I’ve just been completely absorbed in the unfolding of Dame Judi Dench’s family tree courtesy of a recent episode of  ‘Who Do You Think You Are’  an utterly fascinating journey leading all the way back to sixteenth century Denmark.

Another show exploring people’s lives – ‘This Is Your Life’ – ran in the UK for over fifty years. A show that saw people in the public eye being surprised by the host with a  walk-through of their life – with the help of a big red book.
Stories were shared – from when and where they were born to the present day – entertaining the audience with anecdotes, and reacquainting them with old friends and colleagues – some they’d not seen in decades.


There’s the saying that everyone has a book in them.
I don’t believe it means that everyone should write their book, but that everyone has a story – by virtue of the lives they have lived, the experiences they have felt and the thoughts they have thunk.
It takes a talented writer to turn those elements in to a book worth reading.

I can’t help but think about shoes in a similar way.


From where and when, was the idea conceived,
How did it grow and what was the seed.
What inspired the designer, who sketched out the lines.
What were the ingredients, imbued in the design.

Who made the pattern, stitched the upper, attached the heel.
What were their passions and how did they feel.
Did they break for an espresso, or did they drink tea.
Miles inland or were they close to the sea.

From where the shoes travelled, and where did they land.
What was their journey, ’til they’re held in your hand.
Where will you wear them, and who will you meet.
What is the story, you want on your feet ?

Shoes are not just shoes,
they are stories to be worn,
and their stories
are worth knowing.

The deeper the story, the more we connect.

When we know better, we buy better.


If there’s one person’s blog I consistently recommend to people, it’s Seth’s blog. Ever since it started arriving into my inbox (with my permission!) over ten years ago – I must have read almost every one – and he writes one every single day! As I’ve opened the aSTOKA studio a little wider (ie. this website) I thought I’d start a fun project – designing shoes inspired by books. Not just any books, but books that I’ve either been recommended or have recommended myself. Two days ago I had a trial run with a sketch of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. Today begins a daily Practice … which is what The Practice is about. Doing something daily, however sketchy or otherwise it might be, however imperfect it might be. The practice of shipping creative work. Thank you Seth, for everything you do!


I bought Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ a few years ago, and only got round to reading it in the last few weeks. It’s about the instinctive vs effortful decisions we make. Instinctive being Fast, effortful being Slow.
He begins chapter two : “In the unlikely event of this book being made into a film, System 2 would be a supporting character  who believes herself to be the hero…” – which left me wondering, what if it were made in to a shoe ?
I’ve only finished chapter two, so it’s probably the case that this sketch, relatively quick and an instinctive one, would be the System 1 thinking Kahneman writes about. Once I’ve finished the book, I’ll design a shoe that reflects more of the content of the book. Well, let’s see …