Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning: Embroidered Shoes from the Bata Shoe Museum, 1700-1950

Embroidered shoe
At-home shoes, England, c. 1880. Rasht-work embroidery. The Bata Shoe Museum.


Embroidery is one of the most ancient decorative techniques, found in all aspects of textile and clothing production. The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada, has an outstanding collection of early embroidered shoes. In this illustrated lecture, curator and researcher Edward Maeder will explore examples from the world of European high fashion, including remarkable shoes from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Maeder will also discuss shoes made with ethnographically specific decorative textile techniques, such as Persian “rasht-work.” This type of inlayed wool-work is extensively finished with silk chain-stitch embroidery. Other complex embroidery methods incorporate glass beads, moose-hair and fine gold and silver embroidery on leather, silk and even wool.

About Edward Maeder 

Edward Maeder has been a museum curator and director since 1977, curating exhibitions in Canada and the United States. He specializes in ecclesiastical embroideries and has lectured on the subject of historical dress and textiles around the world. As curator of costumes and textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1979-1994), he curated more than 30 exhibitions and published several books on 18th-century costumes, textiles and embroideries. Maeder grew up with Swiss grandmothers who were expert needlewomen and encouraged him to learn embroidery at the age of three.

How to Participate

You can register for this program online. After you register, we will email you a link and instructions for joining our program online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (11 a.m. EDT). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included. 

Our regular attendees know that Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings typically include a show and tell of textiles brought in by participants. In order to simulate this experience virtually, we invite you to submit high-resolution photographs of pieces from your personal collection that fit our theme. Please send your images to us at [email protected] by Thursday, March 18, to be considered (keeping in mind that we may not be able to accommodate all submissions). Please include information about where your piece was made, its approximate age and any interesting details, and indicate if you would like your name to be mentioned.

About Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings

Collectors and experts discuss textile topics and display examples from their personal holdings. You are invited to submit related pieces to share during the program. This series is named in honor of late Textile Museum trustee emeritus, Harold M. Keshishian. Browse upcoming programs