The clogmaker’s apprentice

Jeremy Atkinson is the last clogmaker in England making all his clog soles in the traditional way with three traditional clog knives, the blocker, hollower and gripper. The razor sharp knives have a handle nearly three feet long which generates huge leverage and control allowing him to carve the fresh wood into clog soles. Here is his website

I have been wearing a pair of his clogs for over ten years and my daughter Jojo wears nothing else.

1149653_10154010881690438_2063427078_oI am thrilled that Jeremy has agreed to teach Jojo the skills of the trade. He previously taught Geraint Parfait who is now the clogmaker at St Fagans museum of Welsh life. The only issue is how we pay him for the time he takes out from making in order to teach her. When he taught Geraint it required about 6 weeks full time with follow up sessions funded by St Fagans. It seems a shame that there is not any government funded scheme that we can apply to for a grant for this training. We are writing to various companies in the hope of gaining some commercial sponsorship so if anyone has any ideas for potential sponsors please let us know.

Jeremy is 62 and has over 30 years experience, Jojo although only 20 has been woodworking all her life and already has a good understanding of green wood and how it works. Here Jerry is showing her the basic cuts with the first knife the blocker.


Jojo getting to grips with it.



I am as you can imagine immensely pleased and proud.

13 Responses to The clogmaker’s apprentice

  1. Steven Davis September 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Use Kickstarter to fund her training, and get some initial clients.

    • Robin Wood September 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Kickstarter works very well for projects where you can offer a range of paybacks for sponsors, £5 gets you this, £20 gets you that £50 gets you the other. I expect it will be at least a year before Jojo makes a clog that is OK for friends and longer until there is anything marketable.

  2. Jeff September 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    What a wonderful opportunity!

    By the way, I would love to see a few pictures of what I assume is Jojo’s tool box, as shown in the picture of her on the escalator. Perhaps there is even a more accurate folk-term for that style tool box?



  3. Tom Bonamici September 29, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Fantastic! I also endorse the Kickstarter approach and would be happy to pledge well in advance to support such a venture. Congrats to all and good luck Jojo.

  4. Bob Mitchell September 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Long shot, you could try approaching Walkleys Clogs, West Yorkshire for sponsorship?

  5. David September 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Kickstarter seems to be a good approach. The paybacks can be pretty simple (see example below) and larger sponsors could maybe receive a Jojo spoon as payback.

    • George September 30, 2014 at 6:50 am #

      Was also going to suggest spoons as payback – would imagine she’ll also be able to knock them out pretty quickly with the stock knife?

  6. Aled Dafis September 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    I’m sure that Kickstarter would work, I for one would most definitely support the cause.

    I’ve been meaning to visit Geraint’s workshop at St Fagans, you’ve just reminded me, I may even get myself a pair of clogs!

    Keep up the good work Robin!

  7. Mary September 30, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    I think crowd funding could work. It worked for the Bill Hogarth Apprenticeship Trust for training and I have contributed to other crowd funding where the ‘rewards’ are less tangible. Personally I would contribute to a fund that I thought was worth it rather than because I might get something back.

  8. Brian Atkinson October 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    The escalator picture is brilliant would like to see more ! The clogs look great with that outfit. I enjoy wearing mine and the only comments I get are good. It amazes me that most people don’t seem to notice them even though I make lots of noise as mine have irons and hobnails on the bottom

  9. Joe January 15, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

    I am soooo jealous!!! I hope it goes well for Jojo.