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Boot Maker Lisa Sorrell

This week I am proud to present boot maker Lisa Sorrell from the great Sooner State, Oklahoma. Lisa is by far one of the best boot makers out there and she continues to stretch the limits of what’s possible in the art and design of cowboy boot making.  Thank you very much Lisa for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for all of the boot lovers out there. Visit Lisa’s website at http://www.customboots.net

When did you start making boots and how did you get into the craft?

I got my first job in a boot shop at age 20. I answered an ad in the local newspaper looking for someone to “stitch boot tops.” I had no idea what that meant and I’d never worn cowboy boots.

What do you enjoy best about boot making?

Inseaming. Although I’m best known for my intricate inlay and overlay designs I particularly love the process of actually putting the boot together.

Do you consider boot making an art form or a craft?

Oh, don’t get me started! This is one of my favorite topics. Boot making is, in my opinion, the perfect example of the marriage of art and craft. The tops on a cowboy boot are pure art; there’s no function to the wild colors and design. But from the ankle down it’s all about craft. The boot has to be properly balanced and fit well. It’s possible to make a beautiful boot that’s crooked or doesn’t fit well–good art but poor craftsmanship, or an ugly boot that sits up straight and fits perfectly–poor art but excellent craftsmanship. The challenge is doing both well.

How long does it typically take to make a pair of boots?

I allow a month to build a pair of boots, and since there’s a lot of wet/dry time I can build two to three pairs in one month. Working on one pair at a time is inefficient because you’d just be sitting around waiting for things to dry.

What is the difference between custom made boots and boots made at a factory?

Quality of materials, quality of craftsmanship and fit.

Have you made boots for any celebrities?

Nope, they’ve all wanted me to donate and I don’t donate what is essentially a month of my own hard labor, not to mention one half-one third of my entire monthly income.

How long have you been in business?

I opened Sorrell Custom Boots in 1996. Before that I had a small business, Custom Boot Work, stitching and inlaying tops for boot makers across the country. I did that for three years.

Who are your mentors?

Jay Griffith and one of his former students Ray Dorwart

Are you taking orders? Do you have a waiting list?

Yes. It’s usually around a year.

http://www.customboots.net

Categories: Boot Maker Profiles.

8 comments on “Boot Maker Lisa Sorrell

  1. Val Hernandez on said:

    Hello Lisa!
    I am ex military and have always been interested in learning how to craft boots! I grew up in a cattle ranch so i have been around leather . Where do u recommend i start. Do u train students? If so, how long is ur training? By the way i have seen some of ur utube videos. Very informative. Kudos!

  2. Gerald Reed on said:

    Does your skiving knife come left handed….

  3. Al Binning on said:

    I have enjoyed you articles and videos on You-tube. Interested in your classes coming this fall. I have 18 industrial sewing machines from an over-edger to a 30 inch arm machine and not to forget the American Straight needle. My prize is the Randall, the Cadillac of the saddle making machines. I have bought shoe repair shops out and sold shoe repair in the past. I have a pillow line that is just started, saddle & harness patterns, make quilted horse blankets and will be making soft side luggage (duffels). One of my heart desires have been to make a pair of cowboy boots. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up at 62.

    Al

  4. Every time get back on the computer something has changed an I can’t find how to say hi. I don’t even know if this will get to you. But Hi. Heid

  5. Karl Edgin on said:

    Where are you located?
    At the moment what is the wait time to have a pair of boots custom made?
    Roughly what would a pair of ostrich with quills in a roper style run me?
    I don’t know what color they call it but to me it looks orangish in color…

  6. cathy davis on said:

    I know you are a boot maker but is there any way you could make a specialized style of Sperry topside shoe? there is a base ball motif shoe I have seen but it is not being made right now. can you help?

    http://www.fitting-it-all-in.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/allenedmonds_mlb-shoes_fastball_white_l.jpg

  7. Sandy on said:

    Love ur boots Do u have any available in size 8 1/2 or 9
    Don’t have to have custom. All ur boots are custom and really most wonderful
    Please respond

  8. Alan Heidbreder Heid on said:

    Lisa why do you sew the soles 1st before sanding shank area? For over 50 yrs. I sanded the shank area 1st. Back when boots were made right with leather in soles you would re peg the shank area. But now I only peg custom made boots & there arnt many of them around now days. I see there is alot of changing that I have to do in the boot making end. I learned the making part over 40 yrs. ago, but didnt stay with it. For I was making more moeny repairing. In the Houstom area we repaired 100′s of boots ea, mo. HEID

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