“Cobbler, stick to thy last…”

Since December I have been drawing in a shoemaker’s workshop around the corner. Old crafts fascinate me. Shoemaker seem almost anachronistic. Doesn’t they? Shoes actually do come from the shoe store, like milk from the grocery, don’t they? They are usually made somewhere anonymously in Far East, under conditions, you’d rather not know at all. Everything is far away and anonymous until its in the shoe shop and I can buy it. And when they are broken, they end up in the trash and tomorrow they swim anywhere in the ocean. Am I exaggerating? I have to confess my “Samba” are “made in Vietnam”! But around the corner, shoes are made here by hand every day. Orthopedic shoes. Customised shoes made to measure. Many are shoes and leather ware can be repaired here ….

I’m not only fascinated by the craft and the incredible tools, but also by the subtle beauty of the Werkstadt shop. I am also very impressed by the straightforward cooperation between the six staff. I don’t want to idealize, but this mixture has something sacred for me … And so Peter’s workplace became my “St. Peter’s Square of local craftsmanship”.

The Peter’s Square of the local craftsmanship…
Mountains of leather in all kinds and colours.
Peter cuts the upper leather. The white shoe is as beautiful as for an figure skater.
The upper leather is smoothed with a simple piece of broken glass.
Now everything has to be sewn together.
Shoemaker’s sewing machines are quite special, aren’t they? That one reminds me of an insect…
Glueing the shoe soles. Underneath the yellow thing there is the glue.
Here the inner leather is pressed into the shape of the last.
Now the sole needs to be sanded. Peter examines it with a critical eye and above him a cloud of ledges.
An other tool I never saw before. A shoe stetcher. It’s for bringing the leather into the right shape, when needed.
Not only shoes are done or repaired at the shoemaker’s.
A holy lunch break.

I was late but when I entered the room I thought: Oh, that’s special!!! (And at least I was able to make a quick ten-minute sketch, after eating, because I was so touched!)

Lunch is usually cooked here and everyone is sitting around the large soup pot like a family. A friend wrote when I showed her the sketch: “It’s like that golden pot is communion itself … and it is reused over years to nourish many.”

I like that! She found words for that impression when I entered the room… There is something sacred or holy in that meals. And “holy” first of all means “simply”: God likes it! And I think he really likes it here. Jesus was a big fan of meals together. 😉

And I also believe that these lunch breaks might look like a waste of time, in our effectiveness-driven world, but they bring the team together and that makes the team more productive, don’t you think?

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