Saturday, October 2, 2010
Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations:New shoe exhibition
At the Museum L-A , Bates Mill Complex Lewiston, Maine is the exhibition “Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations,” which elebrates Lewiston and Auburn’s history in shoemaking. The display which documents the history of shoemaking in the twin cities since 1824 includes a photo collage titled “The Many Faces of Shoemaking” featuring workers in Lewiston-Auburn’s shoe industry both past and present. Also on display are 52 framed portraits taken by Mark Silber. These highlight local shoeworkers and are combined with an oral histories recorded by Andrea L’Hommedieu. Auburn was one of the largest US producers of shoes at one time. Through photos and text visitors can learn the steps of making a shoe, welt-boot making, and about the “cottage industry” of shoemaking at home. Opportunities to interact on line are available and there is a hands-on area to explore the experience of selling shoes in the late nineteenth century. Inspiration for the exhibition came from Lewiston’s Adrien Jalbert who in the last century designed intricate machinery for shoe manufacture, the organisers have included a Young Inventors Contest to encourage locals to follow the same tradition. One of the popular souvenirs from the exhibition is a shoe last with an inscribed tag that will become part of one of the art installations. All proceeds go to fund exhibit-related programs and workshops. “Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations,” runs until June 2011.