Joseph Campbell, the renowned lecturer and mythologist said, when you “follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
When Paul Krause, of PK BootMaker and Northern Arizona Leatherworks, moved to Prescott in 2000, little did he know where he was headed or what his “bliss” was. But he had a life motto to use as a tool in finding his direction: “Bringing something new into the world through creative service.”
Part of the Prescott landscape himself now for 18 years, Krause’s bespoke PK BootMaker handmade western boots are worn all over the country and “elsewhere.”
According to Krause, “one of the main reasons people seek out a bespoke bootmaker is because what is sold in the stores is not shaped like their feet. We’re not all the same in foot shape any more than body shape. The word bespoke implies that pair is spoken for.”
He added, “bespoke boots are made to that person’s shape and measurements. Custom is just the designing part.”
Regarding design, Krause believes that for most boot-wearers, tastes runs toward “less is more.” Filling up every space with stitching, flowers and birds takes away from the simplicity and beauty of the leather.
Krause believes that it was due to his design taste that he was presented with the Will Rogers Award by the Academy of Western Artists as Bootmaker of the Year in 2015, at a gala award ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. The awarded “Willie” statue is proudly displayed on his shelf.
Krause also credits professional photography, taken by Chris Marchetti Photography, of his boots with contributing greatly to how his work is received.
Consequently though, this national attention resulted in a two-year wait list by 2016 when he decided to make his last move to his home workshop in the Ponderosa Forest south of town.
“I now have the wait list down to about six months,” he said. “I also have time to explore my current interest in handmaking the classic men’s dress shoe, the Oxford.”
Krause’s interest was sparked after a 10-day advanced shoemaking course with Marcell Mrsan, shoemaking Master from Hungary.
“I’m inspired by the quality of work being done in Europe and elsewhere,” he added. “I needed to learn some of the finer points of shoemaking.”
Paul hopes to be ready to take orders for custom men’s shoes later this year.