Tools for the Trade
Humble, homely and aging….my low rise hiker shoes are a constant companion during my art working day. So humble, they are often not acknowledged, belonging to the less glorious but none-the-less, invaluable tool category that helps to bring art into creation.
Starting my day in the pre-dawn hours, I shake tiny pebbles out of my shoes that may have accumulated in their souls the day before. I then slip them onto my feet, pull their laces tightly, finishing with a quick double knot for each. Rain, shine, mud or ice, We’re ready to go to whatever project calls us. At night we trudge back in from the studio, I pry my faithful companions off my weary feet. I abandon them to the shoe collection area. It is time to give my shoes as well as my weary feet, time to refresh themselves before we repeat our ritual and face another day long adventure together.
Although they are not fashionable like some shoes, mine have evolving cracks and lines; folds and fragments of paint, plaster, concrete and clay, earth and unidentified stains which tell a rich story of many artistic encounters. I treasure this patina of experience, a visual record of an Artrekker’s journey. Artworks in their own right.
I consider my work shoes to be some of my most valuable tools. They ground me, forming the bearable physical connection of my gravity bound body to the planet we stand on. They buffer all manner of obstacles from every possible direction, even cold temperatures. They give me ample warning before they become completely waterlogged, but even then, they cling to me without complaint, only making a cheerful squishing sounds; such compliant and heroic underdogs.
The extent of my appreciation is unfathomable, especially as my shoes age. I realize they are good friends who will eventually fall apart. As a fellow Artrekker noted, all this, and how do I treat them? I walk all over them….Well, not without giving them their moment of fame!