“Why/how did you become a boot maker?” is a question that was recently posed on a forum. I thought I’d post my answer here, for those who don’t know my story:
I was raised in a very conservative little church where the ladies all wore long hair and long dresses. My mother began teaching me to sew clothing at age 12, and by 15 I was sewing professionally. It came easily to me–I could create patterns from ideas or pictures. I’d always loved shoes but was surprisingly incurious about how they were made. Footwear just seemed to be a mysterious magic–I had no idea that people could make shoes. When I was 20 I married and moved from Missouri to Oklahoma, leaving my sewing business behind. I answered an ad in the newspaper for “stitching boot tops.” I had no idea what that was but it sounded like sewing. It was a revelation and I fell in love immediately. The thing I’d always hated about sewing clothing was that it was an expected, feminine thing. Cowboy boots had a huge canvas for color and self-expression, but it was also a serious craft with huge machines and lots of hammering, and it required serious physical effort. Boot making gave me an outlet for both the artist and the craftsman inside me. I’ve never been the type to want to know a little bit about many things; I want to know everything about one thing, and boot making is my one thing.