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20th-Jan-2006 01:43 am
sat round with friends this evening and watched a pair of patterns being nailed into place. having been doing much shoe thinking.

(can someone take a foto of them and email it to me so i can insert it ? I foolishly didn't take the camera out. please.)

So rather than talk about Their triumph, let's disscuss what i have noticed and thought. Take for example:

firstly this is about a man and a woman. a long time ago. i think this era is kinda cool, well, mostly cause we don't dress like that now. but they did. and they also knew less than i did, but then knew more about different things. i feel like i am winning on the knowledge base front. When I first look at this i am drawn straight to the glass beads hanging next to the mirror, but as i want to make them .. note them, and more on to more important matters, the shoes!


The guys shoes, above left, are simple slide on affairs, with a multiply tacked leather straps (which are crudely folded along the take line). if u make the picture full size, the wood looks like cork. not only are they shaped to his foot, but the have been carved underneath also. traction? weight? fashion? the womans shoes are a good deal fanicer. being red with little beads all overthem jobs that don't match her outfitt and seem to be covered with fabric. Both are adjustable foot sizing, the first with buckles and the womans pair seems knotted.

I recon you could use old giant cork shoes found at the trendiest Op shops as these would have the perfect amount of cork for the soles of the mans shoe, and make it super comfy! (better than straight wood!)

and in a surprisingly bold Maneuver (i always liked that word) doushkasmum saves me a great deal of anxiety and asks me before i got a chance to ask her.
20th-Jan-2006 04:50 am (UTC)
I'm thinking that the patterns ("men's shoes") are slipped on over the "women's shoes" when used outside so that they don't get destroyed by mud and puddles. They look like they're meant for each other. The wood looks like maple or somehing similar.
25th-Jan-2006 05:59 am (UTC)
I agree. I'd be more inclined to think maple than cork. Where does cork come from? I thought it was maybe South American, which would make it impossible for this period. I could be on crack though. And the dark colour at the bottom of the pattens, I'm thinking that's mud, not traction carving :) Though why they have heels is beyond me... Seems like that would make them sink faster. Unless of course it's to prevent suction from building up, which is also a problem in mud. Someone at Pennsic was talking to me about a special design to their pattens so they would release from the mud and I can't remember what it was, but I do remember that it is sometimes a problem and something to consider.

Also, rather than having a women's shoe inside men's shoe theory, I'm thinking maybe outdoor shoe/indoor shoe? No underfloor heating, so you'd want your feet lifted off the ground, but you wouldn't want to be tracking all that yuck in from outside. Also, in Italy there is a tradition of women wearing platform shoes to be taller and more attractive. Venetian courtesans often wore them, "chopins" I think they are called. Try looking that up.
26th-Jan-2006 12:14 am (UTC) - corkly shoes
Okey dokey,

Funnily enough, this is a period I have a bit of interest in (yes, I wasn't always viking) and I seem to remember that in the Mills & Boon publication (yes really) Costume in Late Gothic Europe (if you can ever find a copy it is GOLD), said that they used cork for shoes in this period from Spanish cork plantations. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the book any more, so I can't give you the exact ref.

The funny thing is that apart from the venetian chopine extravaganza, heels were worn by manly men. I think it is mud on the bottom, and that the issue with mud sticking is why the part under the instep is cut away to lessen the suction from the mud.

I do think the red slippers are girly, based on the fact that he is wearing dark shoes already. Plus this is the right shape for girly slippers on the occasional shoes that you can see a little later. Of course maybe he has girly taste in indoor shoes. Chopines do not come into fashion for another nearly hundred years, and then they are not adopted by the Flemish folk (in fact I'm not aware of them even being used elsewhere in italy other than venice), so I'm gonna pass on that theory.

anyway, that's my thoughts...

26th-Jan-2006 01:27 am (UTC) - Re: corkly shoes
Okay, I think we maybe mean the same things here but have got a misunderstanding. I wasn't really implying sex, sui did and I just used that rather than "woody" and "red" which I could have also used. I do think the red shoes look kinda girly, but then renaissance men wore tights, so I didn't really want to make a judgment. I was just thinking "woody" shoes were outdoor shoes and "red" shoes were for indoors. Someone else suggested wearing the red shoes inside the woody shoes and that just didn't work for me at all.

