Saturday, September 18


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.


Felix said...

Those clogs are awesome! I love all the context, history, materiality... I bet they make a fantastic sound with their good, solid, Sycamore soles!

knit nurse said...

Definitely make a great clonking noise on the concrete steps of our block, but indoors are rather dulled by the rubber soles (perhaps a good thing for the neighbours!)

colleen said...

Lovely to have a pair of bespoke clogs - an all round sensory experience. I have a pair of red wooden clogs from Penrith, bought when I was about 20 on a spur of the moment decision. In those days, there was a fishmonger in Brewer Street who used to wear clogs in his shop too, useful for raising his feet above the damp floors. As we say on this side of the water - wish you well to wear them...