leather

The shoemaker – beautifully crafted shoes made by my late grandfather

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My grandpa Joseph Scerri working in his roof garden…I love the 60s-style orange shoes which is lying on the floor..

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One of my fondest memories from my childhood is the time I used to spend with my grandpa in his workshop. I couldn’t wait to leave my mum`s house to escape her obsession of playing Barbara Streisand’s songs all day long, and go to my grandparents, especially during the holidays. Between the smell of my grandma`s baking and the scent of wood, glue, leather and clay, this was a perfect playground, compared to my mum`s boring routine. I used to spend hours  trying to make small furniture for my doll house with the help of my grandpa, and sculpting small statues with his clay casts. I learned so much from him and I am sure that my love for practical work and maybe also drawing evolved from these playful experiences. He used to let me paint his workshop door in all sorts of colours; can you image leaving a paint job to a seven year old, given their colourful taste? Sometimes pink, sometimes orange and maybe with some flowers and suns on it as decoration :).  As long as I was enjoying myself and learning something he did not complain. I used to come up with something new every day; sometimes I wanted a bed for my doll, a handmade present for a friend or a wooden frame for one of my drawings. I used to drive him crazy, but he was so patient. He used to ask me “What`s new today Ruti? What are you going to come up with today?” all with a suspicious sweet smile.

Losing him when I was nine years old was one of the most painful experiences in my life, however all the experiences and discoveries continued to grow with me. He did not leave just beautiful memories behind him but he also left a lot of beautiful shoes 🙂

My grandfather was a shoemaker. He used to make and fix all kinds of shoes. He was one of the few shoemakers left in the Cottonera / The Three Cities. Actually there was a time when he was the only shoemaker in Birgu. Although he made some shoes for me as well, I was not lucky enough to have him alive when I was growing up, you can imagine how many shoes I would ask him to make for me. My mum on the other hand was an extremely lucky girl. He used to make her a pair of shoes for every new outfit, including that of her wedding. I am sure that this is a dream come true for most women. Now I am the new owner of all these shoes and I also wear them for special occasions. Apart from shoes, he used to make leather belts, jackets, bags and other accessories. It is a pity that trades like this are becoming very rare. I am very grateful that my grandpa had shared all this talent with us. He was a person who was gifted but  humble at the same time, given that his trade, although requiring skill, patience and creativity, was just a common job that was already dying at the time.

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An interesting detail of one of the shoes…I still wear this one..it is one of my favourites

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Some of my grandpa`s Sketches and scribblings

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My mum`s wedding shoes also made by my grandpa

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last moodboard

Different photos of my mum during the 70s wearing my grandpa`s shoes..she looks so proud:)

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A beautiful leather camera bag made by him in the early 70s

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered these. One of my greatest treasures..my first shoes made by my own grandpa. Super cute.

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my grandpa when he was 20 years old

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Something Special

‘Something Special’ is a regular post where we put the spotlight on one of our personal items that we think you would like. (If you would like to showcase a special belonging message us on our Facebook Page!)

Objects: Etui Vintage Look Leather Handbag & Deep Crimson Leather Bag from the San Lorenzo Leather market in Florence

What’s so special about them?

This time I’m bringing you two special things, unfortunately if you like them, you might have to travel to get a hold of them (although you can always get lucky on ebay!). Another option is to spend hours on Etsy searching through leather goods (as I’ve been doing everyday for the past two weeks), I’m sure you’ll find something similar, or better ;). I have chosen these two bags because they are practical, durable and beautiful!

I use the brown vintage-look leather bag practically everyday to carry my laptop to and from work. It has a compartment for documents and a pocket with a zipper inside , there’s even a little key on the side to lock, (although I never actually use this…ain’t no one got time for that!). I get constant compliments about this bag and if you’re heading to the large London Topshop in Oxford Circus, there’s plenty of similar bags with these flowery motifs. This bag also seems to be the obsession of other bloggers, you can find more pics of it and other variations here & here.

This red leather bag is fantastic because it is a huge lady bag disguised as a cool compact bag. It looks small-ish but it has plenty of room inside. It also has 2 pockets on the side for extra stuff. Great for work and to carry stuff around, mostly for winter though, since it’s a deep red colour and made of leather.  My mum actually has an exact same bag in brown and she managed to travel to Italy for three days and fit all her belongings in this Mary Poppins bag!

Birthplace and Story:

Brown Bag: I was heading to the huge Oxford Circus London Topshop to buy a specific coat that I had seen online. After what looked like a three hour futile hunt around the store, I lost all hope, but decided that I wanted to get something better with the money that I had saved. That’s when I remembered the Etui bags on the ground floor that I had been eyeing for some time, but that I could never afford. This time, the brown Etui Satchel would be mine! Each one of these Etui bags has a unique vintage-looking print and is made from what looks like used soft leather. The bag was around £150… no regrets!

So in case you were wondering why my mum has the same bag as I do, it’s because I wanted to buy it as a gift for her from Florence, but I couldn’t help buy one for myself as well. The San Lorenzo market is not to be missed if you’re thinking of going to Florence… check out the last picture of some tourists buying leather bags from the market.