Mixed-Media Shoes at CHA

The Art to Creating Mixed-Media Shoes
Like most women, I love shoes.  That passion comes through in my work.

Viva Decor hires me to create a showpiece for their booth at the 2011 Craft and Hobby Trade Show and Conference.  We discuss a few ideas, and decide upon wedding shoes. I love shoes and these are fit for a princess wedding.

I love working in mixed-media and making three-dimensional pieces provide me with the artistic challenge that I crave.  The first step is to create a pattern that is large enough to fit a woman.  While these shoes are about a size six, they are far too narrow for a human foot.  The toe box, had to be narrow to give the shoes a more attractive line.  

Pattern making is trial and error.  I draw my pattern and then copy it to another paper, assembling it from this second paper.  This goes on until the pattern is just the way I want it. 

Water color paper is my favorite material to use when working on a three-dimensional project.  Since I have to stamp on this paper, normal water color paper is not an option.  So, hot-pressed water-color paper is the key.  

With pattern in hand, I cut the pieces from the water-color paper.  Now is the time to stamp and apply ink to the toe box.  This won't be possible after the shoe is assembled. 

Knowing that these shoes need to be sturdy because a polymer clay heel is going to be attached, I glue a piece of flat metal in between the soles of the shoe.  This also gives the shoe added weight so it is more pleasing to hold.

While I can use double stick tape to assemble the shoes,  Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue® (ILoveTOCreate) is always my choice when working three dimensional.   It helps the paper bond and gives it a strong, yet flexible body.  

The heels take a few days to make.  I start with a paper pattern and create the heels in four sections.  The low setting in the toaster oven allows me to use polyester fiberfill to hold the heels so they keep their shape.  The next step is to bond the for pieces together using more clay.  The process of applying clay and baking is a process that takes a few days.  I am applying many layers until I reach the heel thickness that is pleasing to me.

I sand and polish the heels by hand and it is time to apply the Pearl Pens by Viva.  I also use their inks to give the heels more of an Italian, old-world feel.  Viva Decor's glass crystals complete the shoes. 

I create polymer clay and fabric flowers that embellish the shoes and create  bows that embellish the heels.  Knowing that these shoes are going in the mail to Viva Decor and then they are shipping them to CHA, I start to worry about the clay flowers breaking and the bows becoming wrinkled.  So, I decide to attach them with Velcro's new line of thin fasteners.

I photograph the shoes with the embellishments and then remove them for shipping. They are then attached when they get to the show.  

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Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!  

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  1. Gorgeous Carol. It was great to read about the creative process too. I really love the Viva Decor Pearl paints - such a fantastic product!

  2. Thanks so much, Mylene. Hope you are having a great day.

  3. LOVE, these shoes Carol. My daughter-in-law would have loved them for her wedding last April!

  4. Thanks so much, Julie. I would love having these shoes too.

  5. Carol, you have such a wonderful gift of creativity! Wish I was a few decades younger. Can't wear heels anymore! LOL! But would make an absolutely beautiful gift for a special friend or relative.

    Could I post this to my site (including proper links and credits, of course)?

  6. your work 15 very Beautiful.You have excellent perception of color. Classy! It is a little difficult to see the shoes clearly in the beautiful Photos you posted. Might I suggest a a Photo of one shoe from each pair, by itself, so we can see all that beautiful detail you undoubtedly worked so hard on..;) Hope I'm not out of line. I. mean no disrespect...merely a suggestion from one artist to another. thanks for the groovy tutorials & direction. you do beautiful work!

  7. Hi Shannon,

    Thank you for your kind comments. You are not out of line with your request. The mixed-media shoes are no longer in my possession as the client purchased the shoes for their display.

    As artist, we all have our unique way of displaying our work. I understand your desire to have a closer and cleaner look at the work. I just prefer to display my work as I do.

    I do, however, appreciate your constructive suggestion.


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