Shoemaking sites

Was your Grandfather (or Grandmother) a shoemaker? Perhaps an Uncle? Or maybe just someone you knew and remember from childhood. Tell us the story.
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Re: Shoemaking sites

#51 Post by paul » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:11 am

Phillip and Al,

I'd like to express my appreciation to you both, for the example of mutual respect you have expressed in your discussion.
I think this is just the kind of example the world needs. And I'm proud to see it exercised here.

And I'm grateful for the points being clarified by your comments as well.
It sounds like "officaly" is the issue here. And the one with the best argument always wins on that kind of stuff anyway.
But Phillip, I think I'm interested in following your progress.

Thank you very much and Good Luck,
Paul

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#52 Post by cordphilip » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:31 am

Hi everyone.

I fully ackowledge your point "Admin" and take note. Just to say though that I feel I now must have a forum on my site. Transparency on any site is am must... but obviously within the rules of the host organisation. I am not going to say it's wrong to air this matter on the HCC forum... it's not my club and I joined knowing the rules... but we need a forum that can stretch the point if needed.

What I would like to say though is this. Our trade/industry is in decline and we are fast losing the skills and dedication of the people who make it what it is... a wonderful vocation and occupation. We all do what we do for different reasons and for varying amounts of gain (whether it be part time hobby or full time job). We have to embrace change and discussion fully... and if the HCC is justifiably unable to provide a platform for discussion, then we all have to take responsibility and create the right place. If I get it right then hopefully the new site will provide the place, if I don't then I hope someone else out there can do so.

Cheers everyone.... and let me be the first to wish you all a Happy Christmas, a prosperous New Year, and plenty of celebrating whatever you do in the rest of the world.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#53 Post by das » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:48 am

Paul,

Thanks for the kinds words, and I too will genuinely be interested in hearing about Phillip's progress. It's just that some topic discussions might be better over a few beers at the corner pub, or PM, than out here for the whole wide world to watch get "conceived and birthed", if you get my drift.

Phillip, and the UK shoemakers' group are a great bunch of folks indeed, kindred souls (soles?), and they have kindly invited any/all HCC folks who can to come to their annual winter get-togethers--we've announced them in the Crispin Courier in past years. Let's hope Phillip's website grows legs, and provides the valuable service he envisions for our trade-community at-large.

While I've always been a firm believer, not so secretly, that "rules were meant to be bent and broken" generally, when it comes to our precious little guild, it's website, and it's long-term corporate survival as an entity, it's always better "safe than sorry" IMO.

DW's put if far more eloquently than I could years ago, but the overwhelming appearance of openness and intimacy that we all feel and enjoy here, snug and safe in the Forum, is real and illusory at the same time. It may seem like a comfortable room full of close pals--and indeed it is--but at the same time it's a public forum supported by a chartered non-profit educational foundation, read, watched, and seen by potentially hundreds (thousands? millions? We could only hope) like a TV show. 99.9 % of the time it's fine to rest secure in the illusion that it's "just us shoe nuts" on-line here, but we (some of us) have the added responsibility to protect what we have created, and continue to create together, which I feel is one of the guild's greatest assets one the one hand, and certainly one of our greatest "gifts" to the public who click onto our website to read, learn, enjoy, and hopefully find some camaraderie.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#54 Post by das » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:12 am

Phillip,

Now that sentiment is somewhat fair for discussion this far at least: our trade is indeed in decline, has been for decades. There're several approaches to this predicament, which I will not try to wax eloquently on here, but suffice it to say there are multiple dimensions. Working shoemakers have very real legitimate business concerns, and within the context of being business people, you bet, they must address those business issues--not the least of which is getting your business' existence out there to attract customers.

The analogy that sprang to mind flying home from this year's HCC AGM was this: I'm a shoemaker, I have commercial business concerns like all of us. Why can't, if we can't, see this like belonging to the Lion's Club, The Rotary Club, the National Association of Widgetmakers, as well as the educational arm of the field (the HCC). On the one hand it's not reasonable (is it?) to join any one of these organizations, and then wonder why it's not doing the job of the others? No single organization I know of, or am a member of myself, can fulfill all of these separate functions. In some cases it would be a conflict of interest to combine these functions.

