Destiny here, thinking about the question of knowing when to stop. When I’m painting or drawing, there comes a point when I know that if I go any farther, the picture won’t get better, it will be worse. In designing shoes, it seems the opposite is true. What we’ve learned is that our shoes work better when we indulge in the joy of taking things “too far.” Case in point: Practically Paisley.
One day I was rooting around in my closet thinking that maybe I should do some shoes for myself for once. I found a pair of open-work cork wedges in my closet that I hadn’t worn in months. I saw the wedge as a potential canvas for some cool design. The upper portion of the shoe itself was plain black, with the open-work “straps” making dark lines against the foot. Maybe if I created a design on the wedge that was reminiscent of Pop Art (bright colors with heavy black outlines), it would combat yet complement the harsh black of the leather.
So I broke out a pencil and began to freehand sketch a floral design. Tulip-like bells, spiraling vines, sharp leaves, dots and teardrops. The design wrapped around the entire shoe. I filled in one color at a time: Pearlescent Magenta flowers, Pearlescent Emerald and Citrine leaves, Sunset Gold leaves, Pearlescent Blue teardrops, and Grape dots as accents. All of these were enclosed with a bold, black outline and set against a Pearlescent Turquoise background.
I was pretty darned satisfied and was ready to stop there. I named them Practically Paisley after the swirling design and immediately emailed pictures to Margot. She loved the design! And a couple weeks later, she approached me about entering my sandals with some other shoes we had collaborated on in the exhibit Art2Wear Accoutrements: The Many Facets of Adornment Exhibition in Ontario,CA.
MY WEDGES? OF COURSE I WOULD! I gave them to her and we started talking about whether my paisley wedges were really finished. The black leather openwork did look a little boring compared to the wonderful design. Margot urged me to go farther with it. I painted the vertical straps Pearlescent Blue. Done? Maybe they need a little something more, Margot said. How about color on the heel? Perfect. I painted them Citrine. Done? Well…. The final touch was a coat of Grape on the insole. Then they were AMAZING! And they are now on display along with five other pairs of Sassy Feet shoes. (So much for doing shoes to wear myself, ha ha.)
When you’re working on your own shoes, think about it this way. If you think you’re going too far, SO WHAT? Have fun with it. Shoes have to be blisteringly bold because they are waaaaaay down there, on your feet. Make ’em seen! Use them as a canvas to SHOWCASE your individual style. Mostly, know when NOT to stop!