What makes Bonney & Wills Unique?
We are dedicated to providing complete hand made shoe design and shoe making courses. Learning a craft is difficult, but very rewarding.
As teachers, our first priority is to make your experience feel seamless and natural. Whether it is a one-time “experience of a lifetime”, or the beginning of a shoemaking career, we are here to totally support you in your quest at whatever level you choose.
This is what we provide for each student:
- A comprehensive source list. It is virtually a shopping list for everything you might need in the shoemaking world. And, we are always available to advise you on any purchase you might contemplate…forever, no time limit. If you are looking for some special embellishment before course time, we can probably tell you where to find “it”.
- Extensive shoemaking information and handouts are sent to all students upon registration. Frank Jones’s marvelous book, Modern Pattern Cutting and Design, is recommended for the shoemaking courses and is available for purchase.
- A crib sheet with every formula, figure, and chart you’ll probably ever need in your shoemaking experience.
- Access to our huge last (the forms shoes are constructed over) inventory (over 2500 pairs) We have seven woman’s styles alone in a wide range of sizes. We provide assistance in procuring the style of your choice at the end of the course.
- A complete (and we mean complete) individual set of tools for each student’s use during the course, as well as assistance in procuring tools, books, and machinery at the end of your course. We can save you soooo much time here. Matching students to the correct tools is an important facet in our teaching style. And, you need far fewer than you might think. Ask us before you buy. It will save you lots of time and money in your decision process.
- Complete access to our extensive shoe library (200+ books), plus DVDs, patterns, notes, articles, and more. And, if you think you need some inspiration before course time, we’ll be glad to point you to some “mind blowing” sites. We know that the creativity is in you, but it sure is fun to look.
- Full use of one of the most complete “working” shoemaking shops in the country. At last count we had 18 sewing machines of all types. All our machines are tailored for students (they go very slow). Our shop exudes creativity and function and is focused to create positive shoe making experiences for students.
- Students are interviewed by phone before the course in order to personalize their experience. It gives you an opportunity to get to know me. An information packet about Ashland and accommodations will be sent to you upon registration. In our courses, besides fielding questions as we go along, I strongly believe in lots one-on-one time with each student.
- Upon registration, we will carefully discuss your goals, last style choice, leather type, and color choices. Premium leathers such as calf, kid, or kangaroo are provided free of charge.
If you choose to work in fabric, you must bring at least one square yard. Exotic leathers can be ordered, at student’s expense, before the course. Exotic scraps (boxes of them) in the shop are free for shoe making student use. Your last, tools and materials will be ready for you upon your arrival.
- Students new to sewing must attend “Sewing Boot Camp” given before class in the morning.
We recommend those with little sewing experience to search “learn to use sewing machine” on Google and YouTube to get a head start on sewing basics. Working in harmony with the right sewing machine is a major plus in the creativity world. There is no additional fee for this instruction.
- We offer lifetime consultation for each course offered, and lifetime advice when you go to purchase leather, tools, and machinery. Purchasing the wrong sewing machine means you just bought an “anchor”. The right one will be a friend for a lifetime. There are lots of anchor salesmen in the shoe world.
- Whatever initial class you take, entitles you to a 20% discount on any subsequent class. This can amount to huge savings for the ongoing student.
- And, of course, we offer assistance in finding accommodations in our beautiful town, Ashland.
- Want to get to know us? See this video at Oregon Art Beat »