I hear your concerns, I really do mate, and I would like to invite you to the corner pub to discuss them all well into the night, adding a few of my own to the mix--but just starting some of these discussions you hint at on-line anywhere would be risky business. The one example I'll cite, which is illegal in the USA (and has nothing to do with ham-strung non-profits BTW) is "colluding to fix prices". This is just mentioned here as a hypothetical example, but let's say you or someone starts a website, and a "poll" type discussion ensues where everyone asks/shares what they charge for this or that good or service, you all will put yourselves at terrible risk of prosecution. Does this go on in the world? Sure. Do people do "industrial espionage"? Sure. Is it wise to do it openly in public on a website? Nope.

Please be careful with your website....we need all the shoemakers in the world we can get, and please try to keep them out of jail Image

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#55 Post by dw » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:00 pm

Paul, Al, Philip, all...

Well, since this discussion is fast waxing philosophical, I would add this:

While I do believe that fragmenting our efforts at what we all, presumably, want--ie. to preserve the Trade--only serves to dilute our strength, I think we also have to consider what the core issues are as we strive towards those goals.

I, in both my "official" role, as well as, happily, my personal preferences, feel that this forum should be dedicated to, and unimpeachably respectful of, the bespoke Trade and its practitioners. Some have felt excluded by my insistence in this regard. But the traditions and the traditional skills of the bespoke maker are a (no, actually the) repository of knowledge from which all else proceeds.

Imagine some distant future where this knowledge has been swept away--where bespoke boot and shoe makers no longer exist and the literature has been lost. Could the knowledge and the skills be recovered from a factory milieu? I think it would be hard...some skills yes, but the finesse and the details, I think would remain lost barring another millennium of rediscovery and evolution. To a very real degree the same cannot be said of factory work and the possibility of it emerging from a hand made context. The fact is, that it did emerge from that context and in a relatively short amount of time.

So...the upshot is that we, as a Guild, and we as a community on this Forum embrace the fundamental idea of "preservation." Sometimes folks see a conflict in this that really does not exist. As Al said we all need to make a living...but that's like saying we all need to breathe. It's beside the point. In the guild hall and here in the Forum we welcome all points of view but sometimes points of view need to take a backseat to the avowed goals of the community.

Personally, and I think I speak for most here, I don't care how a person makes his living...except as it relates to survival in an increasingly diverse and international economic environment. I'm not in competition with Joe (or Jane). I recognize that each of us has a different way of doing things and a different perspective. But I also think that sometimes...especially when the issue is raised...it is instructive to discuss the whys and the wherefores and even [horrors] make comparisons. Personally, I don't care if a person uses heated Stayflo bottles to make toe boxes (I had a long distance student do exactly that). But sometimes I think it is critical...and incumbent upon us who as Al has said have " the added responsibility to protect what we have created, and continue to create together"...to exhibit for our unseen audience and for the generations to come what it is that defines the best aspects of our Trade.

Not everyone sees it this way. Not everyone will be comfortable with this perspective. And it certainly does not go very far to meet needs that may not be encompassed in the desire to "preserve and protect."

That said, I join the others in wishing you well, Philip, in your new enterprise.


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(Message edited by dw on December 13, 2007)

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#56 Post by cordphilip » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:39 pm

Wow... what a few days !! I've had some amazing comment about all aspects of my plans... and I agree that the discussion has raised a number of points that have to be discussed fully and elsewhere. But I do have to thank those f you wo have given their best advice and encouragement.

I do need to say I am not trying to start a revolution, least a trade organisation. In the UK we call these business directories, except mine is for better reasons than most. I am going to put a statement on the front of the site which I hope will cover some of the concerns... and then take in some of the other comments after the weekend.

Cheers everyone

Philip

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#57 Post by marcell » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:54 am

Dear Philip,

I checked your site. I hope soon you can fill it up with information, because at the moment a bit empty..

On the other hand: excuse me because this tons of post - I started the avalanche. Sometimes you need a foreigner to ask something what everybody wants to talk about, just don't dare to ask.. Image

And something else: if this site wants to preserve the craft, why don't we do that? We are talking very clever topics, but frankly: we don't preserve so much. THEHCC.ORG should be a encyclopedia for shoemaking - we can make that with videos, PDF books, photos, whatever. I am afraid what we do now is not enough.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#58 Post by das » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:47 am

Marcell,

We love "foreigners" on here... Heck all Americans were foreigners once themselves Image

