I created these clay shoes as a tribute to my deceased mother, using plaster molds of her soles as a cast. They are part of a collaboration with Marilyn R Rosenberg, which involves artist’s books and other artifacts in shoeboxes, with shoe/foot/sole/soul theme. The ceramic shoes were exhibited in Roanoke VA during the 2012 Marginal Arts Festival on a pedestal at an art gallery. My re(a)d/black/white vertical text banner was hung on the wall above the shoes.
Mom was obese the second half of her life, and her shoe size/width steadily increased. Her final downturn came when her femur broke either from sheer stress and/or a fall (we’re not sure which came first, though the fall may have completed the clean break). One can tell from her shoe casts that one sole was wider than the other. She had her a hip replaced and had just completed rehabilitation (both in-hospital and at home- the home care nurses had signed off just the weekend before) when her femur broke just a couple inches below the artificial hip. Only a day or two before it happened, my father and I had taken her to her orthopedic doctor where they’d taken xrays and assured us all was in order… even showed us the xrays, though my mother had been complaining of pain. She bravely made it through three hours plus surgery on her broken leg, and was in the nursing home afterwards at the same time her only remaining sibling was also there, as he was dying from bone cancer (he and my grandparents had been farmers). She again had home care, along with family coming as often as they were able. In the autumn of 2007, she became comatose after a blood clot to her brain (followed by a 2nd one) and never recovered consciousness. She was an R.N. early on in my parents marriage and helped to support the family until my father completed his internship the year I was born. They had ten of us children.