This weeks Museum Monday lucky number is 734! One of the most common questions people ask me, is, 'Where do I find the pieces in your collection?' Simply put, some are donated, and I do have good connections with textile dealers, but for the most part, I scour and scour for them~ of coarse it helps to be able to tell what something is when its crumpled up in a corner or in the bottom of a box, as was case with these little shoes. They were not looking their best, but I was over the moon when I found them. (above)
The sole's shape helps in dating early shoes immensely~ the wide throat and stocky heel, along with lightly rounded toe put this shoe firmly in the mid 18th century. The channel cut in the heel to stitch the tiny spring heel above it can clearly be seen, as well the last marks. A decorative tooled line is all that defines the heel from the sole.
The thin leather is quite dry and has torn like paper from the stress of being crushed under who knows what was on top of them in their old junk box.
While I do some conservation and repair her at the Museum, I tend to always tread on the side of less is more, especially with fragile objects such as these.
This is same shoe as in the picture above, after just a kind and gentle coaxing of the leather back into shape using a stuffing of inert poly. I stuff all of my shoes this way~ making a form with poly stuffing, and inserting that into a bit of nylon hose~ the hose keeps the stuffing contained and will not catch on the inside of the shoe, making it easy to remove. A simple string tie drawn thru the latchets and tied into a bow brings the shoe back to its original shape. The tear is still there, left fully untreated, but much less noticeable now.
They look so much happier now!
Careful placement for display or photographs has brought a crumpled little pair of shoes no one cared about, back to life for us to enjoy and study. The fact they are 'damaged' never plays a role in my weighing their value...if anything, damaged pieces can provide details and clues to how they were made much better than the same in pristine condition.
The Lady's Repository Museum is a privately owned museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of unique early American fashions of both women and children, the later being a specialty.
All proceeds from Diamond K Folk Art sales (antique reproduction Folk Art, Dolls & hooked rugs) directly support the Museum, of which can be found on ETSY, eBay and the DKFA Blog~ please see the links on the sidebar. You can also mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org