As to the guild's over-all preservation efforts, I'm surprised you've missed them. We offer a large series of DVD videos of scholarly and casual lectures and trade-related instructional presentations, as well as demos and hand-on workshops given at annual meetings going back at least 20 years I think; we offer a reprint books service of early and out-of-print textbooks on shoemaking; we're currently wrestling with the most efficacious way to get the guild's library of ____? number of volumes and periodicals on the trade, going back to the 1880s, accessible/available, as well as find a public venue for the guild's meager, but important collection of antique shoes; we published a journal of in-depth articles, too large to fit into the newsletter...and we have published more or less (too often less since the mass-infatuation with the Internet) 4 newsletters a years since October 1984, as well as held an annual guild meeting where all sorts of shoemakers gather to share information, sources, and other basic essential aspects of preserving our trade. I'd say we've made a rather large "footprint" (pardon the pun) towards preserving our trade. You'd be amazed at the number of HCC members, who, especially in relative isolation before the Internet, joined us feeling they may be the "last" of their kind, as they'd never met any other working shoemakers. Oh how the world hath changed, eh?

I'll refer you to the HCC membership roster, too. You'll see that a number of our guild's members are not only the leading museum-artisans and program heads at many open-air museums, but also curators, conservators, researchers from the world's leading shoe-museums, and others from the professional preservation community, globally, involved everyday with the preservation of shoemaking and its history. Don't let the Crispin Colloquy fool you--it may be the most prominent feature of the HCC in the world today, but it's merely the tip of the ice-berg.

Explore the links on the HCC Homepage--I think you'll find we've been a busy bunch of preservation-minded beavers..., er, um, shoe and bootmakers.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#59 Post by paul » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:08 am

Marcell,

You are so right about becoming an encyclopedia. I really like viewing it that way. And you sure have participated in that direction. I am really proud of your contributions. I look forward to meeting you someday.

Technology advances at pace much faster than I have a clue, and any maker fully involved in shoes or boots must find it challenging indeed to stay up with that progress. How DW does it is a mystery to me. It's not me, heck I had to marry a woman with a strong left brain just so that I'd have more than half a brain.

In defence of the work and committment that DW has put into our rescourse here, it's a wonder we're as up to date as we are.

I don't think your comments were meant to insinuate or accuse, but I wanted to take the chance to acknowledge our web master's contributions.

We value your input, thank you.
Paul

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#60 Post by romango » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:45 am

An encyclopedia sounds like a great idea but it is an overly simplistic view of how to capture information. A read through any topic on the Colloquy will show that definitive information is an illusion.

Members can discuss, ad infinitum, what is the best nail for lasting. Never mind more complex techniques. An encyclopedia, at best, would only be a different index into the same body of information.

I'm not trying to discourage other views into the information, rather just offering a reality check on the unwieldy nature of the data. I have spent 20 years designing database programs for handling all types of information and I can tell you that this data will not yield readily to organization.

This is precisely why Google, Wikis and Bulletin Boards, such as this, have gained so much popularity. They offer a community approach to dumping into central, if somewhat disorganized, locations, rather than wait for the white knight of super organization, who will arrive too late to save the damsel in distress. (How's that for a tortured metaphor?)

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#61 Post by marcell » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:45 am

I am sorry, if I hurted someone - this site is really the BEST I have found about this topic. But it doesn't mean we cannot do more.

I have never seen those DVDs - I am sure they are good, but content must be public, and a DVD - what you can buy through Internet is not that. I don't mean teach shoemaking to amateurs.. but lets say: in 100 years, when nobody can make shoes by hand - will he be able to reconstuct the methods based what he finds here? (I don't know.. maybe yes)

Wiki sound a VERY good idea for me... There are open source, free modules for that. In a year we could make a very complex one... hmm?

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#62 Post by das » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:33 am

Marcell,

No hurt feelings here at all my friend. Fun topic you've raised.

I'm not sure I understand your meaning about DVDs purchased over the Internet? All the information contained on them, like the CD archives of this Forum going back to its first day, are available to anyone. Is it that one has to buy these, versus getting them for free (like the Forum) your point?

I do not think that in 100 years people will be able to recreate 2007 shoemaking from just this Forum, or even all the guild's DVDs and CDs, any better than the historical-shoemakers can recreate 1800s, 1700s, or even 1600s and earlier shoemaking just from the surviving documents from those days alone. They will need to study the surviving shoes archaeologically, tools, machines, artworks, advertising art, plus all sorts of related material, and even then, with no guidance from living 100+ year-old shoemakers, they'll make mistakes and get things wrong.

