Leopard & black
Espadrilles have been made in Pyrennean Catalonia (Spain) and the Occitania region since the 14th century at least, and there are shops in the Basque country (Spain) still in existence that have been making espadrilles for over a century. The oldest, most primitive form of espadrilles goes as far back as 4000 years. Traditional espadrilles have an canvas upper with the toe and vamp cut in one piece and seamed to the rope sole at the sides. Often they have laces at the throat that are wrapped around the ankle to hold the shoes securely in place. Traditional espadrilles are worn by all.
La Ramblas, street in Barcelona
A must when in Spain, is to visit an espadrille workshop. La Manual Alpargatera, the workshop we shopped, started their business just after the Spanish Civil War in the 1940s. The shop is near the Ramblas, the most popular street in Barcelona. La Manual is a must visit for the informed traveler and a yearly appointment for the folks of Barcelona. Tom and I enjoyed selecting the sole, the tops, the colors.
Like picking candy, which one?
Yes! We did, we went shopping in Spain. The espadrille is an ecological light shoe made with natural materials like hemp and jute. The soles can be rubber. Those are for street walking. Jute soles are more delicate, but they are so soft, it’s tempting to wear them for everything. You can get sneakers, or high wedgies. Men wear them as well as women and children.
Tom bought a couple of pair, I bought several, in different colors, for me and for gifts. The owner of the store worked with us. He told us to buy them one size smaller because they stretch. It’s difficult to get them on, but once you do, they fit fine, and they do stretch.
In those 4000 years, the tradition has survived, with variations, you can imagine, but the basics have not changed. The shoe offers comfortable footwear that fit any feet.
Care is easy. Wear on dry ground. If they get wet, the hemp/jute (vegetable fibers) soak up the water. The drenched sole will deform due to weight of the wearer’s body. But they can be redeemed. Wash them with soap and water right away. If hand sewn, wash by hand in cold water, rinse well and dry. This prevents rot. For the washing machine, use a short program and cold water. White or cream colored espadrilles sometimes yellow if the canvas dries before the sole. If that happens, when dry, clean the canvas with bleach mixed in water to whiten.
Here’s where – Carrer d’Avinyo, 7 – 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Tel. +34 933 010 172 – amanualalpargatera.com
Are you espardrille owners? What do you like about them?
Sit yourself down my dear, in your favorite chair, do not fret, do not sweat, for all you cherish is beneath your seat.
Kitchen Chair 16x16x32"
The crème de la crème is from the 1988 Harry N. Abrams, Inc “397 Chairs” collection. The “Kitchen Chair” by artist Sylvia Netzer. The chair is made of steel tubes, silicon and found objects.
The almighty chair we all take for granted is not always what we expect. For the last two weeks we have discussed the talented, think-out-of-the-box, architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. His architecture reached new heights (oops, an unintended pun) of creativity and function. He designed the interior to reflect the exterior in design, use of materials and function. His seating was accommodating, but uncomfortable with its too deep seats and too stiff backs.
Dining Chair Robie House
All seating must have some pitch to the backs to allow for butt space. But not too much then you will see dangling feet. It is important when getting seating to test your best not only for pretty, but also for fitting your purpose.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect of Horizontality, designed this dining chair for the FLW Robie House in Hyde Park, Chicago. See what I mean by back pitch in the drawings below.
The Boynton Dining Chairs now being manufactured by Copeland were designed for the E. E. Boynton House in Rochester, New York. Mr. Boynton wanted comfortable seating for his guests, so Wright designed a chair back with a compound curve in it that would support a person’s shoulders and give lumbar support for the lower back. Lacking the technology to actually create the compound curved panel, the design was relegated to Wright’s archives for the last 100 years.
Let’s take a last long look at a really comfortable chair. The good old Club Chair.
With James permission here he is in his fav chair…James Kaston, of Remains Lighting, NYC with his cat, Pinky, in his antiques-filled apartment in Stuyvesant Town. Besides his Pinky, the cat who has gone on to pinky heaven, James loves his Napoleon III chair. Can you see enough to get the idea of comfort for your weary soul, pardon, I mean seat?
Have you experienced seating that you can’t wait to get out of and run away as fast as you can? Like, how many of you sit and relax at White Castle, like our stockbroker friend who couldn’t fit?
Until next week…more U-know…wrapped around another story.