Our very own bespoke orthopaedic shoemaker, Bill Bird, was interviewed today on BBC Radio Bristol. His expertise was called on to help explain why different countries have different shoe sizes and where they came from. We managed to record Bill and have included the recording here for you to enjoy!
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.
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.
4:59 minutes 2,269 views 189 hours of viewing
8:36 minutes 2,929 views 415 hours of viewing
11:17 minutes 2,127 views 400 hours of viewing
13:30 minutes 112,659 views 25,348 hours of viewing
12:43 minutes 21,611 views 4,538 hours of viewing
11:09 minutes 9,685 views 1,790 hours of viewing
8:46 minutes 7,828 views 1,135 hours of viewing
14:13 minutes 6,810 views 1,611 hours of viewing
6:23 minutes 6,575 views 695 hours of viewing
6:48 minutes 5,114 views 580 hours of viewing
5:33 minutes 6,085 views 558 hours of viewing
3:30 minutes 3,836 views 224 hours of viewing
31:13 minutes 4,450 views 2,308 hours of viewing
27:57 minutes 2,985 views 1,388 hours of viewing
15:42 minutes 1,971 view 516 hours of viewing
Budding Blockley shoemaker George Paish from Bill Bird Shoes joined the very best in footwear at the weekend – and won Student Shoe Fitter of the Year!
The Footwear Industry Awards celebrates excellence and innovation exercised across the field and is specifically designed to celebrate the brands, retailers and professionals at the heart of this vibrant sector.
No stranger to industry accolades, this is George’s second major award win in 12 months. Last year, the 27-year-old from Moreton in Marsh, scooped the 2019 David Xavier Student Bespoke Shoemaking Award. His latest win was revealed at the highly-anticipated black tie awards ceremony on Sunday 23 February at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham.
“I’m delighted to bring the trophy back to Bill Bird Shoes for a second time. My colleague Becky Thorne won this award five years ago, so for Bill Bird Shoes to win it twice is an amazing achievement that means a great deal to us,” said George.
“To win the award I had to complete a 5-month shoe fitting course. The portfolio I produced included all that I had learnt along with photographs, drawings and 3D elements to support my learning. A lot of time and effort went into what I had produced so it’s great to be rewarded.”
Now in its ninth year, the Footwear Industry Awards is established as one of the most important dates in the sector’s calendar, with a wide range of categories designed to reflect the varied breadth of the footwear trade.
Awards are made in recognition of the very best companies, products and individuals at every level, from bold, independent start-ups to well-known multinational corporations.
“The industry is given the chance to have its say in who takes home an accolade – with votes from the sector’s professionals being used to determine shortlists in the brand categories, and the retailer and industry accolades being entirely decided by the secure online voting process. This means that winning an award is a truly unrivalled and independent stamp of approval,” said the organisers, Datateam Business Media, publisher of Footwear Today magazine.
The Footwear Industry Awards is supported by the British Footwear Association (BFA), the Society of Shoe Fitters (SSF), the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and Footwear Friends.
At just 18 years old, Carole Arnold was involved in an horrific car accident where she was thrown through the windscreen. She had 300 stitches in her face, a fractured shoulder and her femur was destroyed. Carole spent nine months in hospital in traction and it was 18 months before she could go back to work. As a result of the accident and subsequent operations, Carole has a difference in the length of her legs.
Carole has recently had some shoes, boots and slippers adapted by the team at Bill Bird Shoes in the Cotswolds. Click here to read her story.
Two of the bespoke shoemakers at Bill Bird Shoes in the Cotswolds attended a personalised pattern cutting course recently to ensure their skills are kept up to date.
The course was run by Phil Stewart, the senior lecturer at De Montfort University’s Footwear Design Department. Chris and George learned the basics of making forms, half mean forms and patterns for Oxfords, Derbys anbd strap court shoes.
They spent a total of 13 hours in training and will hone their skills with fellow Bill Bird shoemaker Emily for a few weeks before attending a refresher course, where they will also learn how to stretch and design.
Radio Gloucestershire reporter Chris Mace visited Bill Bird Shoes in the Cotswolds today to interview Bill and our team of bespoke orthopeadic shoemakers. We will feature on the mid morning show tomorrow – so tune in between 9am – 12pm to hear more!
