Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kick off Your Heels - acceptances!

We are pleased to announce that the following artists shoes have been accepted and will be included in the Kick off Your Heels fundraiser sale!

Frances Holliday Alford - Korean Festival Shoes
Lisa Chin - Marie Antoinette
Hoodie Crescent - Cuddly pumps
Susan Brubaker Knapp - Hope with Wings
Barb Forrister - Peacock High Heels
Marilyn Fromherz -Steampunk Steppers
Terry Grant - I'm wearing my heart on my heels
Desiree Habicht - Forest Fairy Shoes
Leslie Tucker Jenison - Women Fly When Men Aren’t Looking
Lyric Kinard - Dancing to the beat
Heidi Lund - Fall into Glamour
Linda Teddie Minton - Treasure Hunt
Jeannie Moore - Ruby Slippers
Michele Muska - Silent Killer
Pam Poling - Big Red Had A Bubbly Laugh
Yvonne Porcella - Heart Soul
Sabine Schneider - Chess is Breaking my Heart
Carol Sloan - Flying Above The Fray
Virginia Spiegel - Call of the Wild
Natalya Sumner - Walking Through Life's Garden
Victoria Findlay Wolfe - Crazy 4 U

Sue Bleiweiss - Silk Flowers
Jamie Fingal - Heavy Metal Heels

We will be posting details with all the specifics about the sale in a few days.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kick Off Your Heels with Peacock High Heels

Kick Off Your Heels with Peacock High Heels

Hello, my name is Barb Forrister and I am a fiber artist who creates nature scenes. I love birds and peacocks are one of my all time favorites. When Jamie and Sue contacted me about making a pair of shoes to donate, I thought I might carry on with my peacock series and transfer the idea to a pair of heels.  Have to say, I had never done this before and now I am wondering why not?!!!! What a blast and I love the way they turned out. These shoes were created for the Kick Off Your Heels fundraiser to benefit the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California. What a great cause! I have been wanting to try this for some time so I am
happy to be on board. These shoes started off as a black pair of patent leather, designer 5 inch heels by Jessica Simpson. I really wanted them to be wearable so comfort was a big issue in deciding which shoes to start off with plus I loved the cutout of the inner arch. I began by lightly scuffing the shoes with a super fine 400 grit piece of sandpaper to make them amenable for painting. They were painted with white textile paint by ProChem. This stage was definitely not the fun part as it took several coats of paint to cover the black entirely.
Once done, I pencilled in my design. Next, I gave them a wash of Celestial Alchemy interference paint by Stewart Gill. The idea here was to get a very light background color. In retrospect, I should have waited for this stage to pencil in my design as it was somewhat difficult to see once the wash was applied. Next came the fun part; the decorative painting. I used a very fine brush and started painting the feathers with Silks Acrylic Glaze in a delicious array of colors including Ginger Peach, Rich Cobalt, Boysenberry, Mallard Green and Pretty Peridot. Wow, just naming those colors makes my mouth water.
Once the feathers were completely painted, I continued with the peacock's head, crown and back in a variety of Stewart Gill and Setacolor paints. Next, the underside arches of the sole were painted a Venetian Gold color and the heels were embellished with a deep cobalt blue glitter applied with Modge Podge. I have to say, I was reticent about the glitter as it tends to come off and make a mess but this method worked beautifully! Finally, I decided I needed to add a little bit of my own 3 dimensional aspect to these shoes but in a subtle way. After all, I still wanted them to be wearable. Hence a fringed feather was painted and attached to the outside of the top of the heel to complete the shoes. They were then sprayed with several coats of clear gloss protective finish.
Pictured above is my daughter, Julie Forrister modelling the shoes. I love the way these turned out and can't wait to try my hand at a more casual pair. How fun! I am hoping these shoes will find their Cinderella. To see more photos, I invite you to read more about it at . Thank you, Sue and Jamie for giving me a chance to play, have fun and contribute to such a wonderful cause!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Winging It For Women's Heart Health

Carol Sloan here...
I worked as a Registered Nurse for 2 decades.
Most of those years were spent in Neonatal ICU with the preemie babies.
Even though I was a nurse, I was still shocked when I read the statistics on the numbers of deaths related to cardiovascular issues with women.

When Sue and Jamie asked me to donate pair of "art shoes"  to the cause, I jumped in with both feet (sorry, couldn't help it).

It's not only vitally important that we create enough noise to make our voices heard but we must also create a voice of consciousness in order to make this matter important enough for others to direct their energy towards it.
We, as women, have a tremendous power in this world - we just have to learn to come together, to harmonize our voices towards a common goal.
This fund raiser is a great example of working towards that goal.

I have never tried to make a pair of shoes into a piece of art. I recall doodling on my tennis shoes in high school but I wouldn't really call them "a piece of art".

I had been working with plaster and joint compound in my studio, so I decided to try using them on the shoes.

