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The Clog Makers Apprentice

I love shoes. There was a time in my life where I worked for many major sneaker companies to teach people about all the technology in shoes. The makeup of the cushioning. The nature of the lateral support straps or the anti-pronation devices embedded in the midsole. I could tell you about shoe lasts, vamps, stitching patterns, gaits, heel drops, polyethylene vinyl acetate, foot anatomy and much more. I could find ‘the right shoe for you.’

And then a number of years ago I learned new things about shoes and feet. That maybe less was more and going in the direction of barefoot was best and that all these built up plastic based shoes were stunting our capacity to feel the earth and have our feet move and just ‘be feet.’

And then there are clogs. Wooden shoes with no cushioning or flexibility that were worn not only in the Netherlands but all over northern Europe for likely over a thousand years. Possibly longer since they would have rotted away. What have we forgotten? There were clogs with pointed toes for fisherman to help with netting. Clogs with square blocked soles were for people who dug peat so they wouldn’t sink.

They took a few hours to carve and then would dry in the wind for up to a month and last for a long time.

Slow. Not instantaneous and hewn from the very land you were walking and working. If there is such a thing as a soul, and I think there is, such a thing would have to be good for it, right?

There are seed banks all over the world to keep different things alive because maybe they will need to be used in the future, you could say the same thing about crafts because you don’t know what’s coming up”.

That is what Jeremy Atkinson the last master clog carver in England says of his craft. His seed bank seems to be JoJo Wood. A young woman taken by walking the slow trail of hand carved wooden wonders. I’m glad she is in the world and I’m glad her teacher is too – we are better for it.

Take the three minutes and change to watch this gorgeous video and smile sweetly that some of the old ways are still around and that there might still be good soil to take in some of these old seeds.

Here at Primal Derma we want you to know about these sorts of things because we are trying to walk a similar slow and handcrafted road. If you need any Primal Derma – you know where to find us but in the meanwhile take in the beauty of these old tools and these skilled hands carving something stunning and real in the world.

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