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Thousands view bespoke orthopaedic shoemaking videos

Filming at Bill Bird’s workshop in Moreton in Marsh: (left to right) Lynwen and David Brown from Artisan Media with Bill Bird and Richard Paice, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers and member of the Pattenmakers Company Charitable Foundation.

Many of you may remember that just before last year’s Annual Footwear Dinner in the Saddlers Hall on April 11th, there was a presentation to launch the Bespoke Orthopaedic Shoemaking video series.

These 23 videos including an introduction, were made of Liveryman Bill Bird in three lengthy one-day sessions in September and November 2018 and January 2019.

The project came out of an idea by Past Master Richard Paice when he met and saw the work of David and Lynwen Brown of Artisan Media, a small film production company specialising in filming craft industries. Not only did PM Paice have the idea, but he also sponsored the 250 hours of filming and editing himself, and then put them under the care of the Pattenmakers. He made them freely available to all in order to pass on this knowledge and to inspire the new generations of bespoke shoemakers to develop the skills needed for orthopaedic work. His idea and his generosity will surely be appreciated by the 933 individuals worldwide who had subscribed to the video channel by April 1st.

The launch at the Footwear Dinner showed the introduction video followed by short talks by PM Richard Paice, Liveryman Bill Bird, as well as an insight from an ex-serviceman of the British Army, who was injured in Afghanistan.

Lynwen and David Brown with Bill Bird and Richard Paice at the launch

The video series was uploaded onto YouTube on May 1st 2019 and the take up worldwide has been extraordinary. Many of us will be used to seeing interesting video shorts with viewings of several thousand, but these videos are on a very specialist technical subject and range in length from five minutes to half an hour.

The most popular, a 13-minute video on how to measure the foot for bespoke orthopaedic footwear, had over 112,000 viewings by April 1st. In fact, the total viewings of all the videos totaled over 43,100 hours of watching. Given that there are only 7,946 hours in 11 months, on average there have been between five and six people, presumably many of them shoemakers, who have been watching the videos at any one time worldwide, 24/7. Bill has received appreciative emails and Facebook comments from shoemakers from as far away as Turkey and Australia.

The following list compiles the videos which together cover the core principles of Bespoke Orthopaedic Shoemaking, presented by number, description, length, number of viewings and finally the time that has been spent viewing them. Some of them set-up the information needed before watching an instructional video. These have fewer viewings but it is the instructional videos that have been watched over and over again to get the techniques right.

Orthopedic Shoe Making – Introduction to the Video Series

4:59 minutes            2,269 views      189 hours of viewing

1. Principles of Measuring a Foot for a Bespoke Orthopedic Last

8:36 minutes           2,929 views      415 hours of viewing

2. The Soft Tissue Structures and Bones of the Foot

11:17 minutes        2,127 views       400 hours of viewing

3. Measuring a Client’s Feet for Bespoke Orthopedic Shoes

13:30 minutes    112,659 views      25,348 hours of viewing

4. Draft to Last: The Heel Section

12:43 minutes         21,611 views    4,538 hours of viewing

5. Draft to Last: The Toe Section

11:09 minutes         9,685 views     1,790 hours of viewing

6. Draft to last: Girth Measurements

8:46 minutes            7,828 views     1,135 hours of viewing

7. Draft to Last: Creating a Profile and Outline from a Draft

14:13 minutes        6,810 views      1,611 hours of viewing

8. Last Carving: The Wood and the Bandsaw

6:23 minutes             6,575 views    695 hours of viewing

9. Last Carving: Carving the Last Outline and Profile on a Bandsaw

6:48 minutes             5,114 views     580 hours of viewing

10. Last Carving: Carving Detail on Bandsaw

5:33 minutes            6,085 views      558 hours of viewing

11. Last Carving: Using a Rasp to Smooth Contours

3:30 minutes           3,836 views      224 hours of viewing

12. Last Carving: Sanding

31:13 minutes       4,450 views      2,308 hours of viewing

13. Categories of Foot Conditions Requiring Bespoke Orthopedic Shoes

27:57 minutes       2,985 views     1,388 hours of viewing

14. Shoe Design Principles for People with Chronic Tissue Swelling

15:42 minutes       1,971 view     516 hours of viewing