Last year I was commissioned to transform a pair of orthopaedic shoes; to create something that would enhance not only the shoes but the feelings of limitation and lack of style in having to wear them.
The concept that came to mind instantly was that dreams and imagination free us allowing us to travel limitlessly to realms and wonders, to adventures and mysteries, that are totally unencumbered. Dreams also give us powers and the power to take that dream and act upon it, to follow our dreams and colour our lives.
At first I considered creating covers that dabbled into fantasy creating perhaps an underwater realm or mythical character till I laid out the felt. A delve into the box of delights revealed a piece of handmade felt, (my first). It whispered “Starry, Starry Night”. Oh my! that song popped up and played and replayed as well as bringing up memories of my grandmother who so loved Vincent .
At first tried to work from sketches, and in the end just let it all go and allowed the materials on hand to lead, to be the concept and followed free exploration and expression.
The next “shoe” was still a total enigma. Then another dip into the felt stash turned up a piece of hand painted felt found. It spoke of day, ” A Bright, Sunshiney Day”. Sunshine and Sunflowers. That strong connection to Vincent eluded at this time and it was only well into the project that did that awareness come to attention.
In my imagination I was creating a perfect balance of night and day, of lunar and solar, of emotion and action, of feminine and masculine, of yin and yang, of heaven and earth, as well as alluding to “as above so below, as within so without”. But I now most excitedly and wondrously am aware that a dominant influence would have to be Vincent, peering over my shoulder whispering love for Nature and Her astounding palette and infinite source of inspiration and beauty.
When the shoe covers were finished the impact of what had transpired, dawned. In creating them the message of walking joyfully in balance and harmony with nature, with all that is, had become a visual interpretation of a walk in beauty.
Walking in Beauty is the beautiful, Dine (Navaho ) Blessingway Prayer. When I first read it many years ago it impacted deeply, so deeply it inspires and motivates me daily. The original link I do not know, but this version is similar http://silveropossum.homestead.com/Prayers/index25.html
In Beauty may you walk, with Beauty before, behind, above and below you, and as you walk may birds sing beautifully and may your steps grow lighter and stronger .