choose your masters wisely

estimated 3 min read

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it’s all in the details

This could easily be a post on something else entirely. It’s not. I wish I had the strength to write that post publicly.

To understand today’s post, we need to rewind eighteen years*. No, not to that date, but around that time. That’s when my feet stopped growing. Yes, it was an annoyance because I knew I would forever look longingly at the shoes that started at a 6, but at the time it wasn’t too difficult because I mostly wore sneakers and there was a range of those in my 5.

When I landed my first real job after graduation it became panic-worthy. At this point, most stores (and companies) had stopped carrying anything below that magic number, 6.

After a frantic almost-city-wide search, I found a pair of gorgeous flats at Century 21. Back when the women’s shoes were on the second floor and they had a bin marked “magic number” (or something). In there was a beautiful pair of the exact shoe I had been looking for, marked down from the retail price of over $250 to a somewhat affordable but worthwhile budget stretch of $50. I wore these daily for three years until the stitching at the toe wore out (as I always stub my toes) and the heel became very worn.

E and I brought them to the shoe repair near his parents. I had a difficult time communicating with the man there, I thought “fix these, make pretty” was quite descriptive actually. He grumbled something, glued them and put taps on the toe (note: these are leather soled).

I was miserable. I think I cried that he ruined my shoes. I yanked off the taps and tried hard not to wear them out. I left them at the office and switched when I arrived at work. I didn’t wear them outside. I knew it had to be possible to stitch them back together (not to mention replace the heel).

my renewed shoesLast year my inlaws introduced us to another place. This cobbler is a master of his craft. I’ve now had him rebuild the soles of two pairs of my shoes, neither pair were “easy” cases. Today I picked up my beloved work shoes. He stitched them back together. They have nice new heels and rubber soles. They look amazing don’t you agree? It took all of my energy not to hug him and I really do not this he charges enough for his amazing work. He laughed at me because I gushed at length about the work and praised him. I think I embarrassed him. Good. He knows what he’s doing and he does it well and with pride. I also picked up two other pairs of shoes where we took preventative measures and repaired the heels now before I ruined them completely.

On my walk home in the rain with my renewed shoes, I began to think about the details in my work. I strive for perfection the first time. I’ve prided myself in the quality of my work. As I’ve gotten older and/or “more comfortable” with what I’m doing I’ve gotten both sloppy and slightly lazy, allowing mistakes to creep through. In honour of my cobbler’s work, I’m renewing my desire to improve on the little details, with fibre, foods, photos, and words. I have a very long way to go before I feel I can call anything I do “master” quality. I hope one day to be worthy.

it's all in the detail, baby gifts it's all in the detail, baby gifts Rhinebeck scarf progress, 11 Oct Rhinebeck scarf progress, detail 11 Oct Rhinebeck scarf progress detail, 11 Oct

* yes i had to edit that. i wrote 19 because i can’t count and i don’t think. what was i saying about mistakes?

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2 Replies to “choose your masters wisely”

  1. Definitely, it’s in the details – but it’s also in appreciating the variations, a/k/a errors..
    Your Rhinebeck scarf is so lovely –

  2. […] stories about masters of their craft have floated around for years. My friend Penny recently highlighted the masterly skills of a cobbler who saved her favorite shoes: This cobbler is a master of his […]

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