Made for Walking

Shoemaker Amara Hark-Weber revives an old trade.

How long does it take to make leather shoes from scratch? “Everyone tries to calculate the steps—250, maybe 287,” says shoemaker Amara Hark-Weber with a laugh. At her studio in Frogtown, Hark-Weber spends between 40 and 60 hours crafting one pair.

Hark-Weber brings the nearly lost art of handmade shoemaking to the American Craft Show this month. As one of six artists selected for the Hip Pop showcase of emerging talent, she could dazzle with 18-inch wooden chopines—but she’s more interested in displaying the everyday, functional products of just as much, if not more, hard work.

Hark-Weber learned from shoemasters in Hungary and Sweden as well as a cowboy-boot maker in Oregon. “It takes decades to master, and I’m just half a decade in,” she says.

See some of Amara Hark-Weber’s shoes at the American Craft Show at RiverCentre.