Clogs and Clogmaking
By Jeremy Atkinson
(Shire, Paperback, 9780852636657, 32pp.)
Publication Date: May 19, 2009
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Clogs were a popular form of footwear in Britain from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, when they began to be perceived as unfashionable, utilitarian and a sign of poverty. The craft of clogmaking has since declined almost to extinction and there are very few skilled craftsmen still practicing the art of clog sole cutting today. Clogs, however, do continue to be manufactured by machine, with clog dance teams accounting for much of this demand, and some people still choose to make their own uppers and attach them to machine-made clog soles. Jeremy Atkinson, one of only a few clogmakers who still make the entire clog by hand, examines the origins and development of clogs and the processes used in their manufacture. Illustrated with black and white photographs that demonstrate the different techniques and materials used in clog making, this book discusses the various designs and uses of these unique shoes, as well as their place in the social structure of Britain, which may ultimately have led to their decline.
Jeremy Atkinson is one of only two or three clogmakers who still make the entire clog by hand. He received a government grant for six months' 'in service training with a craftsman' (a course which is now defunct), during which he learned to carve the soles by hand. Later he received a research and development grant which enabled him to travel around Britain interviewing the few surviving master clogmakers, all of them well over seventy years old. He now specializes in making traditional nineteenth-century styles in his workshop in Hereford.