"Necessity being the mother of invention" is a truism proven daily in the hand and custom shoemaking world. Finding work-a-rounds for material and machinery voids led to many presentations of "Sneaky Tricks for Women's Shoes" at the annual meetings of The Honorable Company of Cordwainers where I am a member and on the board of directors. It's a great repository of shoemaking knowledge you can check out at thehcc.org.
So what stands out over the years?
. Selling moccasin lasts to an American Indian reservation so they could recapture their native footwear traditions.
. Supplying lasts to an American doctor to send to his African brother to set up a literal "cottage industry" to sustain a village on hard times.
. Outfitting a firefighter with shoemaking supplies so she could make smoke jumping boots in small sizes for the women on her team.
. Debating "dumping" an assortment of one-footed pairs of lasts as "unusable" and then saving the day for a shoemaker with a client born with two differently- sized orthopedically challenging feet.
. Proudly watching a legion of "newbies" become accomplished, celebrated cordwainers.
. Becoming part of the small but growing world of dedicated footwear professionals who share the resources and techniques sustaining hand shoemaking. Yes, we all seem to know each other and refer clients forward to whomever has the product you need.
Finally, a great "thank you" to all the customers who became initial and repeat clients. It's been rewarding to see your growth over the years.