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.…

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.…

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.…