I’m thrilled to introduce today’s unexpected guest and she is Isobel Schofield, the lovely founder and clog designer of Bryr Studio, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Since discovering her work over a year ago, her custom shoes have become an essential part of my weekly wardrobe. Every season she introduces new designs and colors and I’m continuously adding new pairs into the mix. I often find myself popping into her studio and recently she completed a redesign of her space. It was beautiful then and even more so now. Here are some pics of the “before”. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about Isobel and her work + the “after” tour of the new bryr studio.
You’re originally from England. How did you find yourself in SF?
I’d lived here in my late 20’s and after I left, I always wanted to move back. When I started my own company, I knew it was the perfect time. I love the mix of urban and nature that you get to experience on a daily basis here. Whether it’s hiking to the top of Tank Hill, or heading out to West Marin on the weekend. The access to nature fuels me creatively.
And why clogs?
I love the simplicity and sculptural quality of clogs, the endless options within a simple recipe of just wood and leather.
Why did you choose the Dogpatch for your studio?
This neighborhood is so vibrant and filled with tons of interesting small companies, from maker incubators, to farm-fresh flowers, to custom messenger bags, to traditional butchers. It’s a tiny microcosm of creativity and entrepreneurship.
Your studio has a cool bit of history. Tell us about it.
The building we are in is called the American Industrial Building, and was a cannery in the 19th century… but as coincidence would have it, in the early 70’s it was owned by a clog maker. His son now owns the building, and likes to make visits to talk shop with me.
What before and after changes did you make to the studio?
When I moved in, the studio seemed massive and way more space than I could ever need. But in the past year and a half, we’ve grown into it. We created a small shop space in the front for when we have visitors. We’re always looking to improve the making space.
And the one change you are most proud of?
I think designing a elegant and functional storage wall for the bases. We were constantly tripping over boxes full of bases, so when my friend, Jude, suggested making the storage both functional and beautiful, we jumped at the idea.
What goes into the making of a clog? And how long does it take to receive a pair?
Every pair is made-to-order: The leather is cut, then buckles, rivets or laces are added depending on which style it is. Next we staple and stretch over our last (the foot form). They dry for about 24 hours, then we finish, box and ship them to you. Our turnaround is currently about 30 days.
Have you had any unique or strange clog requests?
Part of our internships is that our interns get to make their own clog during their stay with us. This summer we had our first guy intern and when it came time to make his clog, he asked if he could make a pair for himself—but we don’t make men’s clogs! So we came up with a style for him using our mid-base. We were pretty happy with it, but we don’t have any plans to add guy’s clogs to the line anytime soon. 😉
Who and what keeps you company in your space?
We are a team of 5 (kick-ass) women, plus Lola the studio dog. We tend to have pretty eclectic music tastes, but lately we’ve been listening to a LOT of Chances with Wolves. On Open Studio days, we listen to what my team like to call Isobel’s-twangy-country-lady music, like The Watson Twins, Jenny Lewis, Dolly Parton, Stevie Nicks and Frazey Ford.
And what are some nearby spots folks should visit when they stop by your studio?
Dogpatch has some GOOD EATS, but my two favorite spots are Neighbor Bakehouse (my favorite is the mushroom tart!) and Dogpatch Saloon (where you’ll find us on Fridays after we close. 🙂
What local artists, makers and designers are you currently admiring?
I’m pretty obsessed with ceramics, and I really admire the work of Linda Fahey, Sarah Kersten, Heath Ceramics, and East Fork Pottery. I can’t keep my eyes off the amazing weavings of Sienna Dafonseca and Rainbow Kimono. As a team, Black Crane and Ace & Jig are pretty much the unofficial uniform of the shop.
And where do you like to go or frequent for inspiration?
I head out to West Marin pretty much every weekend I can. I love Bolinas, Point Reyes Station, Marshall. Breathing in the salt air and eucalyptus.
Any upcoming travels or dream destinations and why?
I’ve been dreaming of taking a trip to Oaxaca to learn more about the crafts there and perhaps learn some techniques for Spring.
What can we expect next from Bryr?
We’ll be releasing our Fall 2 colors in October, as well as a mini metallics collection coming the next couple weeks.
• all photography by leslie santarina.