or those of us who are enamored of handmade crafts and artistically wrought jewelry, Etsy is a godsend. It's an outpost of individuality and creativity in a world that as you know tends toward mass production and the lowest common denominator.
I've fallen in love with clothing there.
Recycled sweater clothing from Katwise
Handknit sweaters and accessories from MyAqua
I've been delighted by the one-of-a-kind jewelry that's for sale.
Handcrafted metalwork jewelry from MemoryMuse
Jewelry from Akelar
And I've even been able to make a vintage purchase or two.
1970s era Famolare clog boots from RoslynVTGTradingCo
So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover the handmade clogs being fashioned in England by Jackie Leggett and sold on Etsy under the name JackieLoveClogs. I mean, just look at these adorable shoes!
I first called Ms. Leggett's handiwork to your attention here on ECHID this past June. But ever the curious clog lover, I had to get in touch with her to find out more about her fabulous footwear and how it came into being.
ECHID: You chose a career in fashion with a degree in footwear design. What inspired you to take that path back in your college days?
JACKIE: This I decided on way back when I was 12/13 years old. My Dad was in the shoe industry and opened his own shoe factory when I was young, so I pretty much grew up around shoes……in the blood you might say!! I spent a lot of my free time and holidays hanging out and working there. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want an ordinary job and being interested in art, fashion and design thought I know I’ll be a shoe designer! That led me eventually to doing a degree in footwear design.
ECHID: Your great-grandfather was a clog maker. How did you happen to choose clogs as the style of footwear to focus on?
JACKIE: I started looking at clogs for my final degree show collection back in 1992. I liked the traditional basic construction, the industrial nature of old British working clogs. I also loved the noise they made when you walked in them…..simple pleasure!! I was inspired to pursue clogs after hearing stories from my Mam about great grandad’s clog shop and memories of her running around and playing in clogs he had made for her. She then bought me a pair of traditional clogs made in Caldbeck Cumbria by Joseph Strong & Son the last clog maker in Cumbria. They have closed now, but that really cemented my fascination.
[You can read a little more about Joseph Strong & Son in this article Ms. Leggett provided from the DailyMail.co.uk website.]
ECHID: Do you have any of your great-grandfather's shoes today?
JACKIE: Sadly no I think he died when my Mam was a young girl. The only thing I’ve got is the photo of the shop.
ECHID: You graduated in 1992, but you only started selling JackieLovesClogs designs on Etsy at the end of last year. Were you making clogs all that time and selling them in the U. K.? Or is JackieLovesClogs a return to clog making after pursuing other ventures?
JACKIE: After graduating my clog collection was noticed by fashion designer Helen Storey at the New designers exhibition London: she wanted to show and sell them with her next collection. This gave me the impetus to get them in production - developing the last and clog sole I use today. I then went on to sell them to shops and personal customers here in the uk. I did have a break from them while I did other styles of shoes and then ran a small shoe factory making for various customers. I then shrank back from that working from a workshop at home I’ve been making leather bags for a designer friend and a few shoes for personal customers. In my time away I had continued to wear my clogs and loved them, even got married in them ! It was always in the back of my mind that I needed to start producing the clogs again, so after some encouragement from my family I got the website together and the Etsy shop.
ECHID: Your clogs are very solidly designed and sturdily constructed. At the same time, they're colorful and delightful. How did you evolve your decidedly playful take on this traditional footwear?
JACKIE: The clogs are really solid - I’m still wearing a pair I made in the early 1990’s. I’ve always liked colourful design in any form and particularly kids stuff. I would often see things I like and then get disappointed that they are for kids and not in adult sizes, I don’t see why adults can’t have fun playful fashion and footwear. I've always liked looking at traditional detail on shoes and twisting it playing with it and coming up with something new and original. I suppose a lot of the details just come out of my doodles, like the hearts for instance.
ECHID: Where have your shoes been all this time??? I've been scouring the web for interesting clogs since 2009, and I've never run across any wood soled shoes that are as fun as yours. How come we're just discovering them now?
JACKIE: It’s so nice of you to say. It’s really like I said they were hiding away in my garden workshop waiting for me to get my act together and get them on a website. I also only want to sell direct to the public with small scale production all by one woman’s hands!! So won’t be selling through shops and other outlets. It makes me and my clogs a bit harder to find, but more exclusive!!
ECHID: Do you ever work with larger soles? (I ask because I take a UK 9 myself, and I have other readers who are at the tall end of the spectrum, too. Can you do special orders?
JACKIE: You’re not the first person to ask me that lately. My clogs are clog sized uk 3 – 8 but they are big, I myself wear a size 4 clog and 5-6 trainers and boots and it’s been the same for other people I’ve made for, all gone down a size. I did go into detail about the dimensions of each size on the website but I do wonder sometimes if I should re size them to shoe sizes instead of clog sizes which have always been traditionally bigger in British clogs. I get my soles turned at a last makers from a size 4 model, I can go up and down 5 sizes so I would be able to get a size 9 sole made. I plan to investigate this next time I order some.
ECHID: You mentioned that you do other leather work. Can you point me to other things you create that I can share with my readers.
JACKIE: I also make a small selection of cute leather heart necklaces which I’m planning to put on the website and Etsy soon. I’m also going to be selling them at a Christmas selling event “Theverything” in Leicester in November, it will be their showcase!!
ECHID: What are you most proud of in your craft? You’ve been working with leather and making things to wear for around 25 years now. What gives you a great deal of satisfaction or feeling of accomplishment as you look back?
JACKIE: I just love the process of making something that’s beautifully finished that has colour and detail that makes me smile when it’s complete. Something that is stylish and will stand the test of time and keep popping out of peoples wardrobes for years and hopefully bring a smile to their face too. I suppose also that you never stop learning new techniques and ways of making.