Barbara:

Having worked at Vindolanda for over 22 years I have a mixed relationship with the collection of over 5,000 Roman boots and shoes. As Curator and Conservator, it is my job to take the muddy lumps of leather found in the trenches and turn them into museum exhibitions. This can be a tremendous job when they are pulling out 10-15 shoes a day each needing care and attention. But who does not love a shoe? We understand what it is like to have bad shoes. At some point in time in your life you have probably felt that feeling of disappointment when your shoe is no longer fit to wear, and it has to be thrown away. Did the Romans feel the same way about their shoes? I can not help but feel closer to the past by looking at something so human as the Wall of Shoes in the Museum. Big shoes to tiny sandals and boots. We have not changed so much in nearly 2,000 years.

Another passion of mine is crochet. Like many crafters I have a substantial wool/yarn stash and I set myself a target of working through some of it while in lockdown. I thought it was a perfect way to mix the two. Please find here two creations, one a ‘Lepidina’ inspired slipper after the designer slipper found in the Commanding Officer’s Residence and the other a fishnet upper slipper based partly on the baby boot and on the larger fishnet shoes/boots in the collection.