Med passion för skomakeri

Four years ago, Gabi was posting (the text below) on my Facebook account.

“I like shoes as much as I like watches, nothing extraordinary but I like to make them with my two hands. It’s a birth concept or something that feeds I don’t know what! 

It’s obvious that making a living from shoemaking is not quite an easy target, I don’t want any notoriety , I don’t want to make money from this but for sure I will start a related business… 

What I want? 

I want to express the TRUTH trough a shoe!

I’ve called it shoemaking fever. Why? Because I’ve noticed with the help of internet,  suddenly, a lot of people who don’t have any connection with this trade are starting to be really passionate and not only in silence, they ACT! The shoe snob, Brian (psychologist), me and a lot of others are going straight into the depths of this trade. 

And how? The trajectory is not quite a copycat but in big lines we are following the same route, by taking one by one, every known shoemaker that are making shoemaking courses. The following could be an apprentice stage for the next three years or University of Arts London – Cordwainers Footwear, I still don’t know. But anyway the story and the most important part for the shoemaking members of this forum is the course that I’ve just finished with Janne Melkersson on English welted. I’m starting the story with the last course that I’ve made because I’m trying to transmit the whole positive feedback that happened, before to loose something because of the time and life matters. 


First of all, Janne is a good heart and a good soul. He’s keeping the courses in his almost natal land in Hara- Sweden, in the middle of nature. He’s taking only one student at a time and do good. Why? Because you will have full attention on what you are doing, acting, thinking from 09:00 AM to 20:00 PM every day. He’s open, free minded, he will give you suppliers, ideas, connections, and his help in the trade like no one else. I had the surprise to see a real master at work, a master who feels the need to pay forward his knowledge without wanting something in return, he really feels the need to preserve everything by not keeping anything just for him. An absent Ego in this egocentric world, a great soul in this cynic society a great light for followers are few words that could describe Janne as a person. As a shoemaker is great! As a teacher… I don’t have words. 

What you will do there the first week:

You will learn how to take measures, make the measures to the client and to the last, make the last accordingly to the measures, making the pattern, clicking, closing, lasting and after that the desired sew by hand technique. It’s quite an injection of shoemaking old technology and the most beautiful part is that is not just this. I cannot describe in words, but it was not just a shoemaking English welted course it was more than that. 

Thank you Mr. Melkersson and happy shoemaking years!”


He was so impressed by his experience in Sweden that he wanted to share this experience with us nearby. One year later, in 2013, the entire Voicu family, including Oscar, was in Hara, Sweden for almost 1 month.

While Gabi was doing the second course with Janne (learning to make my first bespoke riding boots) we were exploring the village, spending amazing time with Janne’s family and emerging into Swedish culture.

Ana, 2 yo by that time, was learning her first words which were not Romanian or Portuguese, but Swedish: komma (come), spela ( play)!

We ate Swedish food, we learnt to make cheese (traditional Swedish way), we played all the time outside, we made a lot of good friends and we experienced the white nights (which were a kind of nightmare for us, so hard to explain the children to go to bed at 11 o’clock in the night while outside the sun was shining). For one month we felt part of Janne’s family and we were invited to all family events and dinners.


Very soon, media was interested in our Romanian family’s passion for shoes and we appeared in the newspapers with a long interview and photos (http://www.op.se/kultur/med-passion-for-skomakeri). It was the first time (not the last, on 29 november 2016, we had 8 pages in National Geographic Traveler, Romania, winter edition) when we as a family appeared in a newspaper.

Gabi’s passion became a family passion! In time we all learnt how to make shoes. At the beginning we believed that is a very hard thing to do. While doing it with the kids, we came to the conclusion that we were wrong! I can not say it’s a piece of cake but with the right guidance could be one of the most rewarding pieces of art that you can do!

Gabi courageously once said that he “wants to express the TRUTH through a shoe”. As I learnt in the Peruvian jungle living with shippibo indians: the TRUTH is that… there are many truths. So, I can say that if a child can make a shoe then everybody can.

Do you have a passion for shoes? Do you want to impress your girlfriend or your wife by playing Cinderella story with you as a charming prince? Do you want to make your own shoes, by yourself or like a family activity that bounds and connect? Stay connected with I AM FAMILY because they are about to release the only E-book that reveals the mystery of doing shoes in few easy steps! If a child can make shoes everybody can!


More pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamfamily/albums/72157675461109224

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