Boot-Maker to the Kings and King of Boot-Makers

Shoemaker John Lobb

In the middle of the 19th century, John Lobb was a lame Cornish farmboy whose mastery of the Gentle Craft of last and awl brought him golden awards in the Great International Exhibitions. He held the Royal Warrant as Bootmaker to Edward, Prince of Wales. In this ‘Edwardian’ era of opulence and splendour, Lobb shoes became synonymous with quality and elegance.

In 1976, the French luxury brand, Hermès, took over the John Lobb name and has since broadened the reach of the brand.

The Last Shall Come First

A John Lobb shoe- or boot-maker stretches leather over a ‘last’, a beech wood form that is a hand-carved representation of the customer’s foot. Then he draws a pattern for the uppers which is passed to a clicker, the person who cuts the leather. Next, the closer assembles the leather uppers.  Once this is done, the heel and soles are clicked.  The shoe- or boot-maker assembles all the parts and finally, polishes the shoes or boots.

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/john-lobb/

http://www.johnlobbltd.co.uk/history/history.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lobb_Bootmaker

Photo Source:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=john+lobb+story&biw=1366&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=kDUXVObzDpSjyAT6v4GgDw&ved=0CEQQsAQ

Re-inventing Disability: A Standup Comic

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On stage and off, Henry Holden aims to dispel stereotypes of people with disabilities. He says “humor can relieve people’s awkwardness about seeming disabilities or disadvantages.”

Henry’s career has been an uphill climb on crutches. He has learned to throw off the hindering, self-defeating images so often portrayed in the media. He has walked through closed doors to become a first grade teacher, an insurance salesman, a motivational speaker, and an actor.  Acting is his true vocation, the one he pursues. Being a standup comic has trained him to act truly ‘present’ in his body. Humor makes this happen. 

On stage, or even just out around town, he wears a tuxedo with a ruffled shirt, accessorizing with variously styled crutches. He opened his comedy club act by standing stage center, leaning on his crutches, and saying, “You’re looking at the pope’s most amazing miracle: I went to him with a speech impediment and he cured it.”

Harry’s wit and wisdom carries the day.  He was interviewed for the longer article cited below.  As a serious actor, he awaits the role that will earn him an Oscar for best supporting actor.  When receiving his prize, he plans to walk up onto the stage without anyone’s support.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/jobs/an-actor-and-comedian-aiming-to-dispel-stereotypes.html?_r=0

Recognizing Ability: A Foot Artist

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Daniel Laflamme grabs a water bottle with his foot and bends over to take a sip. Then he adroitly places a paintbrush between his toes and begins to paint.  Deaf and mute, Laflamme, who has cerebral palsy, communicates through his painting. 

In 2006, the Quebec City artist was in Toronto to help publicize an exhibition by Canada’s Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.  The organization sells replicas of the painters’ works on greeting cards and calendars to help the artists live independent lives.

At the organization’s headquarters on St. Clair Avenue West, Laflamme showed off his prowess as an artist. Bent over like a pretzel on the floor, he painted with authority and skill as he worked on a still life of flowers and a fruit bowl.

Then he stopped to get more paint. He used one foot to bring the palette of paints closer to him.  Holding his paintbrush between his toes, he dipped his brush in the paint and then began once more to delicately apply color to his masterpiece.

 

Quoting: Debra Black, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006

Photo by: Rick Eglinton, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006. Photo Source: http://thestar.blogs.com/photoblog/2012/05/yonge-and-eglinton-no-longer-intersect.html