Lee Miller, Bootmaker

photo by Misty Keasler

A few weeks ago I went to visit Lee Miller at Texas Traditions, his boot shop off South Congress here in Austin. Lee and his wife Carrlyn invited AIGA Austin to come for a visit, and I jumped at the chance to hear the veteran boot maker speak about his craft. I felt like a kid in a candy store, eying all the wonderful tools and gorgeous boots that surrounded us as Lee walked us through the process of boot making. Bottom line: it's all about the fit and taking time to do things right.

Lee took over Texas Traditions in 1986, after his mentor, Charlie Dunn, retired. His love of craft is evident in his boots and the manner that he speaks, but what "wow"ed me was his extreme kindness. Lee and Carrlyn spent extra time chatting with me about leather tooling, sharing contacts and discussing ideas. Texas Tradition boots showcase beautiful stitching and cut out work, so they work with local artists if a customer wants tooling on their boots. There are so many different options to choose from, and I could spend days going through their photo albums of finished boots and happy customers.

Some scenes from inside the workroom.