Q&A with the Artist
Tell us how your work is made.
I build bespoke boots. Each boot is built to the specific measurements of your feet and designed individually to your character. I use the highest quality leathers to create each unique boot design in collaboration with your input. I use hand tools and traditional bootmaking techniques to painstakingly create each pair specifically for you.
What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?
35 complex and labor-intensive processes comprise the craft of handmade footwear. This knowledge is difficult to acquire; few schools remain and few practicing artisans worldwide can train apprentices. Footwear craft is expensive in materials and specialized tools. These conditions define the rarity and endangerment of this craft.
Over the last decade I have honed my Craft and practice as a full-time artist and bootmaker, seeking out the education and training required with 3 children in tow. In addition to utilitarian boots I create works of deliberate art that are realized with the sophisticated techniques of cordwainery (traditional term for shoemaking).
My work exhibits a thorough knowledge of American western side-seamed boot construction melded with British shoemaking traditions such as last-carving (the form around which footwear is made) and hand-welting soles. I possess a controlled manipulation of leather, skill in machine and hand-sewing, last-making techniques, patternmaking, material discernments, and hand-embroidery.
Before dedicating myself to this Craft I trained as an artist and architect at the Rhode Island School of Design and apply those Fine Art and Design principles to the sculptures I create. Additional skills and techniques accompany my leathercraft: I hand-carved and lost-wax cast aluminum components myself, as a Master Knitter I design and hand-knit textile components with precision and deliberate intent.
A third aspect of my practice is based on research of the architectural spaces in which footwear has been made and how it has affected the sustainability of footwear Craft. I consider how historical conditions in footwear craft, gender roles in production, and architectural contexts inform our Craft today.
What is something unique about you or your practice?
I have been a full-time mother for the past 19 years and have 3 children whom I have not put into childcare; I modeled my studio in our yard after the historical Ten Footer shoe shops of Lynn MA in the 1800s to allow my work flexibility in the fluctuating demands of our household. My husband deploys with the US Navy as well for a year at a time; my practice has to be accommodating when my children need me more.
I give public demonstrations on craft and footwear history to educate the public and encourage other artists to recognize that raising a family and creative practice are not mutually exclusive and can be supported by deliberate architectural spaces. I rewrote the Zoning Bylaw in our town for Art/Craft Studios and saw through successful passage at our Town Meeting to adopt into law, with the specific intent to allow women artists with families more creative artmaking spaces.