Artisan shoes

In Attire
Artisan Shoes
Artisan Shoes

My grandfather is a shoemaker from Cuenca, Ecuador. He went to a vocational school in the early 1970s to pursue artisan shoemaking. He graduated after two years and met my grandmother, who was a seamstress, and after a few years formed their family, which consisted of two sons and a daughter. My grandfather, alongside my grandmother, opened a shoe store that consisted of genuine leather, artisan shoes for men. My grandmother would sew the leather and my grandfather would design and make them by hand. In 1995, my father became an apprentice of my grandfather and began to work with him. He worked for my grandfather until 2001, when he immigrated to the United States seeking to provide for me and my mother with a better future. In 2002, my mother also immigrated to the United States and left me in the care of my grandparents. I grew up with them and would go to their store everyday after school and often on Saturdays. From what I can remember, both my grandmother and grandfather showed me step-by-step the shoemaking process and would allow me to "help."  This allowed me to engage in endless conversations with them. In 2010, I followed in my parents footsteps and immigrated to the U.S. to be reunited with them and to pursue a higher level of education. After many meetings with an immigration judge I was granted my residence in 2017, which allowed me to visit my grandparents in Ecuador.  Two days before returning they gave me and my father two pairs of shoes each. We were both emotional, as we know what it means to us.

Place(s): Cuenca, Ecuador and New York
Year: 2010

– Pedro

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child