Jay Griffith

This is one of the only photos I have of my first boot making mentor, Jay Griffith. He was a walking contradiction — mean, but also sometimes kind; profane, but he also prayed for me once when I had a headache (and it went away!); gruff and hard, but with the most delicate touch for boot top design. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to know and learn from him. He worked with Archer LaForce, who worked with Gus Blucher, so I can trace my boot making lineage directly back to Gus Blucher.

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NOW I’m through

Did you think I was finished stitching leaves when the boots tops were completed? If so, you were wrong. I still had to stitch all of the leaves on the vamp and counter (foot and heel) and I even fit a two-color bug and wrinkle onto the vamp. Given how very much I despise doing toe bugs and wrinkles, I’m expecting a parade and perhaps a catered banquet now.

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Boot tops stitched

Five rows of stitching — three olive and two hunter green — come together in the leaves on the boot tops. An unintended benefit of doing every other row in a different color meant that it was easier to keep track of how many rows I’d done. When I do multiple rows in the same color I have to keep counting rows to make sure I finish with the same number of rows on each boot top!

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Lazy? Efficient? Good designer?

I suppose one could make the case that I’m lazy, but I rarely ever create a design with isolated, stitched details. I like a design to flow and I feel that if each element flows into the next you should also be able to stitch them without stopping and starting. I was able to stitch around all of these little inlaid shapes without stopping to tie off my thread and then manually moving to another separate shape.

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Progress

Usually I have every detail planned in my mind, but I was uncertain about the beading color on this pair for quite a while. I normally wouldn’t bring in another color that’s not being used for inlay somewhere on the boot, but this pair has multiple rows of stitching in an avocado green color that’s exactly the shade of the leather I decided to use for the beading. 

Now I gotta stitch them. I can skive for hours — I find it endlessly fascinating and meditative — but multiple rows of stitching bore me. I’d rather be skiving like the leather working definition OR skiving like the goofing-off definition, but progress requires that I stitch a whole bunch of leaves now.

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Skiving

“Skiving” is thinning the leather along the edge so there are no bumps or ridges where the pieces join. “Skiving” also means goofing off in England, but yesterday I did the first kind of skiving, not the second one. Although honestly, I love skiving leather enough that it feels like playing.

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Fun

I’ve cut out all the little pieces; now I get to have some fun and skive them all!

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Christmas Bracelet

Leather bracelet I made for a friend who loves Christmas

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YouTube: Shoemaking Tools

I made a YouTube video today about welt; how to slash it and why it’s slashed. I’m thinking perhaps I should change the title of my videos from “Shoemaking Tools” to “Lisa: The Intermittent Shoe Maker.”

Link to video

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An afternoon with Charlie and Ira Louvin

I’ve gotten to work in my studio today!

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