Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The making of silk flowers

Sue Bleiweiss here...

My original vision for these shoes was something completely different from where I ended up with them.   About midway through the process of working with my first idea I decided it just wasn't working so I put the shoes away for a couple of days and then started again.  Here's a look at the process I went through and how I ended up where I did with them...

I should first tell you that my original vision was to create a pair of "shoe trees".  I wanted to create a pair of shoes that looked like the trunks of trees with a hollow inside that I had planned to fill.  So I went out and bought a really ugly pair of turqoise heels from the clearance rack at Target and painted them with some black gesso:

 Then I added some cylinders made from rolled Timtex and covered the entire shoe in strips of silk and gesso.  Sort of like paper mache only with strips of silk and gesso instead of strips of paper and paste.

They sat on my work table for a couple of weeks and each time I looked at them I just wasn't feeling very happy with what I saw.  The next step was to paint them to look like tree trunks but I just wasn't feeling it.  So I decided to start again and ripped off everything I did and began again.

I started this time by covering the entire shoe with strips of silk and white gesso and then once that was dry I painted them black and dabbed on some turquoise paint.

Then I added several layers of paint using colors like metallic rust, bronze and copper.

Each layer I added contributed more depth and richness to the final layer.  Once they were dry I added the flowers and leaves which I made from some painted silk.

  The flowers were cut using my Sizzix die cutter and the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die.

 The leaves I cut using my Accuquilt and the leaf shape is from the Round Flower die.

The centers of the flowers are metal flowers that I found in the jewelry department of the craft store.  I hope you enjoyed seeing how I created my shoes "silk flowers"!


  1. Hi Sue,

    I had planned to do a shoe tree for a challenge we are having in our art group...never did get it done but had planned to use several pair of shoes and glue them together standing up one on the other (sort of) so they were stacked to become a tree...then paint and embellish to look like tree bark...with little animals in the cavities and some brass tree limbs on top with leave coming off them...Love your shoes...what a worthy cause. Good luck...

  2. Love these!They're full of character!

  3. These are simply gorgeous Sue. I just love the colour and the amazing texture. To be honest, I'd love to wear those shoes. I LOVE SHOES!!!