However, now I'm a bit intruiged with the girl/guy shoe issue. Weren't pattens unisex? I mean, it doesn't matter what sex you are, you still don't want to ruin pretty fabric and expensive footwear in mud right?

As for the "indoor" shoes. I didn't really picture them like modern sandals, I was thinking more like the indoor version of pattens. So you come inside, take off the pattens, slip those on, leaving the leather still on your feet. Am I off-base? Are those really just like modern thongs? Meant to be worn on bare feet or over stockings?

As for chopines (thanks for the spelling correction) I wasn't thinking those were chopines, but rather a convergent evolution related kind of thing. I don't think they were inspired by, or lead to or in any way related to chopines except that they may have served the same purpose (like bat wings vs bird wings). They aren't completely flush to the floor or what I would call "thin soled" and they would raise you up 1 or 2 cm, so I was just trying to guess as to why one would want to be raised when indoors (assuming they are indoor footwear). Either to get away from radiant cold or maybe to look taller was all I could come up with. So I was thinking maybe looking at the history of chopines, like where and why they started before they got all silly and extreme, might give you an idea as to the original purpose. Kinda like how early corsetry works more like a modern bra, smoothing and keeping things stable rather than the extreme Victorian incarnation that horribly disfigured and restricted. I totally don't think those are chopines. I didn't make that clear though.

However, as to your comment about Flemish folk... maybe it's just me, but Arnolfini always struck me as a more Italian kind of name. Which totally explains why I was thinking of chopines. I forgot that little detail that while both the gentleman and his wife are presumably Italian, that they lived most of their lives in Bruges, and thus would be dressing in local, not Italian, styles - my bad.
26th-Jan-2006 03:03 am (UTC) - Re: corkly shoes

After having re-read my post - sorry if I came across as a bit authoritarian, I was just trying to give some resources for debate. Hm. tact is so not my strong point.

I agree completely that the red leather ones look like indoor shoes. Could be guys, could be girls, I'm voting girls purely on some other stuff I've seen. Pattens are unisex in theory, but I have seen that softer less pointed ones tend to be a bit more represented in depictions of girls. WISH I could find that darn book, cos I know it discusses this portrait/idea...

Are they a precursor/evolutionary step to chopines, yeah I reckon you are definately on the right track there. As both were to keep your frock out of the muc and venice probably has more than its fair share I'd vote that way.

I think your theory on keeping your feet warm by putting an insulating layer on the bottom is fantastic. I haven't heard that one before, and it would make so much sense.

You know - I had completely forgotten that they were an Italian couple, just because I so associate them with the Flemish painting style. It gets even more daft when I remember that half the reason I took the SCA name I did was because there were so many italian traders in Flanders, and I didn't want a Flemish name... Talk about a D'OH moment!

And I checked out your page, and that tablet weaving is to die for!
26th-Jan-2006 08:23 am (UTC) - Re: corkly shoes
After having re-read my post - sorry if I came across as a bit authoritarian, I was just trying to give some resources for debate. Hm. tact is so not my strong point.

No worries! It is soooo not my strong point either. No harm, no foul. I didn't take it that way at all and welcome the intellectual debate.

Additionally, this is not a place or period I know anything about, I just like to play the conjecture game. And finding someone who does know something about it is always interesting. I may not ever use the information, but I like to play sponge and soak it all up :)

As for the actual theories, I would love to add more to this, but it's going to have to wait a few days as I have a writing assignment due after the weekend that I really must get on. But after that I would love to continue the discussion, and heck, if you want to get into viking stuff with me I'd be even more appreciative (having just joined a viking household and I have nothing to wear).
25th-Jan-2006 06:02 am (UTC)
About the beads, you're looking at a paternoster. Many in this period were made of amber rather than glass, so those may be glass. There's a paternoster group on Yahoo that I just joined that has a lot of nice, detailed images of this and other paternosters of the period if you're thinking of trying to make one.
25th-Jan-2006 06:03 am (UTC)
erk, may be amber rather than glass I was trying to say. Though if you want to conjecture glass, I'm sure you could get away with it.
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