Studio Visit: Rachel Corry

About 6 months ago Portland was lucky enough to welcome the skilled Rachel Corry to town! She is the creator of Rachel Sees Snail Shoes, a brand of beautifully handmade leather shoes. Rachel had us over to her N.E. Portland home studio and walked us through the process of her shoe making. Rachel’s choice in quality leather and design make her line of shoes, great design thats minimal and functional!  We think that every lady could use of pair of Corry’s shoes this summer! You can snag a pair right now in Portland at Palace, or sign up for one of her awesome classes, where you learn to make a pair of sandals yourself, check her website for future workshops. Enjoy the photos and interview with Rachel and her shoes!

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1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

I began to visit because of a special person who lives here. I was able to take the leap to living here because the bay area (my old home) was becoming so unaffordable for renters that we all had to find a new place to go!  I felt that in terms of global warming, the northwest seemed a relatively safe place to locate and possibly begin to put down roots.

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

I wouldn't really know as I am pretty new to town- but I get the sense that portland has very supportive artistic communities. Im very stoked on all that happens at Mississippi records/PMOMA/Sweedeedee. And excited to hike all around the surrounding areas now that it is spring!

3. How did your brand start?

I started making shoes for myself, then for friends, and so on. I would share photos of my work on my website and it generated interest in a gradual way that allowed me to learn as I was doing. When I felt confident enough about my process, I started teaching workshops where people could make their own sandals. I've found that provides a great balance to my studio/making part: I learn a lot by testing my methods with other peoples skills and designs and sets of questions. 

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

This year, I've moved my studio more times than I care to admit. It's such a great effort, pauses my productivity, and I end up letting go of things like my wonderful old singer sewing-machine and over-sized work tables. Im looking forward to settling in here.

5. What or who inspires your design?

I really love resourcefulness. I see it in kids, and indigenous people from around the world, and in certain folk traditions.  I want to be like that: incorporating what's around me and working on a modest scale.  Sometimes for sandal inspiration, I look at Greek vases and sculptures, or medieval paintings. 

6. What are your favorite things about Portland?

Most homes in my neighborhood have overflowing, edible garden front yards. No one has edible plants in their front yards in California! It's very inspiring. Also, I appreciate the general progressiveness of Portlanders. Easy to make fun of, but easy to enjoy and relate to those around me!

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

I get to glue outdoors on a covered porch that is painted bright yellow! And i am kept company by 2 dogs and a cat.  I can walk the dogs to Irving Park when I get antsy. 

8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

It's like an earthship: half covered in a mound of earth, with a skylight for good working light! The concrete walls make pretty surfaces.

9. Tell us two truths and a lie!

i collect fake apples

i collect straw hats

i collect snow white books

10. 5 things you can’t live without.

romantic love, brotherly love, understanding,  nature,  earth supplies.