Learn the age-old art of Cordwainer shoemaking.

Instructor: Molly Grant

The Cordwainer Shop is a 100-year-old, family-owned business that is dedicated to preserving the craft of handmade leather shoes. Their iconic Cordwainer Classics were worn by Hollywood legends such as Caesar Romero, Shirley Temple, Mary Pickford, and the original Henry Ford.
Using the original tin patterns designed in the mid-1930s by The Cordwainer Shop founders, and an array of natural materials, Molly will teach you to hand-stitch and hand-lace your own pair of Squire Desert Boots.The class will begin with a brief presentation on the history of the business and the original designs. Then we will move on to leather and color selection, cutting of patterns, and hand lacing using antique hand tools. The uppers will then be laced to the soles, placed on shoe lasts, and heated for tightening on the lasts before finishing. Made of non-synthetic materials, your handmade, one-of-a-kind shoes will last a lifetime when properly cared for.

Choose from an array of leather colors to craft a unique pair of Squire Desert Boots, starting with basic pattern making and how to properly lay the leather. Learn to skive, fold, and glue uppers together to create a fully leather-lined boot upper, which is then hand sewn to your custom-sized leather sole. Industrial sewing machines complete the upper sewing toppling but a hand-sewn option is available. Some time will be spent with students wanting to use sewing machines. Last and burnish the sole edges and finish boots with a sock lining. All levels welcome; some hand/finger strength and dexterity are needed for sewing.

Please note: This class starts Thursday morning at 9 AM

Touchstone Workshop General Schedule

Materials fee: US$250

bio with dog Grant Shoe Class (1)

Molly Grant

Molly Grant began leatherworking in her early 20s, first by working on her own and then by apprenticing at the Black Swan Leather in Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH. She first encountered Cordwainer Shoes when she was ten years old at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair, known nationally as the oldest craft fair in the nation. She became a juried member with that same craft league in 1989 and participated in showing her line of handbags. There, she had the opportunity to meet Paul Mathews, maker of those same glorious shoes. Within a few months, Molly was traveling to craft shows nationally to assist Paul, and learning the art Cordwainer craft. Molly still makes handbags, but her main business is teaching shoemaking workshops at craft schools across the country and designing, making and showing her handbags at galleries nationally.