I'm often asked if I come from a family of boot makers. I do not.
My journey has been different than what I used to perceive as the traditional course. I have had a 25 year career of raising my family in footwear service, repairing boots and shoes. Now after these many years of reflection, I realize it gave me a valuable foundation on which to elevate my service, building the best boots that I can. Several of the shops I worked at in those days were in the Cowboy country of Northern California. I got to repair a lot of them, and fell in love with the art form it represents. But the time wasn't right to pursue a career as a maker, while my wife and I raised our family. When I retired from shoe repair, we moved to Phoenix, AZ. I spent the next five years working in a factory environment for the premier holster maker in the US, while also creating in my home shop, getting back to my roots from childhood of making leather items for personal use and artistic expression. The art classes I took at the local community college furthered my appreciation of the basic elements of design, and led me to an examination into my creative mind.
When the opportunity came to move to Prescott, here in Northern Arizona, my wife and I embarked on another journey of adventure. While forming friendly and supportive relationships with several successful fine artists in town, and collaborating on among other things, leather picture frames, I was also being asked to make Western boots for one person after another. And within three years I had a year wait for my bespoke boots. In 2006 I was able to spend some time with boot maker DW Frommer, whose method of boot making I had been following through his tutorials. That time gave me a launching pad to finding my own voice and style. I continue to stretch myself and test my skills against other boot makers in national shows and competitions, winning some awards for my work along the way.
My goal as a maker now is to bring something new into the world, and be of creative service to those who want good fit and individual self expression with their footwear. When asked to describe my style, I describe it as:
All the best in bootwear,
Q&A with PK BootMaker
Q. Why does leather appeal to you?
A. It was the medium for gifts of love in my early days as a Boy Scout, and then the object of service when I was raising my family doing shoe repair. In this new millennium, leather as a medium for artistic expression, it just feels like it wants to say yes in my hands.
Q. Do you have a philosophy?
A. My taste for boot design is more Western than Cowboy. I choose Western themes when the conversation with the client leans that way. Cowboy/Western boots (you know what the difference is, don't you? One has the manure on the outside), are a symbol of our American heritage, our independence and individuality. It finds its expression in many elements from a simple brand to a full-out filigree top. As an object of self-expression, I'm often asked to embellish with some item from the past or meaningful image.
Q. Do you participate in mentoring?
A. Yes, I have begun. When I turned 60 years old I figured it was time. I've discovered it is a lot of work, but rewarding. I especially like the learning for myself, the truth of that old saw, "when one teaches, two learn". I offer full three week courses, one week advanced, and 'by day' special workshops on advanced topics of particular interest to footwear making students. I feel honored when the phone rings and it's a fellow boot maker calling with a question or topic of interest to discuss. I've also been contributing articles to our trade magazine and offering classes at our regional trade shows. I hope to do a lot more in the years to come.
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PK BootMaker 2016 | Marchetti Photography