When Walter Dyer, Sr., made leather aviation boots for Charles Lindbergh, he had no idea he was starting a multi-generation family business. Today, his daughter-in-law, Robin Dyer, continues to craft beautiful, custom leather moccasins.
In fact, the family’s footwear work for the famous now extends to former President Gerald Ford, Rupert Murdock and Billy Golden, among others.
Robin makes everything from canoe moccasins and lace boots to knee-high shoe packs and buckle boots, about 20 styles of footwear in all.
“The moccasins I make are both original and authentic,” she says. “Some of the styles have been used since medieval times, others are adaptations of authentic designs, and others are original designs.”
Making a pair of moccasins requires a delicate process. The moccasins are sewn on lasts that can be custom-made for a customer’s foot. Robin sews the back, trims the vamp and tip, and then tacks it to the lasts. She individually punches each needle hole with an awl, then sews the tip with a double needle lock stitch that is further locked with overcast stitches at the beginning and end. She tacks on the double sole, then sews it on with locked stitches as well. Every pair is sewn by hand and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
“Many people have a difficult time finding footwear that fits,” she says. “I believe moccasins can be functional art.”
She uses thick leather from Swiss dairy cattle that is tanned in England using a double bath chrome tanning process that leaves the leather water-resistant, durable and flexible.
Robin moved to Indiana in the 1980s because it was a central location for traveling to shows. “The quality of life in Indiana has kept us here,” she says, adding she hopes her participation in Indiana Artisan helps her business gain more recognition.
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