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Talking Pictures Week 42: Sabots

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

Here we have a pair of wooden shoes called sabots, carved with geometric patterns. Look at the smoothness of the wood and the narrow openings for the wearer’s feet - do you think these shoes would be comfortable?


Sabot clogs were worn by the working class of the 16th -19th centuries. Can you see the little wooden wedges underneath the sole? These elevated the feet, keeping them out of the wet messes at ground level.

The word sabotage means to damage something on purpose and this comes from the sabot shoe. During the years of the Industrial Revolution, workers would destroy machinery with their sabots to protest the cruel and harsh working conditions.

The sharpest sabots in the shed

Can you see the detailed carving in the Spanish school wooden sabots? If you could design your own sabots what would you carve into the surface?

Wild West Sabots

This pair of sabots is inspired by the Wild West. They have throwing stars on the heel that are as sharp as a blade and can slice through anything when expertly tossed. They are decorated with a desert landscape, featuring Mount Sabotage on the toe.

Pick up some pens and paper to imagine your own tailor-made sabot clog.

Would you have them made from wood or fabric? Would they glow in the dark or have wheels on the bottom for a speedy exit?

Whose shoes?

Can you imagine the worker who wore the Spanish school wooden sabots? What do you think their craft was?

Who do you think would wear the Wild West sabots above? A glamorous grandpa? A hairy hound?

Take a look at the following pairs of shoes and think about the wearer. Who can you see in these daycent designs? Grab your pen and paper and dream up an owner for each pair.


Here’s a flip-flop wearing croc! See you next week!


Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Sabots was devised by Annie Forrester

Please share:

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