Originally Posted by Zapasman
Hi DW, I have read most of your post about shoemaking Tradition, but the concept of the term is not still clear to me. Is the use of nails part of the Tradition?. What about the use of metal shanks?. Would you say that HW without a carved holdfast is part of the shoemaking Tradition?. What about the use of rubber outsoles commonly used by most shoemakers recently?. Is the shoemaking Tradition evolving nowadays and accepting innovations as part of the Traditions?. Who or what institution/s preserves and updates the content of Tradition?. Are they generally accepted by most cordwainers? Is the Guild of Craft in the shoemaking static?. Are there different shoemaking Traditions depending of shoemaking schools (english/american/austro-hungarian and the like). Why are you the only shoemaker in SF who does great effort to explain and preserve the content of that term?. I do not think cordwainers today pay much attention to the term Tradition but it seems very relevant to a small minority.
I would like you to clarify me what is all about for a better understanding. TIA.
What a strange question. With all due respect...and I hope I'm wrong...it's almost as if you weren't really asking about shoemaking Traditions so much as challenging the idea that there is any authority above and beyond the self and the arbitrary.
If you want a definitive
definition of "tradition" I can think of no better one than can be found in the Oxford English dictionary which stipulates that a tradition must be passed down from generation to generation. It cannot be something that we suddenly decide is a tradition because we've done it for two years in a row. Or ten years, or even faithfully for 100 years. And "passing it down"...which implies a certain level of respect, a recognition of our own place in the scheme of things, and perhaps most importantly a certain level of humility...is a critical part of Tradition. Any real
If you want a more specific definition of Shoemaking
Tradition you need to first be able and willing to bend the knee, to sit at someone else's feet, to listen, learn and openly acknowledge your own ignorance. Openly acknowledge and respect the effort and the achievements of those who have gone before and who, by every objective measure, have reached skill levels that you yourself can only marvel at. And hope to emulate, if only roughly.
At that point, you might
be able to read the literature and look at the history and the artifacts of past shoemakers and honour and appreciate "what a piece of work is man...."
Therein lie the Traditions.
And yes, you are right, only a small minority of people today...in this age of continuous selfies and unbridled self absorption...consider anything outside of themselves worth allegiance, or respect or, as you say, relevant.
Why am I the "only shoemaker" who goes to "'great effort to explain?" I don't think I am. But if so, perhaps it is simply because I am foolish enough to think it is worthwhile in and of itself. Or maybe it's because I cannot allow myself to give up on my fellow man. Or more likely, it is because somewhere along the line of my life I ran across someone who was wise enough and generous enough to pass that lesson of respect...even reverence...on to me. Maybe I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Maybe it's just the luck of the draw.
Karma, neh?edited for punctuation and clarityEdited by DWFII - 10/12/16 at 6:33am