The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

Clog making (hand-carved soles)

 

The making of clogs with hand-carved wooden soles and leather uppers (see also clog making which includes soles cut on a bandsaw).

 

Status Critically endangered
Craft category
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised Cardiff and Herefordshire
Origin in the UK Roman
Current no. of professionals (main income) 2
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 2
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Traditional clogs developed as a strong type of footwear that was better in water and heat than conventional leather-soled footwear. They were often worn in heavy labour, but today the variants are considered for everyday wear. The interest in clogs ranges from the fashion industry to the general public and they are often still worn by factory workers due to their durability and comfort.

 

Techniques

The traditional English clogs have a hand-carved wooden sole, made using three pivot knives approximately 3-ft long. See www.clogmaker.co.uk for videos showing how to make a clog.

 

Local forms

In the UK, clogs always have a leather upper and a wooden sole. Any local variations were rather homogenized in the Victorian era, although a lot of Welsh slippers in SW Wales and toe shapes still varied. It was said that you could ‘tell a man’s village by the cut of his clogs’.

 

Sub-crafts

  • Pattern making

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Market issues: It’s not possible to compete on price with machined standard sized clog soles – the only future is for top end bespoke and orthopaedic clogs.

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

  • Jeremy Atkinson – based in Herefordshire, the only practitioner offering a fully bespoke service. He was taught by Hywell Davies and has travelled in Spain and France researching European clog-making traditions.
  • Geraint Parfitt – based at St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff.

JoJo Wood, based in Birmingham, is learning the craft of clog making with hand carved soles. Simon Brock recently won the HCA/Marsh Endangered Crafts Awards 2019 to learn the skills of hand carving soles from Jeremy Atkinson. There are approximately seven other clog makers who make clogs from bandsaw-cut soles (see separate entry for clog making).

 

Other information

 

 

References

  • Clogs and clogmaking (Shire Album) – and associated bibliography