How did the idea to participate to “World Championship Shoe Contest” come into your mind?
Someone, a few years ago, asked me if I had any awards from contests. I saw photos on the internet of award-winning footwear (a cowboy boot that received an award somewhere in Europe). A few months ago there was an announcement on ShoeSnob and Shoegazing “World Championship Shoe Contest”. I wrote beneath the add “I’m in”, and I received a letter containing the conditions for participating. So I started to create the shoe.
What is the story of your shoe?
I just carved the tip of an Italian last. The request was for square. I named it “English”. Since the championship is in London… For the contest I was supposed to create a plain “cap toe” Oxford from black boxcalf. 42. The left shoe. I manually sewed the face. It was a pleasure. It’s easy to sew. Ever since I began sewing belts I kept thinking that I could also sew the shoe faces, but I haven’t done it so far. The lateral parts are from one piece, of course. I tried to use an English awl and I got a fine stitching at the sole. I sewed the frame with an eight threads wire. Thick. I pulled it with strength. It stays fixed in the inner sole. The box, cut from the best part of the leather, had no folds when I removed the shoe from the last. The sole, beige, shines. The stitch is hidden. A nice shoe. I didn’t have the proper roller for the stitch and I jagged the sole with something finer. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry. As soon as the shoe comes home, I’ll “chop off its teeth”.
Where is the shoe now? Is it available for sale?
The shoe is in my studio, in Chişinău – Moldova. It’s a left shoe. If required, I can make the right shoe, too.
If there weren’t any markings related to the model, box, color and so on, how would the shoe you would take to a future similar contest look like?
It’s very well that there was this marking. It didn’t affect my time and focus. I was fixed on the shoe as a construction, not as a model. I don’t know what I would have done if it weren’t for this marking. I suppose it would have been just another oxford. Maybe even a black boxcalf. A brogue, a hand stitched face, most certainly. I would do something that I never did before. It isn’t good at all from a tactical point of view, but it is a reason to try something new. I haven’t done yet any Norwegian derby or a clasp loafer. I’m tempted by a top made not from one piece, but from 2-3 straps. Sandal shoe. Clasps, threads… I’d do something, for sure. Something nice!
What are you working on currently?
I’m working on a few orders. I’m also making a patina for the showcase. It seems to come out OK. I’m making it long, with a lot of liquid paint from Saphir. I let it dry during the night so that I can see the result in the morning. I add two or three drops of black paint every day. Fascinating process. The gradient is very well received. I’m making a “bleu nuit” oxford. I want to make a championship sole on it, with an 8 spi hidden stitch.