Sunday, October 30, 2011

An SCA Field Garb Interpretation of Leather Curled-Toe Ankle Shoes (part 1)

Hi Everybody,

This update is about shoes.  I've recently come across the work of Dr. Andre J. Veldmeijer for the Ancient Egyptian Footwear Project.  Dr. Veldmeijer is currently working on a second PhD.  This one is focused on ancient Egyptian footwear.  I'm quite impressed by that.  Here's why.  The study of a single type of clothing from a specific culture from antiquity is a very narrow field of study.  I'm not aware of anyone else who has attempted to master this specific discipline.  He and his colleagues have categorized the types of footwear used in ancient Egypt by materials, construction, and apparent use.  He has published peer reviewed journal articles on eighteen types of footwear so far.  I have not had the opportunity to read all to of these articles.  The articles I have read covered such things as materials used, construction methods, wear patterns, and analysis of possible use.  They appeared to address every extant example of the footwear type under consideration.  I consider them to be quite thorough analyses of physical evidence.

As I said, I haven't been able to read all of Dr. Veldmeijer's articles.  This is because of budget issues.  In fact budget issues played a major role in my entire decision making process.  The process went something like this:  Q. which articles can I access on my budget?  A. the ones I can find online for free.  Q. what materials do I have access to for this project?  A. mostly just scraps from old projects and stuff I can get in trade.  Q. do my available materials match any of the materials lists from the articles I've been able to access?  A. yes, three of them.  Q. are any of those three a closed shoe, and there fore appropriate for wear during January in the American Rocky Mountains?  A. only one of them.

So for the past two months I've been making the one type of shoe I had materials for; Curled-Toe Ankle Shoes.  I should probably clarify that I am not trying to make a museum worthy replica of an extant piece.  I am trying follow Dr. Veldmeijer's work onto a next step.  My method in this effort starts with crafting shoes based on the crafting methods described in the article.  Then after crafting I plan to analyze my experience wearing them to see if my experience correlates with the wear patterns and usage analysis from the article.  I'm hoping that this might give me some small insight into the minds of ancient Egyptian craftsmen and their customers.

Pictures of the project and notes on construction will follow once I've got them uploaded.  That will be part 2.