A Stiletto Tale with a Citrus Twist

Hmm… who knew that a  British bookmaker/choreographer, a Business Volunteer for the Arts (BVA) from the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston , and some dried fruit skins would inspire an adventure that dovetails so well with with Wendy Toth’s recent post on pole dancing? Admit it… you are just a teensy bit curious to hear yet another tale from the ever widening intersection of shoes and art

The dance studio in Orvieto

Rosella Fuimi’s dance studio in Palazzo Caravajal-Simoncelli, Orvieto, Italy

Well, to explain I will have to return to when I snagged my fabulous Ferrari boots in Rome. Immediately afterwards, I headed off to a castle in Orvieto to study with Simone Forti. In between sessions of this workshop, I met Janine Harrington, an intriguing choreographer who hails from London. She and I bonded over many “meals” of nutella slathered on toast and have since kept in touch.

Recently, Janine’s creative impulses have prompted her to explore bookmaking. When she popped across the pond for a visit this summer, I thought she might fancy a trip to the Fuller Craft Museum . This hidden treasure in Boston’s southern suburbs is nestled into a picturesque nook overlooking a pond and is surrounded by an ever growing sculpture garden.  Susan Hammond introduced me to it when she became Monkeyhouse’s BVA a few years back. Without her, I might never have ventured down to enjoy their impeccable exhibits.


Marina Dempster's Ebullient, a found shoe festooned with beeswax, pine resin, glass seed beads, and feathers

Imagine my surprise when Janine and I found  The Perfect Fit exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum. With over 120 objects created by artists in America, Canada, and Israel, it challenges and examines the childhood memories, politics, and fetishes associated with all sorts of  shoes.  While most of the fanciful footwear is non-functional, e.g. racks of ceramic stilettos sprouting vegatables, a curious chorus of bronzed baby booties, and a pair of wing tips with vampirish lips, I encourage you to hoof it down to this museum in Brockton, MA (formerly known as “The Shoe Capital of the World”) before January 3, 2010.

Jan Hopkin's stiletto sculpture, Tolerance, crafted out of dried fruit skins

Jan Hopkin's stiletto sculpture, Tolerance, crafted out of dried fruit skins

Even if you are not an avid fan of contemporary craft, Shoetube readers will revel in Wendy Tarlow Kaplan’s curatorial vision (don’t miss her gallery talk on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009, at 1 p.m). For example, after her pole dancing lessons, Wendy Toth would really appreciate Jan Hopkins‘ platforms fashioned from grapefruit and cantaloupe peels. Proclaiming “Judge her when you’ve walked in her shoes”, this sculpture references a bitter controversy surrounding a divorced mom who turned to exotic dancing to support her family.

Ok, this tale has rambled on long enough, but you can read more about my adventure here.


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