Shoes as Storytellers – the Collection
Click on any shoe to load the story
Photography by artist and *Ivaylo Gueorgiev
Inspired by President Biden’s call for empathy, I found myself on a creative journey that involved crafting shoes from glass. Throughout 2021, I developed a process rooted in lost-wax casting and chose the pâte de verre technique. Unlike conventional glass casting methods, this approach grants me greater control and flexibility, resulting in delicate, hollow sculptures rather than hefty, solid forms.
The well-known phrase “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” became the foundation of my project. Casting an entire mile’s worth of shoes would have required over four years to accomplish. To represent this distance metaphorically, I decided that each shoe would be equal to approximately 100 feet, making a collection of 52 shoes.
With the vision for my project solidly in mind, I issued a call for both shoes and the stories associated with them. This project would not have been possible without the support I received from friends, family, and even strangers who learned about the project through our shared connections.
Each shoe in my exhibition tells two narratives. The primary story is that of the individual who generously donated the shoe. As the shoes emerged from the final firing in the kiln, I discovered that they sometimes differed from my initial expectations. I soon realized that the results were exactly what was needed to convey the stories they carried.
The second narrative belongs to the journey I shared with each shoe. Many pairs of shoes patiently waited on my shelves, each holding significance. They represented moments of joy, fond memories, and even loss. They taught me empathy, patience, and perseverance. And one of the biggest lessons for an artist, to embrace and celebrate imperfection.
I invite you to immerse yourself in the stories they tell. Embrace empathy, connect with another’s experiences, and find comfort and healing in something as common as a shoe.
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2023 Sept-Dec Waterworks Visual Art Center, Salisbury NC
2025 Jan/Feb Clear Lake Arts Center, Clear Lake IA
2025 May/June Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center, Hiddenite NC
2025 TBD Toe River Arts Center, Spruce Pine NC
Are you interested in bringing Shoes as Storytellers to your venue? Click here to review the exhibition proposal.
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