Studio Tour: Bespoke Shoemaking - Atlas Obscura

Columbia City, Washington

Studio Tour: Bespoke Shoemaking

Visit industrial designer and shoemaker Michael Barakat in his studio to learn about the art of shoemaking.

In the mid-1990s, Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis took a five-year break from acting to learn the dying art of shoemaking from Italian shoemaker and master cobbler Stefano Bemer. Day-Lewis' foray into the world of shoemaking has inspired many a young designer to pick up the craft and try their hand at shoe design.

Spend an hour hanging out with Michael Barakat, the artist and designer behind the bespoke brand MackerelCrow. Michael studied with Alan Zerobnick, who runs a shoemaking school in Port Townsend with Jayne Woodward and is also known as former "shoemaker to the clowns." He has crafted footwear for Ronald McDonald, Patch Adams, and enrollees in the Ringling Brothers Clown College.

Visit Michael's design studio in Columbia City and have an opportunity to learn about the process involved in building a handmade pair of shoes or boots. Join us, get familiar with the tools of the trade, and gain useful insights into the art of shoemaking.

MackerelCrow makes beautiful, functional and satisfying objects. We test every product as much as possible with our friends, family and regular Joe's. Many of the designs from our past are custom pieces built for necessity and reiterated. The name MackerelCrow comes from two of the founder's, Michael's, favorite animals. The crow is inquisitive by nature— a wondering spirit always searching, observing and looking for play in their surroundings. The mackerel is a free spirit, restless and strong. Both animals together make the kind of traveler that embraces life and never rests with issues close to their heart. We strive to design and make products to be worn by such a traveler. 


  • Event location will be shared with registered guests only.
  • Participants will not make shoes as part of this program.


Email Tamara Bunnell at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.