If all my teachers had taught like you, school would have been an entirely different experience for me. Learning from you was the best experience of my life.
— J.P., Talent, Oregon
I have been in the wholesale business over 15 years, manufacturing / line building / sales you name it, I can say I have done it all. I have always wanted to learn how to make shoes. I did not want to go Europe to learn, but wanted to learn American Shoe making. I stumbled upon a few people teaching but I chose Bill's school. The main reason - there are very little pre-made parts. You have to make everything from scratch and pieces of leather.
You are completely on your own with the watchful eye of a Master Shoe Maker. The major benefit you will learn is how to correct your mistakes with a completed shoe at the end. I thought I knew it all until I took Bill's shoemaking course. I have made 10 different shoes on my own after taking his class. I now have the right to call myself a "Shoe Maker" only after taking "Bonney & Wills School of Shoemaking & Design".
Bill it was an honor to learn from a Master Shoe Maker. Good luck and keep up this lost art!
— Pete Julienne, Orange County, California
I chose to attend class at Bonney & Wills (Men's Classic Shoes) as the course material covered making a shoe from measuring through wearing what I made. We were going to design our own pattern, sew our custom pattern, last our own shoes, sew on the welting by hand, the whole nine yards.
Bill Shanor is a generous and patient teacher. He kept us moving efficiently through the process. And when I couldn't remember something, he would be right there to help. We got a lot of practice on sewing on leather as well before we did it "for real". Just from an instructional perspective, Bill has laid the class out in a logical manner. Shoe making has a lot of stuff to cover.
We used top quality materials. The sheer amount of equipment in the shop is staggering. No one ever had to wait to use a sewing machine, lasting stand, tools, etc. Bill shared sourcing information for tools, materials, trims, machines, etc. Between sessions, he did a lot of the 'behind the scenes' prep that made the class run really smoothly.
Bonney & Wills is a class act. Good instruction, materials, tools, location, people. I am glad I took my time to spend time learning to make my awesome shoes (my friends are amazed at how awesome they are and so am I) from Bill, a master boot and shoe maker. I am looking forward to my next shoe making experience at Bonney & Wills.
— Susan Parker, Memphis, TN
I highly recommend Bonney and Wills moccasin making class. I have not been known for my skills as a physical craftsman or artist. Bill on the other hand is both a master craftsman and teacher in the art of making shoes and teaching people. He met me exactly where I was and then gently coaxed me into the different aspects of the art as we made our moccasins.
— G.A., Phoenix, Oregon
I’ve been showing off my boots to everyone I meet and bragging about you and your workshop. Bill is such a good teacher, leading you through the shoe making in clear steps, guiding you to produce a quality moccasin that is also comfy to wear and beautiful. I loved the non-competitive feel of the group, and that he waited for all of us to be at the same step before going on. How reassuring to have such a master craftsman be one’s teacher.
— H.M., Ashland, Oregon
I just finished Bill's shoe making class and made a wonderful pair of navy Mary-Janes. I loved this class -- every thing was very 'hands on' and Bill is so knowlegable and experienced. He is a true master craftsman. We worked with all of the equipment and had a great time. This was truly one of the best classes I have ever taken. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!
— B. R., Medford, OR
Best class ever, enjoyed Bill's instruction's, expertise and attention to detail immensely. Bill is patient and very precise with his teaching skill's, he also has a great sense of humor and sense of being.
Thank you Bill for allowing a rookie like myself to feel like "I too can make shoes".
— Michael Svencicki, Asheville, NC
Bill and Julie are some of the nicest most patient people I have met.. They worked with me multiple
times to figure out what we needed to! I will be seeing them both again very soon.
— Dominic Theshoesurgeon Chambrone, California
I can't believe I took that class two November's ago and I haven't been back since. I've wanted to be in the playhouse so many times as I've dove head first into this ridiculous trade. Your class sent me on a course for a terribly unpractical, expensive, and solitary career and what I can tell you is "I LOVE IT!" I love that it's difficult, full of headaches, heartbreaks, moments of sheer devastation (such as two weeks ago when I tore an upper while lasting.) In the process I've learned I'm okay with all that. I've learned a great deal of patience is necessary to achieve the results I'm aiming for. The extra time and effort it takes to do the best I can is the only result that satisfies me. Even my day-to-day work in shoe repair has gotten significantly better due to the techniques I've learned from Boot Makers and Shoe Makers alike.
Shoe repair continues to pay my bills. I have invested in a lot of tools, machinery, and supplies that will be used in a shop of my own one day. In terms of shoe repair stuff I'm almost ready to open my doors. However, I am practicing to be a skilled Boot Maker, Shoe Maker, and Leather Craftsman in addition to your typical Cobbler. I have been on fire ever since I took your course. I didn't fall in love with dress shoes specifically. I envy your broad set of skills over so many aspects of footwear. That and your teaching style is what impressed me the most. I fell in love with the idea of getting that good some day. Both as a Craftsman and a Teacher. I love what you do Bill. Thanks to your class I can see myself pursuing a similar career path in the near future.
— Kevin Leffler, Denver, Colorado
Since taking Bonney & Will's Moccasin course my fiancee and I have developed a veritable infatuation with the shoes we then created and the craft in its entirety. The breadth of Bill's knowledge as a shoemaker and human being is immense and inspiriting. We feel eternally grateful and fortunate to have found his school and absorbed a slice of his expert instruction and hospitable company.
— Dustin Lyons, Ashland OR
Bill taught me the intricate craft of shoemaking in a miraculously short time. It was by all accounts an absolutely fabulous experience. Thanks to Bill I make high quality shoes with my bare hands and now belong to a rare breed of professionals. What a gift!
— Temitope, Houston, TX
In your class I felt like I experienced what it is like to work on shoes for the first time all over again. You provided me with a foundation of knowledge that goes well beyond the basic practical skills of putting a shoe together, and you took the time to make sure everyone had a chance to really let the information sink in. I learned a lot of things about the materials and tools involved in making shoes. Thank you for providing us with so much knowledge and sending us home with more resources than I could have imagined were available. It took a great deal of the mystery out of shoe making.
Thank you for the way you have chosen to live your life and teach your trade. I felt a sense of freedom not only to ask questions, but also to make mistakes. I knew you could dig me out of most of the holes I might find myself in, but more importantly, I came to understand that no mistake I made would be met with anything short of a gracious, understanding and ultimately educational response. This opened the doors for me to really try to do good work and even to start to trust myself with new challenges.
Thank you for being a great instructor and a great person. I know you are opening up a world of fulfillment to aspiring shoemakers looking for answers. I will remember your class as a peaceful and joyful experience, and I’m sure many others feel the same. Thank you for showing me how exciting and satisfying the trade can really be.
— Greg Lamont, Oregon
Coolest thing that I've ever done.
— Zachariah leBaron d'Avignon, Portland, Oregon
With lots of joy i think back on the days as an apprentice back in 2006. I highly recommend being Bill's apprentice. Having all the steps explained so clearly and patiently I really was able to learn how to make western boots, something not available in my home country Holland. Without all of Bill's teachings I could never have gotten where i am today. Thank you!
— roswitha van rijn, amsterdam, the netherlands
Truly a life changing experience for me. Not making this up - was at the
Caldera Tap room this evening and a guy walked up to me out of the blue
and said "nice boots man".
He knew not the complement he just paid to the lifetime of work Bill has
dedicated to his craft.
— Paul Ringmacher, Texas
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