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).
|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|
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.
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.
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’.
- 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.
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).
- Clogs and clogmaking (Shire Album) – and associated bibliography