Almost exactly two years ago I first visited the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans just outside Cardiff on the way home from a cycling tour of the Brecon Beacons.
Happening upon clogmaker Geraint Parfitt I made a spur of the moment decision to order a a pair of hand-made clogs from him - requiring nothing more at the time than having my feet drawn round and choosing a style and colour.
I'd all but forgotten about them when he rang me a couple of months ago to say that they were ready for me to collect, and last week I travelled out to Cardiff for an overnight trip to pick them up.
The final fitting involves getting to the museum first thing in the morning to try them on, then Geraint will make the final adjustments to the upper and attach the rubber soles and so on, so that you can take them home later that day.
The wooden soles are made of sycamore, which came from Barry (the place, not Geraint's mate!) just a few miles from the museum. They are also made by hand and bear the signs of the whittling involved. The dye is painted on by hand by Geraint himself, and the extent to which the dye takes to the leather varies, depending on the oil content and so on of the leather. As a result the colour is expected to weather over time to give a mottled effect. The closures on the straps are very simple and are made very tight to begin with, as the leather will stretch quite quickly as the clogs are broken in.
Wearing the clogs gives me a couple of inches extra in height - which is very welcome for a shorty like me. The lack of flexibility of the soles means they are strange to walk in and I suspect it will take some time to get used to them. I really love the colour and the care with which they have been crafted.
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