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Marlene Kranz, Australia: Introduction to Traditional Shoe-making

Trained as a Fashion/ Set/ Costume designer in Europe.

Worked for Vivienne Westwood (London) and established own label “Kranz”. Added painting to my list of “Things One Does” for creative and mental balance.

Came to Australia/ Melbourne and established “Subtle” as the umbrella for my design work, adding handmade shoes to my repertoire.

First ‘Shoe Workshops’ started in 2004.

In 2007 relocation to Darwin to run the fashion department at Charles Darwin University (3 years) and to establish a certified ‘shoemaking’ course (the one and only in the Northern Territory!).

Launched my own high end small scale shoe brand ‘Ideal Husband’ in 2013.

To date, shoe workshops are offered in my own studio in Darwin.

Portfolio/ website:


Introduction to traditional Shoemaking

Students will learn how to make one pair of lasted shoes using traditional tools and

methods. During one week, we look at various designs and explore the techniques,

components and materials relevant for creating a unique pair of shoes with a flat to

medium-high heel (depending on the chosen last). Participants will create a front-

closed  shoe (not a sandal, and not a fully closed shoe, either!) choosing from a

variety of leathers provided by the tutor. Everyone can expect to walk away with a

unique pair of mules in the individual size they have chosen.

Pre-requisites: ability to use a sewing machine, a fearless approach towards power

tools and some upper arm strength – it’s real work! It is recommended that students

organise their own lasts – please refer to recommendations re lasts on list provided.