I met Mr. D.W. Frommer II at his small workshop in Redmond, Oregon 5 years ago while I was working at nearby Nike, where I was researching ways to elevate footwear design by incorporating elements of craft into a highly industrialized product. A new design deliverable to give product a more human, handmade dimension.
Mr. D.W. Frommer II is a rare breed of both boot-maker and teacher. Well over 60 years old he passionately continues exploring and learning about his craft, designing and making new styles and constructions.
Mr. D.W. Frommer II has a very profound philosophy regarding boot and shoemaking:-
Some of the finest footwear ever made, was produced by skilled hands in the latter part of the nineteenth century — before the wide spread use of machinery was introduced. Boots and shoes made by hand were often more durable and more attractive than anything being produced today. We do not believe that it is necessary to acquire expensive and specialized machinery to create boots and shoes of lasting beauty. To the contrary, it is our belief that such devices tend to forever separate the craftsman from the skills and sensitivity which is essential to good bootmaking. As a consequence our approach is to stress theory and understanding while teaching skills.While not necessarily or completely disavowing the use of machinery, many of the techniques that we teach have their origins in centuries old traditions and rely heavily on honing a certain keenness of eye and hand.
Below are some photo’s from my visit.
It was at D.W’s workshop that I first appreciated the “Packer Boot” design. Essentially a cowboy boot with laces.
And some fine details of boot making unknown to me such as wedging wooden pegs into the soles instead of the usual nails.
The workshop and office of Mr. D.W. Frommer II is a treasure chest of stories and information on the traditions of western wear and of hand crafted boots and shoes.
Mr. D.W. Frommer II has been teaching students for over 30 years and his 3 week course includes making your own pair of boots or shoes. Whether a “Dress Wellington”, a “Packer”, a “Full Wellington” or a “Dress Shoe”, after 3 weeks every student gets to walk home wearing their self made designs on their feet.
Thank you D.W.
For more information Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit Mr. D.W. Frommer II’s very interesting website www.bootmaker.com