From alterations, to bridal to outerwear ... You name it … She can make it, build it or repair it!
Alison Crozier is the ultimate maker, which is why she immediately came to mind for this series.
Her creativity and attention to detail was apparent as soon as she walked through the studio doors,
but it was her curiosity, determination and strength that really left an impression!
The reason Alison took up shoemaking is a very powerful story. It is also a great reminder that the
difficulties we experience in life can always be turned into a positive opportunity to help us learn and grow!
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Alison. A thirty two year old living in Toronto for the last 7 ½ years. I have been sewing since the age of 7. My formal studies in art began at a vocational art high school. That opened me to a multitude of disciplines from printmaking, animation, sculpture, and figure drawing. With a family tradition in textiles I continued on that path. My studies took me to Halifax, New York and eventually Toronto. I have been working in the apparel industry ever since. From alterations, to bridal to outerwear. I love tinkering and learning new skills which lead me to my love of and motorcycles. I took some workshops at a local DIY garage and there I met my now husband. I also love weaving, book making and upholstery!
If you were a shoe what type of shoe would you be?
I would be a boot! Practical and functional in every situation!
- Alison's handmade boots created during her 5 Day Intensive
What inspired you to take classes at Art and Sole?
In 2017 I was struck by a left turning vehicle on my motorcycle. It left me with a left femur fractured in three places and a severely broken left wrist. After the initial stages of recovery and learning to walk again, my creative mind began to really struggle.
My OT was recommending workshops and activities that were not as appealing to me. With the idea planted from my co-worker who happened to attend university with Jen, I began to look at shoe making.
I thought it would be a great challenge and physical therapy to get mobility and strength back in my left hand, and challenge my mind to learn a new skill. I took the intermediate workshop and made a pair of oxfords. I came back for a second round taking the 5 Day Intensive to make my first pair of boots (with a recycled tire for the sole!)
- Alison's oxfords made @artandsoleacademy
Have you continued to practice the craft? or have you given any other creative endeavours a try?
I have! I spent some time after my first workshops building a new motorcycle. I’ve since ordered my own pair of last’s and have started a pair of Chelsea boots at home. It’s also given me the confidence to tackle my own shoe repairs.
What type of materials do you like to work with and why?
Leather, because of it’s durability and abrasion resistance. I also like using recycled tires on the soles of my boots after Jen taught me about a traditional Peruvian sandals called "Ojotas" made completely from recycled tires.
What does being a maker mean to you?
Being a maker is a way of life for me. It’s incredibly important to me that I understand the processes and labor that go into the things that make up my way of life. It gives you the upmost appreciation for what everyone else is laboring over.
How does being a maker affect your relationship with shopping and retail?
Appreciation, respect for those making by hand and working in factories. It also means I don’t shop for fun. Working in the apparel industry makes you very conscious of the dollar value attached to products and how that does or does not
tie back to the maker.
What other makers or brands do you admire and/or turn to for inspiration?
Lesie, from Breaking hearts and burning rubber @bh.and.br. She owns a new york based boot manufacturing company and is a female run small business. She has been incredibly supportive of my shoe making endeavours, always offering advice and sharing great shops to find in NY.
- Photo via brandbh.com
What’s next for you?
I want to get these Chelsea boots finished! I’m also working on a quilt using a piece of Marimekko from my great Aunt from Finland in 1968. My husband and I are also just finishing up our second 1970’s Honda bike build. After that I
really want to learn hand welting.
How can we follow along with your next steps?
I have a digital portfolio http://alison-crozier.squarespace.com/
My instagram is private, but if you are another maker and DM me about who you are I'll happily accept! @ alison_may
- Projects in the works in Alisons home studio