To witness it, is to watch art in its finest production. Here, in the forests of the Swedish countryside, each pair of handmade clogs has a beginning as humble as the tradition it’s born from.
A swatch of leather, a wooden base – each must first pass a careful visual inspection. Natural materials such as this come with its own personality – unique patterns that never occur twice. It is only the highest quality of each that make their way to the factory floor to become a pair of Sandgrens clogs.
First, the leather must be cut to the early shape of a clog. Lena, with her inherit knowledge and skill, carefully arranges the leather against the varying knives according to the style to be produced. Each piece of leather can produce approximately 5-6 pairs, depending upon the style.
“Leather is a living material and we strive for perfection, but each piece is unique,” Lena said. “Each presents its challenges, but it is fun to work with.”
Then, as Lena describes, it’s like working with the kit of a gingerbread house.
Depending upon the size, the style, the visual accent on each set – each requires a different knife. There are different knives for right and left, and it can be challenging to new styles simply due to the variance required to make the cuts.
Six knives per clog are required to make a New York, or 12 per pair. Ten knives are necessary for one Berkeley boot, or 20 per pair. Each meticulously arranged for maximum use, then grouped as a “kit” for the next station.
As the moving parts move from one station to the next, each touched more by hand than by a machine, it’s clear the process is as natural as the materials used to create a pair of Sandgrens clogs.