One of the many things taught at Winter Count this year was shoe making in the form of carbatina or ghillies. These are relatively simple shoes notable for their one piece construction and generally involve very little sewing. I am interested in how things are learned and for me, the process is more important than any other aspect. Hopefully, students take away some knowledge that they can apply beyond the class setting and in an afternoon can learn something that they can use for life.
Historical examples vary widely but tend to have a lot of similarity in the complex toe-cap. Shoes are a difficult piece of clothing and protection because the fit is critical and even minor problems with the shoe will impact the feet in a negative way.
The toe cap is formed by strips of leather overlapping which gives flexibility and room for expansion. The simplest forms are one piece but better versions are found with insoles and outer soles to extend the life and create a sturdier shoe.
These were all made from premium oak tanned leather (ca. 8 oz. or 3.2 mm) which proves to be tough to cut but provides a long lasting shoe. It was a great set of students in the classes and I think we ended up with 17 pair of shoes in the end.
An earlier post describing my journey into Ghillies can be found HERE.