Sandal-making master resists technology using basic tools

Sandal-making master resists technology using basic tools

MUĞLA - Anatolia News Agency
Sandal-making master resists technology using basic tools

The sandals Fevzi Olca makes are made of leather and do not make the wearer’s feet sweat. ‘People visit my workshop and I have been able to stay in business thanks to these visitors,’ Olca says. AA photo

Fevzi Olca, the last sandal-making master in Marmaris, is still working at his profession. Twenty years ago, there were 40 professional sandal-makers in town. Olca makes sandals using only the most basic tools at his home in the Marmaris Bazaar, and is now the last master of this profession.

There are not enough tourists visiting Marmaris to support the sandal trade, Olca said. Because domestic tourists stay in the town only for a short time, they do not buy sandals.

Sandal-making was also his father’s profession, Olca said, but he began to make sandals himself only later in life.

“I worked in many different fields until 1987; I worked for Marmaris Municipality as a civil servant. Then I left my job and began to help my father. Although it was my father’s profession, I was not interested in sandal making. I began to make sandals when I did not have anything to do, and I realized I had a talent for it. Now I have been working at my profession for 25 years,” Olca said.

The sandals Olca makes are made of leather and they do not make the wearer’s feet sweat, he said. He uses various textures and styles of ornamentation. His profession requires great patience and effort. It takes a full day to make a pair of high-quality sandals.

Thanks to his regular customers
Many people have been interested in his sandals, Olca said. “I have regular customers who buy my sandals. The fact that I have been doing this work for 25 years is owing to my permanent customers. People who know me visit my workshop, and I have been able to stay in my profession thanks to them.”

Olca pointed out that there will be no one to follow him into the sandal-making trade. “There is no one who really has an interest in this profession. Recently, two people came and said they wanted to do this work. I told them that I could help but they did not come back. This work does not bring in a sufficient income. I can only make two sandals in a day. Although I prepare skins all winter long, I cannot make more than two sandals in a day.”

The most important feature of his sandals is that are they are made according to the individual’s foot size, Olca said. “For example, someone’s foot is size may be 45, but his foot could be very slim. I make sandals according to foot sizes. Generally, women’s shoes are made only up to size 41 or 42, but I make sandals up to size 45.”

Olca’s sandals are made of calf- and lambskin, which he buys in Aydın and Izmir provinces. He makes sandals to order on demand.

Municipality takes action to keep the tradition alive
It has been announced that Marmaris Municipality plans take action to help support the town’s last sandal-making master. The municipality has announced a campaign to encourage people to keep the tradition of making what are known as “Marmaris sandals” alive. Banners advertising the last sandal maker will be hung in the city center, and Olca’s sandals will be promoted at fairs abroad.