I went out with some fellow urban sketchers from Toronto and Kitchener to do some sketches at the Bata Shoe Museum. It was very interesting to see all the different shapes of shoes, read the history behind their design and visually get to walk in other people's shoes. I never realize how much shoes can tell a story before this. I managed to draw four shoes from various parts of the world and various time in history.
The Paduka from India looked very uncomfortable. I can't imaging having these large knobs between your toes and lighting all that weight with your toes. They were used by people in the upper-class.
Lotus feet, which are very small feet that have been prevented from growing through foot binding, used to be a coveted feature on women back in the days in China. The method used for foot binding was a little creepy. Grown adults essentially had baby feet with only one toe. As a results, they needed special shoes and the shoes that were made for these women were very small. It's quite something to see. The shoes were typically designed by the person who wore the shoes. This one was very intricate.
I really like the Apache boots with all the symbols created with beads. They are really works of art. It must have taken quite a bit of time to put together because the beadwork was very intricate. All the colored parts are rows of beads arranged in a way to create various patterns and shapes. These boots look like the most comfortable.
I had 30 minutes left before closing so I decided to drawn something simple : clogs. I always wondered why would people want to wear heavy flat wooden shoes like clogs. I learned that they were created for gardeners for them to smooth the ground after they had sown seeds. The more pointy clogs, with the upturned toe, was used by fishermen. The pointed part was used to catch the net with the shoe to allow the fisherman to use both this hands to repair his fishnet while the show would hold the net. Neat, isn't it?
At the end, we got together to check out each other's drawing. It's one of my favorite thing to do when going sketching with a group. I get to see things that I missed (it's fascinating to see what attract other people's eyes in the same environment), learn about new techniques, new materials, get inspired to try different things, etc. To me, it's one of the major benefit from sketching in group. There's always something to share and something to learn, no matter what your skill level is. This time, I learned about stone paper. I'd never heard of that before. It's paper made out of stone and a bonding agent. The surface is very smooth and the paper is heavier. I'll have to try it at some point. I also saw what kind of pen was good to use on colored paper, which is also something I'd like to play with in the future. All in all, it was a great session.