Sunday, February 1, 2015

Forest Shoes part 2 The weaving process

Here's the way I did it.  The first step is to prepare your willow strips, and then plait a rectangle the size of your foot. 

Then I attached it to my foot mold (plaster) with rubber bands.  (Yes, I did make a right and left mold.)

Weaving around the sole.  I had to adjust the weave on both sides because this is the place the foot gets more narrow.   I am using sisal twine here, but you can use any small cord.

Going around the heel area, you have to adjust by dropping some of the ends, and twine on an angle.

 Weaving up the sides- I changed to paper cord, which was a big mistake because I forgot that the willow strips need to be sprayed with water once in awhile.  So the paper became very soft and fragile.  I switched to yellow cedar strips, which was much better.

 Weaving the front, you have to make some short rows, to fill in and get the "Mary Jane" look.
 Willow strips need to be trimmed and doubled to get the proper shape.
I finished off with a few more rows of the paper cord, and a folded down border.   On the first shoe, I tried a cedar rose.  After I made the left one, I decided they needed some bling.

I was pretty happy with the first one, but since I've made shoes before (from woven paper cord), I knew that the biggest challenge was getting the right and left to match.

As I started the left foot, the challenge quickly started.  This one had a different count of willow pieces, and a totally different shape at the toe area.  I wove it once, took it out, and wove it again.  I realized that my 2 feet were very different, and that I would just have to live with them not matching perfectly.   
I can wear them, but I probably won't.  The willow bark is not that strong, and I don't want to wear out shoes that took me between 30 to 40 hours to make!

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