Derby Shoes

SHOES!!  I have had dreams of becoming a shoe cobbler for a few years now.  One (at least) of my ancestors was a master boot-maker, Benjamin Joseph Green.  When I was about 21 or so years old I saw that a local shoe repair shop needed help, no experience necessary.  I went in eagerly to inquire about the position.  The woman working there told me I wouldn’t be strong enough because I was a girl.  RAWR, eff-you!  I was at my strongest physically at the time, too bad I didn’t have as strong of a will and enough conviction to convince them I would be worth the investment…!  As a shy and easily discouraged 21 year old I left feeling betrayed and utterly disappointed.  I knew I was strong enough!  I assumed all other shops in Peterborough would react the same.  Fast-forward ten years later and shoe cobbling comes up in my mind and in reality again!  My sister talks to a shoe repair woman in Kensington Market and my mom finds a class offered at Haliburton School of Art in shoe-making taught by Jon Gray.  I signed up for the course and have been in contact with the cobbler in Kensington Market.  The following series of pictures shows just a few of the steps involved in making one pair of shoes over a six-day period of time, eight hours/day…enjoy!


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So many nails to hammer in and pull out!












Lots of precision cutting…
















Hard work and dirty hands

























This group of people where very entertaining and mostly fun to be around :)  It was the hottest week of the yea last summer and we had no air conditioning.  It was kind-of insane-making.


One year later, trying my shoes on for the first time (it’s a long story)!!



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Jon Gray, himself, re-training me in the art of shoe lace tying… :)