After ranting about the indignities of leather tanning last week it is time to profile something a bit more upbeat. Well, a lot more upbeat, and a lot more fun. I want to focus on one of the more interesting alternatives to buying mass market shoes - shoe making! I know, the thought seems daunting to say the least. Shoes (along with virtually everything else in our world) are bought in stores. We don't make them. It's such a foreign concept it's hard to even process the idea initially. Which is really too bad. There is so much power in learning, and I think there is even more power in learning how to make. Over the years, I have learned that there really isn't anything that you can't do if you have enough gumption and motivation to make it happen. I have learned a lot of things that I never thought I would. I can lay tile, digitize sewing patterns, drape dresses, pour concrete, and make a websites. I remember looking at an electrician one day, and thinking that if that sexist jackass can figure it out, I certainly can. Now I look at virtually everything from tamales to jewelry, and I know that I can figure out how to make it or do it. There isn't a reason in the world that you can't do the exact same thing.
So, back to the shoes. Specifically, let's focus on sandals. They seem like a good place to start, right? They should be the easiest, and learning to make them would enable you to supply your own footwear for half the year. Also, they are the shoes that seem to wear out the fastest and need to be replaced the most. Right. Good plan. Here in Portland there are a couple of great sandal making classes. One at Portland Sewing Company, and the other at Wildcraft Studios. Both are fantastic choices, but let's focus of Wildcraft Studios (mostly because I really, really want to go there). It's based on 5 acres of property in White Salmon, WA, so they are a bit distant from Portland, but it seems like they make your effort well worth it. Gourmet vegetarians snacks and lunches? Obviously, these are people we need in our life. Beyond shoe making, they have loads of other classes that would satisfy the crafty nerd in anyone. Screen printing, shibori, natural dye making, weaving, and sandal making are just a few of them. It's a place where you could easily spend an entire summer, but for now I will have to be content with the possibility of fitting a sandal making class into my schedule. For the rest of you - check and see what might be available in your area. You might be surprised at what you find, and at what you can do!
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