That said, I'm amazed every day at how much this Forum manages to capture--practical expertise, how-to, know-how--and "publishes" it around the world in a matter of minutes, and now with videos! As the Forum community has grown and become so diverse and international, I'm not sure there exists any other medium that could capture all that flows through this website.

As a dyed-in-the-wool museum-weenie myself, I do wonder at the long-term (permanent?) archival nature of things constantly. Do DVDs and CDs last for 100 years? Will they be readable by the machines in 50 years? I much prefer the traditional "permanence" of good ink on good paper myself, bound with leather of course, but as not in-love as I am with computers, it is obvious to me that this medium has far out-stripped any other medium for the flow of raw information. I mean, is it even reasonable to think of converting the HCC Forum into printed pages? A book of dozens of volumes it would be to be sure. And Rick touched on it--how would you index and organize it into a book, and who would be fool enough to try?

The only way this trade has been handed-down as long as it has, has been through one-on-one transmission--from master to apprentice--you cannot learn shoemaking properly from books alone. The only way IMO to "preserve" it, in all its fullness and richness for all time coming, is to continue to inspire, excite, engage, and support people to: 1) keep doing it, and 2) to convince learners to learn it. Books, even the Forum, are ancillary to practical shoemakers actually making shoes.

Shoemaking has been considered an "art" for centuries, more than a mere "trade". And like other classical arts, think about it, how do they propagate themselves? Classical musicians and operatic singers... painters and sculptors (in the realism schools)... all of these were trained by others in fierce competition with contemporary "stars" setting the bench-mark standards to be approached, met, or exceeded. And that training was never easy, and often included firm corrections and harsh criticisms. But innate talent and even adept instruction cannot make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#63 Post by dw » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:11 pm

No offense taken here and I hope none anywhere else.

I am, undoubtedly, prejudiced but I think the forum fulfills about 90% of what it was intended to do. Considering that there are nearly 200 streams of input (or potential streams of input) other than mine......other words, roughly 200 registered members...I think the results are remarkable, really.

Do you realize, Marcell, that the Crispin Colloquy consists of nearly 17,000 (yes, that's right--seventeen thousand) posts? Closing in on 12,000 now and over 5,000 on the archive cd.

Now, could you make a shoe if you read...with earnest intent...every post on the forum? I am reasonably sure you could come quite close. Why am I so sure? Because we've seen it done time and again--Jenny Fleishmann is just one example.

Could you achieve the level of refinement and expertise and confidence that 19th century makers, such as John Lobb, exhibited at International Exhibitions? Probably not. On the other hand, someone well versed in the basics can pick up an awful lot...maybe 95% of the important stuff...right here in "River City."

And I don't think there is any other contemporary source that can match that degree of commitment to education and/or preservation. And yes, the correct word is "commitment" simply because it's not just questions or chat or photos, it's members willing to answer questions and help others. And every one of those members puts him or herself on the line and his or here ideas and skill on display for rougher elements to criticize. But even more, it's energy and time given...to others, without charge.

But no source of shoemaking knowledge...past, present, or future has ever presented the whole picture. I'm not sure it can be done. Not even your very good videos (and I've made a few videos, myself, so I hope you take this in the spirit it is presented--as an objective observation...mine fall equally short of the mark) provide an adequate foundation for making a shoe or boot in the absence of further instruction. There is a 27 hour dvd available on making boots...some folks have used it to bootstrap themselves from rank beginner to...what?..."advanced novice" level, maybe? But, bottom line, all the old literature, as well as all the new methods of demonstrating techniques, need additional guidance and interpretation to make them useful. This idea that a 30 minute video tour of a boot factory or a ten minute clip on the forum or on YouTube can reveal any really useful information is stretching things.

And anyone who thinks that they have all the answers and don't need (or more likely refuse) to learn anything more...regardless the source...might as well quit. That guy already has one foot on the grave, he might as well just put the other leg in and pull the dirt on over.

Now the point is that the Forum--The Crispin Colloquy--is much the same. An encyclopedia is static. It is already old news. It has stopped adding new material or considering new ways of approaching old problems. This forum grows and it changes and people come and go. And at the same time, with due reverence to the time honoured skills and techniques, fresh ideas and approaches are constantly filtering in--some to fall by the wayside, some get ignored by those more steeped in tradition, and yet...some good, new ideas stick.

