16th C. Children’s Shoes!

September 29th, 2012

I have to preface this by saying that these are *children’s* shoes, and all the photographs are of said child wearing them. =) My thanks and copyrights on all of these images to Jeremy Tavan, 2012. I had promised the lovely mother of young Master Corwin a pair of shoes for the young gentleman, and I was delighted to be able to finish them within just a short time frame (two days). That included taking measurements for other shoes, chatting with passers-by, and talking about historical shoes at the Much Ado About Sebastopol Renaissance Faire.

Astute observers might note that the grain on this leather seems a bit pronounced – indeed, that is because I had neglected to bring appropriate upper leather, and a lady at the faire was kind enough to provide me with some leather that, although not perfect, did the job quite well. The leather was chrome tanned, so it did not retain the shape of the last as well as it might have were it vegetable tanned, but I really did want to see these complete.

For reference, you might enjoy a size comparison between the small master and his mother:

And, because it’s simply too cute, a demonstration of the size of the last (with my hand as the reference – this is the only shot that is mine, for clarity’s sake). Talk about fitting in the palm of your hand!

Although much of my shoemaking is done at home, if I find myself at faire playing the erstwhile shoemaker, I make sure to bring my shoemaker’s bench, stool, bucket, and toolbox with me. This way, I’m always able to take a commission or do a quick repair (just don’t tell the cobbler’s guild!). Notice the essential “tool” at the far right side of the photo, necessary for getting through a long, hard day!

Fortunately, every now and then, a divine light finds itself in the lowly craftsman’s eye – one of the very few perks of being a shoemaker is assisting even the loveliest of ladies with a lace or a fitting. You can see the evidence for yourself!

Of course, in the end, the customer is the most important person in the transaction, and although there is a bit of room to grow in these, I dare say that they suit the young master quite well.

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