The shoemaker is closing down shop. It wasn't lack of business that closed him down, it was lack of time to spend in the shop, as he had to work around his full time job with a large shoe manufacturer. I know how hard that is, although I'm not ready to give up my second job as a painter yet. But boy, it would be nice to have weekends off.
I'm glad I caught the shop when I did and was able to complete my series of paintings of it. He is too and jokes that the shop has been immortalized by my paintings. I don't know about immortalized, but in a way it seems like a signal that I'm probably finished using shoe machine imagery, or will be when I finish one last large painting.
So he contacted me to let me know he asked if I wanted any mementos of the shop. I didn't hesitate to visit before the beautiful machines, already sold, are loaded on to a truck and shipped west.
As we talked he demonstrated how some of the machines worked, something I hadn't seen to this point. It was crazy to see them actually move, almost like Pygmalion seeing his statue come to life. They clicked along with a oily clatter, spinning of wheels and pumping of levers. It kind of blew my mind. I would have loved to take one of them home, but they weigh half a ton and are probably better off continuing their mission of making shoes. I ended up taking some simple tools, and these beautiful shoe lasts, circa 1969.