That's what the forum is--a living, vital, growing entity. And it is that because it is comprised of hundreds of living, growing, learning, entities--like you and me.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#64 Post by dw » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:28 am

Al,

I just wanted to say that going back and re-reading your post of Friday, 14 December 2007, I was struck at how concise, complete and well said it was.

I know that the sheer number of posts on the forum can be intimidating and that often combines with the immense volume of all information (not just on shoemaking) on the Internet to sometimes make people reluctant to explore and discover the full extent what is available.

I am sure that very few people knew how many posts were here (not counting the first archive CD there are now close to 12,00 posts online and accessible from this starting point.

And as you mentioned the Guild itself has materials such as CD's and DVD's and reprints of books that nearly define the Trade. Heck, there are even whole books from the masters that can be, not just borrowed, but downloaded (and another coming sometime in 2008.

I wonder how many folks knew that? How many have taken the time to really explore and really read and not just skim over it all?

That's the the offsetting downside of the the Internet's great usefulness--it discourages thoroughness and patience and instead fosters that "quick read" mentality...and sadly, just like television, a 30 second attention span.

But let's stipulate...the Internet is here to stay and it is, for those who take the time, maybe the greatest resource for "lay" learning since the Gutenberg Bible.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#65 Post by das » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:23 am

Marcell,

You've gone silent. I hope DW and me didn't go overboard on our replies--we're just excited about the HCC Forum, and never fail to sing its praises. Did you find the other stuff linked we talked about?

DW,

Why, thanks for the kind words ol' bean...

I'm afraid that the HCC Forum might be a bit like trying to drink water from a gushing fire hose at times, but no idea how to change that. My overall impression of the Internet, perhaps unlike Gutenberg's press, is that it's so uncontrolled and un-vetted, that there's more BS flooding the "airwaves" that passes for information and fact, than actual information and fact (e.g. Wikipedia, which has been discredited as a citable source in most serious circles at least).

When I first went "on-line" umpteen years ago, albeit reluctantly, I felt the web was a bit like the ham radio craze of the 1930s, or the CB radio craze in the 1970s--lots of chatter and blather, but neat in that it brought lots of far-flung people together. Gutenberg's printing press was expensive, therefore printing was controlled from the beginning by a tiny cartel. Universities and their presses finally established some "rules" and standards for what got into print under the authoritative guise of print media and what didn't. The 'net ain't there yet man Image

As long as anybody with too much spare time and a keyboard can go on-line, erect a glamorous website that appears authoritative, they can un-do decades if not centuries of scholarship and research--and a lot of anybodies can and do flood the Internet with more bunk than an army of dedicated folks can ever un-do in a lifetime. It's maybe like Mobocracy at its worst sometimes I think.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#66 Post by cordphilip » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:59 am

Hello Al... sounds like a bit of a dig in my ribs tucked away in there !!

Whether valid thoughts or not on the subject of the forum. It's extremely hard to navigate at times and maybe in need of a little modernisation in design, but the forum is something special to all of us... it reminds us of what we're all here for really. However I feel there is always room for progress and development as long as it's done for the right reasons.. trust me on that one.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#67 Post by dw » Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:35 am

Philip,

It may not be my place but I hope to be forgiven when I say that I know Al well enough to be certain that there was no intentional dig in his remarks. Our beloved founder is a bit of a Luddite in some ways...the sentiments that he expressed with regard to the Internet and websites are characteristic of him...and believe me, I have heard it long before now.

That said, it is understandable for someone in a field that is so fraught with ambiguity yet which so desperately seeks to pull back veil of uncertainty and time--I speak of the field, and discipline, of history--that they would be uncomfortable with the chaos and shifting realities of the Internet.

Don't take it personal...even I (and I am as comfortable with the 'Net as anyone) know and accept Al's basic premise. There is probably more misinformation and BS on the Internet than there is valid info. That said, in all probability, when we look at popular beliefs since time out of mind there was probably always more superstition and fantasy and blinkered thinking than there was objectivity and science. It is the human condition.

As for being hard to navigate...that is not only intentional, in a sense, it is here to stay, I'm afraid. It is part of the underlying structure of the software that runs the forum (which BTW, insures that posts and topics don't just disappear as they get old--essential if the intention is to archive info) as well as to create an ambiance that is consistent with the "look and feel" of the Guild. The Guild never did go in for flash and I didn't feel any compulsion to code it in. Still don't. I like it "old fashioned."

