Over the weekend 7 people, mostly women, gathered together for a three day shoe making workshop. We gathered with Jason Hovatter from Portland Oregon with hopes of creating a moccasin style “turn shoe” using latigo leather for the soles and bison leather for the uppers. You might ask, “What is a turn shoe?” A turn shoe is a hand stitched shoe that is created inside-out and with the use of your hands forced to be turned right side in. The style of shoe we made is a 10th century Scandinavian style turn shoe that looks very much like an moccasin.
The work was steady over the course of 3 days with a total of 24 hours of labor under our belts. While going through the process we were each challenged mentally, physically, and emotionally. by the end of each step in the process we were glad it was over and but rewarded with something we could say was a success.
It was a wonderful time working together and sharing stories about family, friends, and travel. Eventually we lost track of what we were doing as hard work and it turned into fun. Our bodies pushed past the infantile stage of muscle memory for the new skill and locked into a more calculated free flowing pace. It was nice to see each person discover and experience their personal talents and skills during the different stages of the process.
On the last day of the workshop Jason surprised us with the promise of handmade coffee flavored ice cream to everyone who successfully turns their shoes. Jason roasted and hand ground the beans and proceeded to make a batch of what turned out to be the best tasting coffee ice cream on the block. with the newly added incentive we all quickly ended our race. In the end we were all winners and we each went home with a beautiful pair of moccasin style turn shoes that will last for many years to come.
We would like to thank Jason Hovatter from Laughing Crowe for his time and dedication to teaching this incredible skill and making sure everyone was successful with their projects. We look forward seeing Jason and hosting this workshop again in the future.