The team at Radio Gloucestershire were so impressed with the young team of made-to-measure shoemakers here and the way we work as a collective, that they decided to pop in to carry out a longer interview for tomorrow’s show.
It has been Bill’s dream to pass on his legacy to younger generations and this was the driving force behind his series of exceptional quality instructional videos on orthopaedic shoemaking that appear on the Bill Bird Shoes YouTube channel.
The Queen’s footwear – and the fact that she has someone to break in her new shoes for her – has been in the news recently and bespoke shoemaker Bill Bird was interviewed about this on Radio Gloucestershire this morning.
Radio Gloucestershire presenter Nicky Price chatted to Bill for about ten minutes about shoe comfort, the difficulties around 50% of the population has finding comfortable shoes and our young team of bespoke shoemakers.
We recorded his interview live in our Cotswold workshop and you can listen to it here.
Our bespoke shoemakers have been taking part in training sessions on computer gait analysis to allow more members of our team to provide this vital service to clients to help improve their walking comfort.
Bill Bird is fully trained and highly experienced in computer gait analysis and he decided to run through a session once a week to improve our skills and give a greater feeling of confidence to our customers.
We invested more than £7,000 in the very sophisticated Medicapteurs Winpod Computer Gait Analysis system in 2005 and also have a dedicated computer for this device. Many more modern systems have since simplified their software programmes to reduce cost and user complexity.
“With many clients, we can see immediately the cause of their walking or fitting difficulty but with some people the issue is much more subtle. The client knows they are in pain but there is no obvious reason,” said Bill Bird.
“That is when computer gait analysis is most useful. It uses very sophisticated software and following an assessment and analysis, a lot of things become clear. The information is useful for anyone experiencing issues with their feet, which can be used to fine tune both orthotics and footwear to improve clients’ gait and walking comfort.”
The Bill Bird shoemakers can carry out both a postural analysis, which measures standing over a duration of 30 seconds, and a dynamic analysis, which captures the pattern of walking. This gives us information about how the client lands on their heels, how they balance during swing phase and how they toe off. A full assessment takes about an hour and costs £125.
Our workshop in the Cotswolds is fully kitted out for making bespoke orthotics, designed and crafted to fit clients’ own shoes or we can modify off-the-shelf footwear.
Please call us on 01386 700855 for more information.
West End shoemaker Mariano Crespo has recently been carrying out some one-to-one training course with our award-winning apprentice shoemaker George Paish in London.
So far, George (pictured left) has had two seven-hour days with Mariano back to back every two or three weeks. This is the sixth session and instead of George going down to London, Mariano came up to visit Bill Bird Shoes at our workshop in the Cotswolds.
Mariano first began learning the art of shoemaking as a teenager in Spain with his father, who worked as a cobbler. As a young adult, Mariano spent many years travelling and exploring the world, until deciding to return to his roots and focus on developing his skills as a bespoke shoemaker.
After training with a Spanish master in the art of making traditional Spanish hunting boots, Mariano went on to secure an apprenticeship with the world-renowned bootmaker, John Lobb in London’s West End. During his time there, Mariano provided his services to a wide range of clients, including members of the royal family, famous actors, artists and celebrities.
Mariano now continues the centuries-old tradition of creating exquisitely handcrafted bespoke shoes and boots from his London workshop and passing on his skills to the next generation of bespoke shoemakers.
The team at Bill Bird Shoes has just received the most beautiful thank you letter we’ve ever had – and we’ve had some good ones!
Here is Emma trying on her completed boots for the first time, with our bespoke shoemaker Rebecca holding the mirror outside our workshop in Moreton in Marsh.
Here is what she had to say:
“I wanted to take a few weeks to really ‘bed in’ my new boots before writing to you. They really are wonderful to wear, have caused no issues and are just beautiful! It isn’t an understatement to say that I feel so blooming proud and confident when I step out in them. I found myself beaming whilst walking around a supermarket last week and people, randomly, were smiling back at me. It’s been a long 3 years since I held my head high – so thank you so much. You and your wonderful team are the kindest, most professional, passionate and fun people. I genuinely miss driving up for fittings! I understand your jobs can be very emotional but also must be hugely rewarding. I just wanted to say thank you and thank you again. 45 hours of stunning craftmanship has truly changed my life – for that you will always have my gratitude and support.” Emma, Hampshire
Thank you Emma, we really are delighted you are so pleased!