I started out with a pair of black heels from a local second-hand shop.

Hmmm...this shoe looks like it has two heels.
Let's try that again.
Two shoes.
One heel per shoe.
Now that we've established each shoe has only one heel, let's proceed with what I did with them.

I wasn't sure how well joint compound would adhere to the surface so I decided to put the plaster embedded gauze over each shoe first.
I knew that the gauze would adhere to itself so I made sure to overlap the gauze layers.

I cut the gauze into smaller strips in order to wrap it onto the shoe surface.
This is the standard "dip in water and place on surface" plaster embedded gauze.

all covered with plaster gauze

You can see the bumpy surface of the plaster. 

I let this layer dry completely before beginning the next layer.

Enter pirate booty supplies, I mean one of my new favorite art supplies from the hardware store (read husbands' shop) - Joint Compound!
So easy to apply, so aggravating to sand but oh so wonderful to carve!

This is the brand that I used but there are many many more brands
out there in your husbands' shop, I mean at the hardware store.
One kind is pink when wet but dries white. How cool is that?!

Just apply like cake icing!
You can see tiny specks of red paint from another project that I was working on
while this layer dried. No worries - this will be sanded off with the rest of the
uneven areas.

Iced shoes, ready for the next step.
Supplies for the next step.

Oops - forgot a really important one!
The face mask.
Do NOT sand this without a mask!

Just in case you forget who you are...

I sanded the shoes until I was happy with the results.
I didn't sand them completely smooth because I love the uneven areas, especially all the small imperfections.
It makes the surface appear old and gives it a lot of character.

I knew that I wanted to have a carving on the back of the shoe because I just love a wrap around design on that area of a shoe but felt that a heart drawing would not work unless I made the heart really wide and squatty (squaty?) (squat-y?).
I had previously made a thermofax screen to use in my journal/sketchbook from a drawing of a bird wing. I decided to try holding that up to the shoe just to see if I liked the idea.

It was the Perfect Size.

Don't you just love it when that happens!?
Boy, I do.
I used that and flipped the image to make a screen for the opposite wing.

I guess that you are wondering what in the heck I was using the thermofax screen for, huh?
In my "regular" art making I use them for all kinds of things but in this project I am going to use it as a guideline for my carving since I don't trust myself to carve freehand or just draw a realistic bird wing (right and left side) on the back of the shoe.
I didn't take a photo of the image after I screen printed it on the back of the shoe but you can see it here after I carved it (and removed most of the screen printed image) on the back of the shoe.

I had already decided that I wanted some type of carving on the outside front edge of the shoe.
I drew a heart shape with an EKG tracing inside of it after seeing a similar one online.

Okay - all the carving the painting begins.

I made sure that all of the dust from my carving and sanding had been removed from the shoes, as well as any other debris that may be camping out there. I used a moist paper towel to remove the excess compound from the inside, the bottom and the heel of the shoe.

I painted two to three layers of red paint as well as the white accents.

You can tell that this is one of the first layers of paint
because of the areas of transparency next to the heart.

I did use a very small brush to paint the EKG tracing in red.
I allowed each layer to dry completely before painting the next layer.

Look at that deep, dark beautiful red color!

I brushed a layer of Soft Gel over the entire shoe to seal the painted joint compound surface.
When I was satisfied with the paint job, I used watered down Burnt Umber Light fluid acrylic paint to brush over small sections of the shoe (including the carved areas). I quickly wiped off the excess allowing what was left behind to sit (as well as set) in the carved lines, bumps and uneven areas on the shoe.
Its give the shoe a beautiful aged patina.

Pre Burnt Umber Light glaze.
Very white wings.

Post patina wings.
Beautiful aged wings.

An aged heart.
I decided to add a heart on the back of the shoe between the wings.
I created one out of canvas with plaster embedded gauze sandwiched around it. I cut the heart shape out, smeared some joint compound on top of it and then painted it after the compound dried.
I rolled it over my fingers to crack the compound then glazed it with a wash of the watered down Burnt Umber Light paint.

The heart is very flexible and could be sewn if desired.

I felt that the area back here just needed a heart.
A heart with wings.
 All that remained was adhering the heart to the back of each shoe and spraying a finish over them.

I must say - I really enjoyed creating this pair of art shoes! I love, love the way that the shoes turned out.

Here are a few photos of the finished shoes.

"Flying Above The Fray"
I felt that we women could use a little help flying above the grim statics
that we are faced with regarding heart health.
These sassy red shoes could definitely do the trick with that.

Having worked as an ICU nurse for two decades, I am both inspired by and familiar with
the dedication and dogged persistence of healthcare workers.
They would fly through hell as well as high water to help their patients.
I felt that these red shoes could help fly them any where they needed to go.

Thank you Sue and Jamie for putting together this fundraiser. I really do believe that this is a wonderful cause.