Lisa Sorrell on training Qiana...


I have had the pleasure of getting to know Qiana Markham very well over the past 18 months. She is my apprentice and my friend. I first me Qiana at the annual meeting for the Honorable Cordwainers’ Company in 2008. I was very impressed with her questions, enthusiasm and desire to learn bookmaking. I knew right away that she was the apprentice that I wanted to train. Over the course of the next few months, we kept in touch and I was able to see her continue to develop her skills. She quickly outgrew the program at Green Country Technology and I knew that with my 20 years experience building custom boots by hand, I could teach her what she needed to know to survive and excel in the craft. I offered her an apprenticeship without hesitation.

Over the past year, Qiana has developed a solid understanding of the construction of a boot and with this she has bravely branded out on her own. She has successfully applied the concepts and skills that I have shown her and combined them with her background in fashion and creative vision to produce some really impressive designs. We have had lots of fun together pushing the limits of traditional bookmaking. Qiana has a positive and inspiring spirit that can enhance any environment. She enjoys the hand work and has the ability to both sketch a pair of shoes and create them. For this reason I feel her true talent is in design. I see her best suited in a position as a footwear designer, where she is researching trends, creating concepts, sketching designs and making patterns or samples.

It is with great confidence and enthusiasm that I recommend Qiana Markham as a footwear designer. I truly see the next phase of growth creatively and professionally happening as a designer. She has an eye for detail, strong understanding of quality construction, remarkable passion for footwear and a clear determination to succeed. Very few shoe designers today gain the skills that Qiana took the time own her own to seek out. She has become an active participant in the small community of boot and shoe makers practicing the craft in the US and it is my hope that she can find an opportunity to bring her vision and skills to the right company.