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#68 Post by das » Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:41 am

Phillip,

No "dig" at all, at least not a conscious one, honest. Your site looked fine to me. As I have about as much website/Internet savvy as I do on quantum physics (none), I'm still gob-smacked that like ham radio, I am actually chatting with a fellow in the UK from the comfort of my desk across several time-zones and one wide ocean.

As far as the fine points of website navigation, you'll have to address those to "Admin"...it's all witchcraft and magic as far as I'm concerned. Remember, I'm the "history" guy, not the "modernization" type.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#69 Post by dw » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:01 am

Philip,

BTW, someone else...Marcell, I believe...wanted the forum to be more encyclopedic. Admittedly, I am not very sympathetic to the narrow definition of an encyclopedia, but insofar as the forum is a repository of knowledge, is organized into permanent topics, limited in number, which can be easily found, searched, and relied upon, it is far easier to navigate than any other software that I am aware of...and I have been posting to internet forums since before there was an Internet. And it is far more "encyclopedic" than almost any other kind of forum on the net.

Others may have different opinions on this matter and might conceivably want to structure their own web pages and their own forums in a different manner. But you have to bear in mind what the objectives of the HCC and the Crispin Colloquy are...once you take that into consideration, the forum (and the forum software) is almost a perfect fit.

Like any tool, however, one needs to take the time to learn to use it before any kind of comfort level can be expected.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#70 Post by das » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:24 am

Phillip,

Sorry I sent the last note before I saw the above from DW.

Yes, absolutely, my observations on the Internet were no way made with you in mind. In fact, I was more "digging" in DW's ribs if anybody's--he loves his Internet Image

Call me a Luddite--I'll wear it proudly. The problem is, for me, working in the education/museum/history end of things, that there is far more misinformation flowing through the Internet than there is good solid fact, no? With even the rigorousness of scholarly publishing in the paper-and-ink books world, bunkum still gets published, it always has and always will. It's merely that the Internet is so pervasive, so influential, and above all so popular, chances are that more people are getting their so-called "information" on-line, than from properly vetted paper-and-ink resources, and this is spelling "trouble" in the fields I mentioned above.

There are big, glitzy, glamorous, and visually attractive websites all over, plus even homely little chat-groups, that have set back the scholarship of even shoe-history by a century (NOT this site, nor any linked to any individuals I know of on here BTW). In my view the only way forward in this mess is to just relentlessly keep to the high ground of solid scholarship, and debunk the same myths everytime they rear their heads.

Some of the most egregious shoe-related hoary chestnuts that refuse to die, passing as "history", that I've had to debunk every day for, now, 34 years include:

"Shoes were made on straight lasts up 'til 1800s (pick a date) so they could be rotated from foot to foot like car tires (tyres)"
"Left and right shaped shoes were not 'invented' until the 1800s (pick a date)"
"Most shoes were made to measure one pair at a time--ready-mades only came along in the 1800s (pick a date)"
"The shoemaker usually worked alone--one man made the whole shoe start to finish--the lone village shoemaker"
"Medieval shoes were chained up to the knees, the toes were so long and pointed"
" 'Dogskin' shoes were made from the family dog"
"Red shoes (women's) were for naughty women"
"Red heels were a strictly controlled/legislated court fashion"
"Shoemaker/Cobbler were synonymous terms"
"Shoes were so expensive (because they were hand-made) that many people went barefooted"
"Shoemakers made their own leather (tools, lasts, buckles, etc.)"
"Early shoes were crude (only machines can stitch neatly)"
"Early shoes were uncomfortable"
"The Pilgrims wore buckles on the shoes (and hats)"

Now, one may ask, "so what?, "who cares?". I only list these popular myths--all debunked years ago, yet often repeated to this day by people who ought to know better (and all over the Internet)--to illustrate how hard it is to "educate" the public. Shoe-history may be a fun diversion for us shoe-folks, but most people in the streets can live and die quite happily under whatever delusions they like on the subject. The problem is if this is symptomatic of a broader lack of critical thinking and access to sound historical facts across the spectrum, civilization is in big trouble. We're not talking major stuff, like is the earth flat or round here, but the Internet is not doing its fair share to "fix" these problems, and in many cases it's only making them worse IMO.

Off my soapbox for now...

marcell

Re: Shoemaking sites

#71 Post by marcell » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:26 am

Yes, I am silent, but I am listening.. Image No problem. As I mentioned my English is not so good, so when the conversation turns too "philosophical" to me, I need to work hard to understand - sorry, my fault.

