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  • Writer's pictureKate Hopkins-Searle

First of six pairs for 2020?

And finally, I have something to show for all the hours of researching ideas and planning and drawing and making paper patterns. I started making the right shoe of the pair on Monday and it was unbelievably hard, much harder than I remembered this task to be and I thought "no wonder I've been putting off starting for so long". I had planned so much detail in the front part that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get it all done before the clay dried out too much (there'd be no chance of success if I were doing this in the summer - so perhaps all this wet weather has some benefits). The decoration is made up of impressed flower & leaf patterns (from small plaster stamps I've carved) incised decoration, some low relief flowery swirls, sprig moulded braiding and, of course, a top line of tiny spheres. The intricate Rococo front part of the shoe is from one of a series of moulds I made last year - all with H-M-Over-The-Top Marie Antoinette in mind. However, it was incredibly hard to get it out of the mould in one piece and then attach it to the curve of the shoe upper. The back part I had to do twice as messed up the placement of the patterns. I very nearly, at one point, put the whole thing in the bin and there was so much swearing in the studio. In the end I left it half-finished and wrapped up in plastic until the following day. With a fresh look it wasn't so bad and although I can see a lot of mistakes it's passed the test of being 'good enough' (just!). Making the left shoe was a doddle in comparison...well not exactly easy but at least I knew what to expect.

I have resolved to make at least 6 pairs of shoes this year so that's a quite a good start for January!

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