Cork Army detail

Lets take a trip down memory lane… Maybe you know or maybe you don’t but in the period of ’09-’10 I did an internship at Harvard, Boston. I packed my suitcase with clothes and shoes, I flew across the ocean to work on a complicated subject in the lab of Jack Strominger. I arrived as an anxious little bird and  returned 7 months later as err… not a phoenix. I wished. But more like a pigeon. A bit reckless but also tougher and wiser –ha.ha.ha– than I was before. You know? Like those reckless pigeons in front of you in the street, acting like the don’t care, putting their lives on the line, you have to admit, they are strong.

Anyhow, the first weeks in the Bean I felt utterly lonely. It was November, winter was kicking in and everybody stayed warm and safe in their nest. There I was, weeping, alone in my room in a house with awful roommates. So, it was at that moment, I decided I needed to make new friends. I never had to do this before, I realized that all my life I was spoiled rotten when it came to friendships, they had always just been there. To get the fun started I decided to do what I knew best: I went to a dancing class. Like everywhere in the world, dancing is a language that needs no words plus, it was probably helpful that I could speak a fair amount of English. I met a lot of amazing people, eventually even joined some dance groups and did a few performances. A big grazie to all of you who made my USA experience the best!

 Cork Army on YamahaTransforming from a little bird to an outgoing dancer didn’t however, happen overnight. So, to bridge the gap and fill the time I found an art shop in Central Square, Cambridge, a part of the area I lived in. I bought a bunch of drawing supplies and started to sketch. All of a sudden, there they were, walking out of my fresh new pencils… some mediocre shoe sketches. Although my sketches were amateurish, it was in that instant I started to dream about realizing these 2D doodles and turn them into 3D creatures.

Let’s fast forward a little to when I returned to the Flatlands. I found an incredible  shoe school where I could start working on my dreams. Not long after, I found a job I started saving money and began my real journey into the world of shoes. I learned so much from my unbelievable talented teachers Rene van den Berg and Liesel Swart. I am a little sad that I finished my classes, they have so much more knowledge to offer that I would love to learn. They both have rare and unique talents and they influenced my life as well as those of my classmates majorly!

 

 

Cork Army cracked pavement

Last summer I finished 4 years of learning this wonderful craftsmanship. Uunfortunately, I have not been able toe make shoes recently (too busy being a mommy) however, I would like to share my ‘graduation’ project. I have to admit, it is a little rough on the edges. At the time I was pregnant, felt sick and I was running low on fuel but, I still like the design. This is one of the few project where I captured part of the raw build and therefore, a view into my process. For the upper segment I worked with cork textile, dark green nubuck leather and old silver-colored details. For the sole I used leather and EVA. Let’s see what you think of the shoes!

Cork Army on Yahama alone


The making of the shoes

After making the design, copying the last, making the 2D pattern the parts are cut out of the leather and cork. Everything is sewn together.
I added my initials to the tongue to make it more personal.

 

 

 

 

 

Cork army Upper before lasting
Uppers are laced up and are ready to put on the lasts.

 

Uppers are lasted and the first EVA layer of the sole is glued and pressed onto the lasts.
Uppers are lasted and the first EVA layer of the sole is glued and pressed onto the lasts.
The second layer of EVA is stacked and the heel is ready to ...
The second layer of EVA is stacked and the heel is ready to join the sole . As you can see, this heel is not lined out with the upper leather. At this point I almost gave up, everything went wrong. If I had to do this all over in a couple of months I would be 8 months pregnant. So I kept going.

The end result:

Cork Army on white


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