Healing Shoes


In kindergarten I had a pair of red and white saddle oxfords. The saddle was red patent leather. I wore them everyday. One day the teacher asked us all to stand in the middle of the room. Then she said “all of the people wearing black shoes, go stand over there,” and then “all of the people wearing brown shoes, go stand over there.” There I was, standing alone in the middle of the classroom in my red and white shoes. I was embarrassed and shamed. I made these shoes for the little girl in me, the little one who the teacher tried to quash the artist out of. I don’t know where that teacher is, if she’s living or dead. I don’t remember her name, but I thumb my nose at her!!! I’m going to wear these shoes with pride and confidence. She did not succeed in making me conform.


Sandal Class at the Folk School

sandalmaking, handmade sandals, sandal class

Starting on Sunday, August 27, 2023, I will teach another sandal making class at the John C. Campbell Folk School. The class runs through September 2nd. Last year we got so much attention and so many compliments. Come and learn to make sandals that you design specifically for the size and shape of your feet. Bring embellishments from home to personalize your sandals or choose from my collection of buttons, beads and semi-precious stones gathered over a lifetime. I will introduce as many shoemaking techniques I can into the course.

Last year we had questions like: Is this an advanced class? The answer is ‘no’. You, too, can make yourself a custom pair of sandals for your feet, no matter what the size.

This link will take you to my class in the John C. Campbell Folk School catalog: https://folkschool.configio.com/pd/1495/make-your-feet-happy?st_t=2077&st_ti=2486&cid=2527&returncom=productlist&source=search

Breaking News

March/April issue of Asheville Made
Deborah Shoemaker and the Singer

What a surprise to find out my picture is on page 38 of the March/April issue of Asheville Made. Last month I attended the Natural Dye Interest Group at Local Cloth. I was also trying out my leather needles on their sewing machines to find out if any of their machines would sew leather for my sandalmaking class. Little did I know the photographer was shooting for Asheville Made. I’m on the previous page too but in quarter view. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Too bad the caption on my photo didn’t include my web address.

Enrolling now for January shoemaking classes

Toe River Studio Tour advertisement
See page 10 of the Autumn 2022 Toe River Studio Tour booklet

Reserve your spot now for my beginner shoemaking classes that start in January. See the Toe River Studio Tour booklet that is out now for the Autumn tour. My ad is on page 10.

Class size is limited to five. Let me know if you have availability for other days of the week. I will open additional sections for the class as the seats fill. Early registration recommended.

Shot of the Week

sandal class, shot of the week, shot of the year, sandal making
Delia capturing the class output


Shear delight to teach sandal-making at the John C Campbell Folk School. My students were a fascinating bunch of talented, hard workers. The campus is gorgeous and enchanting. It was my great good fortunate to teach in the well-appointed wood carving studio, updated over time and built nearly 100 years ago. The school staff was welcoming, generous and genuinely helpful. My housing was oh-so-charming. I have so many stories to tell. I am on the schedule to teach sandal-making next August too.

Open House

Open House for Deborah’s School of Shoemaking

Come by on Sunday, May 1, 2022, 2-4 pm

Bring your dream shoes to life

121 Montana Avenue, West Asheville

There will be a drawing for fabulous prizes!

Deborah’s School of Shoemaking

Deborah’s School of Shoemaking is well underway. These students are taking Shoemaking 101, Oxford or Derby. The beginner class teaches all of the skills to make a pair of cemented shoes of their own design. The class is taught with demonstrations at each stage of building followed by hands on practice of each skill. Students will walk away from the course with a pair of shoes made to fit their feet.

The Madonna of the Lasts

I got some publicity in Mountain Xpress for Deborah’s School of Shoemaking. I recently dreamt up this image of me posing as the Virgin of the Guadalupe and using lasts as the light rays from my halo. I’m so pleased Mountain Xpress used my photo and what an honor for my new school to be featured. Check out my School page because classes are forming all the time. Gather some friends together and we can have a class time whenever works for you.

Around Town: Local workshops teach shoemaking skills

The Trade

The Trade
Julyan Davis in his new spectators and Creek Study II

Imagine my delight when Julyan Davis agreed to do a trade with me for one of his paintings, Creek Study II. He asked if I had any interest in making a Twenties-inspired shoe. Who me? Julyan picked the leather colors and I chose to do a two-tone oxford.