I recently made my own pair of moccasins and I'm delighted with the results. I've had them on my feet more or less all day, everyday, ever since I made them! I attended a one-day moccasin making workshop with Rose Choules at her studio in Cornwall, and it was fascinating learning how to cut and sew a very simple, yet beautiful pair of shoes in just one day. The workshop began with all the students (myself and two friends) choosing our materials. I opted for a very classic (and some might say boring!) tan suede while my friends were far more adventurous and used navy/bottle green and chocolate/burgundy colour combinations. Rose also showed us her amazing selection of luxury leathers, including wild antelope suede, Devon shearling and smoked moose hide from Saskatchewan, Canada. Using templates to perfectly fit our feet, we cut out pattern pieces and punched them with tiny holes that would later be stitched through. We worked to a cosy low-top moccasin slipper pattern that is lined with fleece, which Rose has developed herself. My favourite part was stitching the moccasins together using beeswax-coated thread and cutting my own spiral shoelaces from leather. The saddle stitch used to join the vamp to the sole was very satisfying (a good thing as I made a little mistake and had to redo this part several times!) Mistake rectified and moccasins stitched together, the final stage was to shape them on the last, trim the suede and tie the laces. It feels good knowing how to make a simple pair of shoes and when this pair eventually wear out, I'll definitely make another. Rose is running one and two day mocassin making courses in London and Cornwall throughout the year, so if anyone fancies a go, please contact her for more details. The one day course is perfect for beginners, while the two day course is a little more advanced and aimed at people already working in the footwear industry. If you'd like to see more pictures of Rose's fascinating studio, click here to see the tour I featured last year.
Rose Choules creates the most beautiful handmade moccasins from her studio in North Cornwall. I visited recently to explore the space and to find out more about her work. For Rose the power of art and craft is life changing; she is that rare artisan who has dedicated herself to a hand-made life and who describes her work as the transference of love from one human who makes an item, to another who wears it. "For me this is the spice of life" she says, "and what I dedicate my everyday to." Rose designs two collections of moccasins a year and each pair are made to order in her workshop. My favourites are the mixed suede and leather fringed ankle boots for autumn/winter 13 and the cute mini children's versions. Rose also teaches moccasin making workshops, in London and at her studio - something that I would love to have a go at! She is currently running a number of unique workshops in Saskatoon, Canada, as part of the newly formed Young Artisans Co-operative. The aim of these special workshops is to help find a way in which craft can be used to alleviate poverty. To see more of Rose's inspiring work, please visit her new website.