I still think that we should start - here in thehcc.org - a shoemaking wiki (with a free module), which explains everything with pictures, movies, descriptions everything we know about shoemaking.
You could add your own knowledge - just like in a forum, but it stays organised. For example If I want to know how to make a american cowboy shoe, maybe I have to read 5-6 forums, instead of one article, If it will be in a wiki topic, it would became researchable...

I promise I wont make it in another website Image, but this is what I would found very practical...

das
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Re: Shoemaking sites

#72 Post by das » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:38 am

PS--

Ouu, ouu...one more point that might clarify my views here if I may, then I'll shut up for the day.

As I'm deeply engrossed in the historical end of things, lamenting the ignorance perpetuated via the Internet... Take a more critical aspect, such as the great(!) discussions that Rob, Fred, and others are discussing over there in 'Correcting Common Foot Problems'--if there was a body of commonly-held myths regarding orthopedic issues that flew in the face of everything the professionals know today, or that only get published in highly specialized journals not likely to reach the public, and those myths were widely held, people would be getting crippled, hurt, that which separates us from the apes--upright bipedal motion--would be at risk, and the Internet was in part the culprit in advancing those myths, how would Rob and Fred feel?

Let's imagine there were scores, even hundreds of websites as big as the Forum, or even more glamorous (if such a thing were possible) that daily flooded the world with "wrong" orthopedic "information", which led many astray to their physical harm, and reflected very poorly on the state of current orthopedic understanding of the foot and footwear, what should we...what could we do about it?

das
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Re: Shoemaking sites

#73 Post by das » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:44 am

Marcell,

Glad you're still with us here. Sorry for all the philosophy Image

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#74 Post by dw » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:12 am

Al,

Now you've gone and done it...numbers 3, 4, and 14 form the philosophical foundation of my whole life! Image

I think your point about "keep(ing) to the high ground of solid scholarship, and debunk(ing) the same myths everytime they rear their heads" is spot on and applies across the board. You ask "what could we do about it?" Ever since you and I got to talking (years ago) about how pervasive mis-information is on the 'Net, I have thought that the only thing we can do is be stubbornly pedantic about it.

That said, we all have our blind spots...just as quantum physics and the Internet is a bit daunting to you, so too is history to me. I am probably guilty of disseminating one or two of those popular myths myself. Don't get me wrong, I admire historians...I think it is a noble pursuit and one everyone ought to respect if not dabble in a bit themselves. But I don't have a head that can contain all those dates and sequences. Frankly I'd much rather speculate about what might have happened if say, the Japanese had caught all the carriers in port 60 some years ago.

And, in passing, there's nothing wrong with philosophy, in my mind--it softens us up for the facts...

Er, what did Pilgrims wear on their shoes? Image

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#75 Post by das » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:52 am

Deedub,

Well, I lied...planned to log-off a while ago, but this here Internet is just do derned captivating...

I guess all we can do is keep repeating the same old stuff. History, like physics, is not for everyone nor need it be--that's why we have historians and physicists doing that. But, since most of us have to rely on these other folks for our "information", we'd like to think we can trust what we are told, and that's mighty dangerous on the Internet is all.

Oh don't get me wrong, philosophy is fun, just we have such a conflicted and fuzzy picture of what happened on Dec 7 1941 at Pearl Harbor, who knew what when, etc., our time might better be spent trying to get to the bottom of what really happened than noodling about what didn't IMO of course.

And, history seems less and less like memorizing dates and data (boring), as it is about critical-thinking and forensics ('CSI') to solve things, or at least wind up with a better explanation.

Pilgrims' shoes? Why they tied of course, as the shoe buckle didn't hit England until c.1660. No magic there, it's just a matter of looking at old art to see that ties were "in" in 1620, and reading Sam Pepys ("this day I began to put buckles on my shoes" 22 January 1660). Heck, even Hollywood costume designers and Howard Pyle (notorious artist) could have done that much due diligence, but no, "...we have to have big buckles on the Pilgrims Mr. DeMille..."

And, just like the un-policed Internet today, few argue the all pervasive influence of Hollywood in shaping the popular views of history amongst the last generation (or two). I'm sure there were historians shaking their heads over Hollywood's treatment of the past, just like some of us are currently shaking our heads over the Internet's treatment of the past. Maybe if there were disclaimer pop-up windows: "any similarity or resemblance to any persons or events, alive or dead here, is purely coincidental" Image

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