The Pyramid Club, P-Lab: Shoe stories
Recent Wellington arrival Louise Clifton is a craftsperson, teacher and founder of Shoe School, NZ's first dedicated school of shoemaking.
Since Shoe School's inception in Dunedin in 2015 she has helped hundreds of first time shoemakers craft beautiful shoes by hand. Louise's practice is also performative and community based, she has co-ordinated workshops inviting international practitioners, and created Fringe Festival and iD Fashion Week events, such as the spectacularly trashy 'Frankenfoot' upcycling workshops and elegant runway 'Japanese Handmade Shoes' showcase.
Louise began shoemaking at a time in New Zealand when it wasn't possible to learn. Her journey as a student has taken her to Australia and Japan, seeking tuition in private schools, costume design companies and training with Masters of the craft. Her quest to set up a studio in New Zealand has also seen her travel extensively to source equipment, following tip-offs leading her to musty suburban garages and the crowded streets of Hong Kong and China.
Shoe School is a response to the downsizing of NZ's manufacturing industry which began in the 1980's and the loss of skills and jobs that went with it. Louise sees making as transformative, and an essential part of the human experience. Shoe School aims to make the skills, tools and materials of creating beautiful, durable and comfortable shoes accessible to all.
Louise will talk about her journey, and will demonstrate the basics of the mystery that is shoe construction. This will appeal to anyone with a love for craft, history, and anyone who loves a tale of someone pulling themselves, and an entire industry, up by their bootstraps.