Each term can be used to identify a most talented and charming young woman who has been visiting Guthrie from New Zealand for a couple of months. Flora Knight has come to town to learn at the bench of world-renowned bootmaker, Lisa Sorrell, but has found more than she ever imagined.
As a twenty-something, she loves adventure and travel. She has been a professional musician for about 10 years and has traveled in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States performing on her violin. Along the way she developed an interest in making footwear and learned to make shoes and boots; but her true desire was to learn to make COWBOY BOOTS! Not having a proper mentor in New Zealand she turned to the internet and found the instructional videos of Sorrell’s.
A determined woman can only be satisfied with so much long-distance education, however, and soon enough she decided to contact Sorrell directly. Thus began what would be a life altering journey for her and for the people who have had the pleasure of coming into her orbit.
Sorrell doesn’t advertise or recruit for apprentice positions, “I’ve let it develop informally and organically, I’m not putting it out there; but how cool is that - that I get to have a lady from New Zealand come and spend a few months with me in the shop!? I have found that I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. It’s interesting communicating with someone only by email and then inviting them into your shop and your home. So far I have been lucky and all of my apprentices have turned out to be friends.”
Upon her arrival in Guthrie, Knight got to work in the boot shop, Sorrell giving her pointers along the way. Soon enough she wandered a few doors west and found one of her idols, Byron Berline, sitting in his shop. Berline saw her talent immediately, and they quickly made a musical connection. Her days became filled with soul satisfying time learning the finer points of Bootmaking with world-renowned craftswoman, Sorrell, and taking breaks with world-renowned fiddle player, Berline, learning techniques and sharing their mutual love of music.
After a bit, Knight was introduced to other local musicians and bootmaker, Ray Dorwart, and found that her schedule was getting pretty darn full. She began playing live jams in Guthrie and Edmond, making friends wherever she went, her engaging personality drawing people to her like moths to the brightest light bulb.
Flora Knight is a force. She is one of those unique people who can make you feel as though you have known her your entire life. She doesn’t just live her life, she inhabits it, and invites those who are fortunate enough to get to see her living it to join her. She has found a “home” here, the convergence of the things that she loves most. Guthrie would be fortunate to have her creative energy residing here. She’s a young woman, someone’s daughter, sister, friend, a craftswoman, a musician, a traveler, an adventurer, a Kiwi (someone from New Zealand), and someone with whom you should become acquainted.