My name is Inga. I am crazy about shoes. Every pair I own must have an enduring value, exclusive design or specific innovation, which make those items unique. I also felt shoes. After more than 10 years of this craft, I can boldly admit that felting shoes is still the most interesting job to me. Most probably, it will remain so until the end of life.
BURE BURE handmade slippers shop emerged from strong passion for the shoes, which started in my early childhood.
As a child, I loved drawing. Most of the times I depicted girls in different beautiful dresses, with two dreadfully horrible legs… So every time I finished an elegant evening gown and moved my pencil down to the place where the legs needed to appear, I got stressed. How should those legs look like? What to do with feet? All the effort I put became one big disappointment in the end. And then one day my grandpa looked into my work. After an intent observation, he whispered that I drew legs the wrong way. At first I couldn’t understand how my old moustached grandad could know anything about princesses’ legs. But then, when he erased my effort and drew two perfect legs with the most wonderful shoes, I decided to take his advice into consideration very seriously. Since then, every time I shown my princess drawings, everyone was fascinated by their beautiful legs and shoes.
I was 29 when my life turned upside down because of the perfect material I discovered. It was natural, sewless, fitting… it was fascinating. I could make everything from it. This material was called felt and the first thing I created were a couple of comfortable slippers.
When my mum saw them, she called me a third generation shoemaker, because my grandad and gran grandad were shoemakers... I did not understand that as I child, but I actually spent my first years of life playing in their workplace, surrounded by sewing machines and shoe lasts.
Felt overpowered me.
I used to wake up at 5 a. m. in order to felt before work. While packing for a weekend trip with friends I would take all the equipment for shoemaking. At that time, I have created half of BURE BURE designs: slippers, ankle boots, sneakers, two-in-one, three-in-one. I started to decorate items with leather strips as my grandad used to do, got rid of any unnecessary stitches and clipping, learnt to felt shoes so that skin would only touch wool. As a peculiar 3d printer, I used to take wool curls and mold shoes from it.
Little by little, the time to start BURE BURE has come. Our family moved out of town, established an organic farm “Forestsheep”, avoided chemical fertilizers, actively engaged into recycling, saving “product miles” and founded BURE BURE shop where now I sell our handmade slippers.
Being a mother of 4, I understand perfectly how important it is to ensure a healthy environment for the new generation. Therefore, I could not let myself use wool from unknown manufacturers. I wanted to know all the details how it was made, so it became evident that it’d be proper to grow sheep on our own. Everything seemed so simple: I wanted to felt from high quality wool, so we needed sheep. And since we had to choose a breed, it felt right to pick a rare one, which genetic resources should be preserved. Infertile land we lived in became an advantage in this situation: being unimportant for farming industry, it remained natural so suitable for sensitive Skudden sheep breed. We are the only wool artisans in our small country using raw unwashed unpainted wool material produced in our own small sheep farm, but some part of wool and another material is purchased from abroad (One third part of wool materials is purchased mainly from Europe sheep breeders.
Now my husband Kestas takes care of an organic farm “Forestsheep” while I felt BURE BURE slippers. My husband twice per year shearing sheep. The wool is carded in our farm using small carding equipment. This is cruelty free wool. Felt making process takes place in our farmstead and in our studio in a small town near by us, on my husband's constructed special felting table, using no chemicals, just handwork, warm and hot water, natural olive soap. In the very beginning wool is laid on prepared template and moistened with warm water. Some decorations from another fabrics and fibres are added. The item begins felt using natural olive soap and adding hot water. After the felting item reaches desired shape and size, item is formed on a special shoetree and left to dry. According to the needs, the felted shoes or slippers soles can be covered with the layer of a natural rubber. All items can be outsourced. The client can choose desired model, color, size, decorations.
Environmental responsibility and product quality are much more important than quantity for us. We work by hands, slowly. We put care and attention to every item we make. Our businesses will never grow too big. This is not our aim.
I think we just chose to work so that we could live, not to live so that we could work.
My husband shop here https://www.etsy.com/shop/Forestsheep