I did a 72-hour leather shoe-making course over two weeks. It was such a blessing to learn this beautiful art form through a teacher who is passionate and well skilled in it. It made me understand the importance of personalized and specialized products and the process of keeping these traditions alive in a consumerist world. It also helped me to respect why handmade is more expensive in the short term, but why this perfect quality and workmanship is of so much more value. They are more comfortable, beautiful and durable. It showed me how producing less, but better quality, is much more sustainable. I would now rather make fewer specialized pieces that are better value long-term for the consumer (comfort, style, individuality, durability) than thousands of consumer driven products.
We all need to care of our earth; bespoke, thoughtfully and ethically produced products are the way forward to preserving our world. I had the pleasure of meeting my teacher’s maestro one day during my course and I realized how grateful I am that these traditional methods are being preserved through people who are concerned with making less quantity and more quality. It would be a sad thing if we were to lose these arts. I think one-on-one courses would be much more beneficial to the learner as the teacher is divided when more than one student is trying to learn; when you are doing a short course every minute of learning is important. Or if there is more than one student, they should be starting at the same time, same level of ability and doing the same lessons. It is an experience that has changed my life and that I will hold dear to me always. I have been blessed to have a master craftsman sharing their knowledge with me.
I am very grateful that he was open to sharing this knowledge and skill, and preserving this beautiful art form. We are friends and share a passion and understanding of things that others will not understand unless they experience it!
I currently work with my boyfriend in Harare, Zimbabwe, but am hoping to start my own clothing and shoe line soon.
I do not currently produce any fashion items but hope to soon, and the course has given me invaluable tools and expertise for achieving something great!