Luke’s Lost Arts

Authentic Craftsmanship

Luke’s Dutch Wooden Shoes

Since the 1500s wooden shoes have been worn in the Netherlands and across northern Europe. They kept feet warm and dry in the wet soils found in the lowlands. Wooden shoes today are made primarily by machine. There are only a few individuals left worldwide who carry on the craft of carving Dutch wooden shoes with simple hand made tools.

One of those individuals is Luke Traver of Oostburg, WI.

An image of Luke carving a wooden shoe.

Picture: Christmas in Le Claire, IA 2016

Luke’s Legacy—Bob Siegel, Jr. (Sieg)

Sieg and Luke holding a wooden shoe.

Picture: Bob and Luke at Cedar Grove Holland Festival 2014

Since 2004 Luke Traver has been working with Master Shoe Carver Bob Siegel, Jr. (Sieg) first as a helper then as an assistant to learn the trade.

Sieg was trained by Dutch master shoe carvers in the province of Overijssel in northeastern Netherlands. He holds a 1979 diploma from the Klompen Carving School located there in the village of Enter.

In 2006 Luke began actively carving under Sieg’s watchful eye at area shows and festivals. In 2011 he finished a one-year apprenticeship program with Sieg that was supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National  Endowment for the Arts.

Sieg retired from active carving in 2014 at the age of 89 leaving Luke to carry on the mission to preserve this lost art for future generations.

Luke can demonstrate the carving techniques that have been used for centuries in the Netherlands. He uses only three primitive hand made tools and a wood vice. His programs are enhanced with history discussions followed by a question and answer session with those in attendance.

Hand-made, personalized demonstration shoes can be purchased.

Each shoe is unique—no two are alike!

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