Like most women, I absolutely love shoes. Sometimes I think the funkier, the better. They are my favorite way to have an icebreaker with a stranger and sometimes I like them better than jewelry as far as accessories are concerned. I always giggle when I watch people react to my shoes. If they stare for a while looking confused, I know I did my part… for something.
The thing is, when it comes to me, I am known for glitter and shoes. Not too shabby as far as ‘things’ to be known for. And the list is long. I am assuming that while you are reading this, many who know me are hollering “Owls,” “Strawberries,” “Cards and confetti,” “CATS,” etc., etc., at their computer screen (or mobile device; hey- I’m a wishful thinker). I am those things as well, people… one entry at a time.
Not too long ago, someone I grew quite fond of passed away. One of my favorite things about this man when seeing him was how he would immediately look to my feet and just get this smile on his face. My favorite silver sequined Toms were one of his latest favorites and he asked what I thought they would look like on him, as well as inquired if they came in his size.
I work as a Seasonal Staff Member for the Cleveland International Film Festival and this gentleman, George Gund III, was one of the Festival’s founding members. To commemorate his life, the festival dedicated the 37th CIFF to George, as well as making our Opening Night Gala a celebration of his life.
Whenever I would hang out with George, one of the things we had in common was our roots to Cleveland. We would discuss the festival and he would ask about new places and things happening in downtown, and would walk me through his memories of things that once stood there. He would tell me tales of his childhood and growing up in Cleveland.
In wanting to pay my own tribute and honor George in my own way, I instantly knew I had to do it with shoes! I called my artist cousin, Ashley Rowland and asked, “Do you think you could hand paint shoes?” Her reply, “Absolutely!”
From there, we got started! I told her what I wanted the shoes to encompass: GG3, CLE, the CIFF, a bit of hockey and anything movie related. She came over and took a snapshot of my dress and got started in picking out paint colors and designing. I sent her photos of George and she sent me back images of the shoes’ progress. And they surpassed what I was hoping for!
She incorporated it all: A film reel wrapping down the front of the shoe, his face with his signature eyebrows on one side, with the Cleveland skyline and the letters “CIFF” on the other. His love for hockey was illustrated on the heel with a set of sticks and pucks.
Just like Christian Louboutin has signature red soles, I have a soul of glitter. Now, don’t get me wrong: I certainly have my moments of being sad, angry or crazed, but I like to cheer up others and sprinkle some goodness on their lives. So when it came to thinking of my sole (or “soul”) Ashley designed them to have blue glitter. And boy, did they sparkle!
These shoes are so stunning and such one-of-a-kinds, just like George himself. It was a delight to do something where I know he would ask me what they would look like on him. And what art they are! I am currently seeking a shelf or photo box frame large enough to display them as art in my apartment. How funky and fun!
Ashley can literally create a masterpiece and true statement pieces for you for any occasion. Think of your wedding! I know customizing shoes is becoming more of a trend, and she can certainly add some flair to make your shoes memorable. These shoes can be displayed with the date of your wedding or names of you and your loved one. Have an anniversary coming up? Or what about a trip? Ashley can work with you and create you your own work of art for your feet.
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