Ghillie Making at Winter Count 2014

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.

ghillieHistorical 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.

Marx-Etzel2The 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.

DSCN4029 DSCN4030 DSCN4031 DSCN4033 DSCN4034These 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.

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About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee fiddler...mostly
This entry was posted in primitive technology, sandals, shoemaking, winter count and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ghillie Making at Winter Count 2014

  1. What and were is winter count? Is it a private affair or something for everyone? Just curious. It looks like fun.

  2. kittie blues says:

    Maybe I don’t understand the period samples, but the heal assembly seems….wrong. I would THINK that the heal tab goes inside, then the sides on top. Next I would think that you could sew (or punch) threw all layers, only two if the back is shaped right, to set the seam very flat. Yet I see many examples of recreated shoes with the heal tab outside. Is there a practical reason for the method I don’t see?

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