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Posted on Feb 10, 2016 in Blog

I’ve stopped adding to this blog for now–it’s easier for me to simply post what I am working on here:



black Horween handwelted lace ups

Shoe lasts

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog

Ever since I wrote about the process for making plaster casts of an individual’s feet, I’ve gotten emails from people asking whether I would cast their feet when I make shoes. For the vast majority of my shoes and boots, I use vintage shoe lasts that are then custom fit to the individual. A “last” is a wooden or plastic mold that fits the foot and has the shape of a shoe. The shoes are built around this last, or mold.

I have collected a series of last “runs” over the years, and certainly have my favorites. The older the better!…

Pergamena Leather in Montgomery, NY

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 in Blog, leather
Pergamena Leather in Montgomery, NY

Last week I visited Pergamena, a leather tannery in Montgomery, NY. Most of the vegetable-tanned leathers they produce are for bookbinders, where a major concern is acid-free archival quality material. This photo shows soft and flexible soling material for bowling shoes — the “nap” of the leather is finished to run one way, so that you can slide right into your bowling lane.

IMG_9057At just over two hours away by car, I am fairly sure this is the closest leather tannery to my studio in Holyoke. If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said there were *no* tanneries at all close to me.…

In These Shoes: Bespoke Footwear in America at PCS Holyoke

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 in art shoes, Blog, custom shoes

It is nice to remember warmer times at this, the coldest and bleakest time of the year in New England! Here are some photos from last year’s show in Holyoke at the Paper City Studios gallery.



Glowing sign.


2013-09-29 11.40.50Amara Hark-Weber’s “Muscle Memory” video. Shoes made by Amara Hark-Weber, Jesse Moore and Anne Marika Verploegh Chasse.


2013-09-29 11.46.20Happiness, Paul Opperman





I am late for work, Jesse Moore


1185182_10201998838718539_655664589_nShoemakers Lisa Davidson and Anne Marika Verploegh Chasse with other nicely-shod reception attendees.

1185277_10201998830238327_2104682961_nOpposition, Amara Hark-Weber




Heartbroke Lovestruck, Anne Marika Verploegh Chasse


557718_10201998816717989_1367114800_nHappiness, Paula, and Heavy Metal, Paul Opperman


998475_10201998851358855_1154397058_nOutside Paper City Studios on a lovely summer’s evening in Holyoke.…

Holyoke Artsalon

Posted on Jan 10, 2014 in Blog

Last month I was invited to be a part of The Artsalon at Gateweay City Arts in Holyoke. The weather that night called for snow and ice, but thankfully people still trekked out to the Canal District. Artsalon Holyoke

The format was Pecha Kucha, and the five of us (fellow Holyokers Cynthia Consentino, Caleb Colon, Peter Dellert, and Chris Nelson) showed 20 slides with 20 seconds each to talk. I like this structure–it definitely keeps the pace going and kept me from going into too much detail about punching tiny holes in heavy leather with ancient tools (YAAAAWWWWN).

The one artist I had not had a chance to meet beforehand was Cynthia Consentino, although I had seen her work at a ceramic show at Paper City Studios (next door to Gateway City Arts) last year.…

custom molded sandals from full length custom orthotics

Posted on Nov 23, 2013 in Blog, custom shoes, orthopedic shoes, sandals
custom molded sandals from full length custom orthotics

I will take the exam to become a Certified Pedorthist in a couple of months, after I finish accruing the thousand hours of practicum work required. This has taken me a while–it’s been difficult to manage my custom shoe workload along with adding in the hours of shadowing two talented and giving certified pedorthists in the area. Somehow along the way I found the time to turn a pair of custom molded orthotics into a pair of sandals. I wore them around this summer A LOT.

Below are the materials I used for the orthotics, fresh out of the vaccuum forming machine.…

Toebiter tabi slippers, and thoughts on going barefoot

Posted on Nov 12, 2013 in Blog, tabi socks

toebitA few years ago, a friend gave me a pair of traditional Japanese carpenter shoes (jika-tabi), made of cotton fabric, with a split toe and thin rubber soles. Winter was coming, so I thought only of encasing my bony cold feet in warm wool to ward off frostbite while at home in my 1885 brick row house in New England. I’ve since made a ton of these felted tabi slippers (Toebiters) for myself, friends, and others who buy them at my shop on Etsy. I think of them as deconstructionist-influenced and pretty crafty. Martin Margiela meets Commes des Garcons at Frenchy’s.…

hand stitched welted shoes

hand stitched welted shoes

What is involved in making a pair of handmade welted shoes? Here is a photo of the hand-stitched seam binding a leather strip (the welt) to the insole through the leather “uppers”. A curved awl is used to punch the holes through this thick leather. The seam is sewn with one continuous waxed thread. Sewing in this way uses some strange inner shoulder muscles, as the pulls to get the seam nice and tight require a lot of strength.

welt inside

This next photo shows the welt sticking out from under the bottom of the shoe, ready to have the sole attached and then sewn together.…

In These Shoes at Paper City Studios, Holyoke, MA

Posted on Jul 24, 2013 in Blog

postcard_web“In These Shoes: Bespoke Footwear in America” opens on Friday, September 6 with a reception from 5 pm to 7 pm at Paper City Studios, 80 Race Street in Holyoke, MA. The show originated at the Quigley Gallery at Clarke University (Dubuque, IA) in June of this year and will be traveling throughout the country in various galleries and museums.

This show is an art event blurring the boundaries of fashion, art and craft. It features handmade-to-order footwear from couture to cowboy, that both fit the foot and look like no off-the-rack shoes– akin to sculpture. With a burgeoning trend of fashion and costume being recognized in major museums like the Whitney and MoMA, this is the first show to specifically highlight contemporary bespoke shoemakers.…

measuring the foot

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog

A short photo essay describing how I like my foot tracings and measurements to be taken:

Both feet are to be traced and measured, but for the purposes of this essay I will only show one foot. Do not trace and measure your own feet. Have someone else take the measurements (your feet have 26 bones and an assortment of tendons and ligaments in them, allowing you to walk. This constant movement also makes getting an accurate tracing difficult).

Have the person whose feet are to be measured stand squarely with both feet on the floor. A piece of paper is placed under the foot to be traced.…