to practice sewing leather on an industrial machine, and some of the tools that I used along the process. I would also like to display pictures of the shoes at various stages on poster board with captions explaining the different steps that each picture embodies, so people have a better idea of the journey I went through to create these shoes. I would like to include an interactive aspect to my learning center, and I was thinking of letting people make their own leather key-chains by skiving and a hole punching using the professional tools. However, I am afraid that it would make a big mess, and if the tools are used incorrectly they could easily be broken. These are all factors to consider, but I think that I will still try to incorporate an interactive aspect in someway. I am still brainstorming some of the details for my learning center, but have a very good idea of the layout and the basic materials I will need to show my learning process as I experimented with cobbling.
I am very excited for in-depth night where we will all see the hard work people put into their projects as well as their final products. Though the deadline is rather close, it only motivates me more to continue to work harder so that I can have a finished product to show at my learning center. I hope you all have good luck with achieving your goals for this project, I know I could use a little luck right now!