I have finally started doing some practical work after starting my sketchbooks. I am beginning to progress my kiln cast shoe/foot idea. I envisage a kiln cast clear glass sculpture of a shoe (unsure what type yet), with a footprint inside. The footprint will be instead of the flat inner-sole and this will represent the inner and outer personality of the person wearing the shoe. With the transparent qualities of the clear glass, the viewer will be able to see the footprint through the shoe in a way they couldn’t ordinarily. I came up with this idea after thinking about how different people look when they are sat in a car with the door shut and with it open. It is like seeing the inner workings of a machine which also looks very different on the outside.
This idea then progressed as I began my initial visual research and also had a conversation with the plaster technician, Mark Bath. He suggested that I find a very large shoe and a very small foot to begin testing out how this piece could be made, and as this will be the first time I have attempted the lost wax kiln casting process, I will take his advice where given! With this in mind, I began some visual research and came across children’s feet inside adults shoes. This provoked another strand of thought about how we grow up too quickly and how children always want to be adults. There were a couple of images which I liked in particular showing a girls foot inside women’s open-toed, glamorous high-heeled dress shoes. In the photos the child’s foot was towards the front of the shoe which conceptually suggested to me that the child has raced ahead in growing up, whereas in my idea, I will have the foot towards the back with room to grow into the big shoes!
I decided to go to local charity shops to buy shoes to cast moulds from. This is partly for the history of the shoe, as it previously belonged to someone else and shows their personality, and partly for the reduced price of high street stores with new shoes! I have started off with a “Court shoe” style which has a very wide opening and only really covers the toes and the back of the heel in terms of holding the foot in place. This means that I will be able to get a foot in and out of the shoe easily for casting.
I will be casting Holly Harkin’s foot/feet for the early stages of my work as a starting point as she has small feet. The shoe I bought is a size 9 which is perfect for what I am doing. Unfortunatley the shoe isn’t quite wide enough to has a great enough thickness of glass between the outside of the shoe and the outside of the foot and so the plan is to cast the shoe but divide it in two and widen it slightly.
Step 1 – fill the shoe with plaster to make it a solid form from which we can cast and extend to give us the basis of the shoe mould. I have completed this step today with Mark’s help. I need to get back to the sketchbook and draw out my idea and include the photos of the process we took to achieve the understanding and plans we now have.