To call Sarah Madeline Tierney Guerin an incredibly skilled cowboy boot maker would be accurate—and also highly incomplete. Sarah is also an artist, a historian, an educator, a storyteller, a preservationist, someone who just thinks about things differently than most of the rest of us, and quite possibly the person who knows the most of anyone in the world about the deep history of Massachusetts shoemaking.
Sarah’s nom de boot “Saboteuse” (the female version of saboteur, in French) isn’t just an extremely cool word. It’s a mindset she applies to both her bootmaking work and larger focus of bringing attention to the failures of the larger worldwide systems of modern mass production.
In a rangy chat, Sarah and I discuss her genesis as an architect-turned-shoemaker, why she operates out of a replica of the Massachusetts shoemaking sheds known as “Ten Footers” and the fascinating history behind them and the 19th and early 20th century US shoemaking epicenter of Lynn and surrounding towns, how we can trace larger histories simply by looking at and understanding objects (in this case, believe it or not, boots), and making maybe her greatest work to date while watching Little League games.
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This episode was oh so graciously sponsored by Standard & Strange