Leather is a special material and has a unique ability to stir up profound emotions.
Once you fall in love with leather, there is no way back.
Just the smell of it.
It is like when on a walk in the countryside, you can smell the horses in the field before you spot them grassing. Or like when you smell the special brand of tea which was your grandmothers favourite.
When you walk into the atelier of a bespoke tailor, you hear the scissors cutting, feel the steam from the pressing station. You see the old tailor sewing a rolling lapel and the young apprentice sewing on buttons. You can feel the craftsmanship in the room.
A shoe atelier has all that. The tradition and the craftsmanship. But the first thing you notice when walking in the door is the smell of leather. There is nothing like it.
Great shoemaking can only be achieved with a love of leather. It is the leather that draws the true craftsman to his vocation.
The love of leather is what links the craftsman and his client. We all love to wear a well made leather shoe that is both beautiful and durable.
But the life of a shoe does not end when it leaves the atelier, it begins. Leather is alive and we must take care of it. Just like the craftsman has used simple principles and gestures, perfected over time, we must carry on the task of nurturing the leather.
We all know how to take care of a shoe. Brush away the dust. Apply a shoe cream to nourish the leather. Finish the process by giving it a perfect shine, alternating between a drop of water and a thin coating of wax.
We must learn that this is not a chore, it is a pleasure. Like the craftsman, it must be a labour of love. Take pleasure in a simple principle being applied to a good product. Repetition and satisfaction.
Next Sunday afternoon, try to sit down and enjoy watching leather come back to life while your favorite record is playing in the background.