13 Apr

The back story

I often get asked when and how I started to draw on shoes.  The timeline around that era is fuzzy in my memory because it was a time of extreme stress, as you are soon to find out.

I’ve been an artist since mid 2015, after a 25 or so year break.  I got  D in design at school and was steered towards more academic subject matter, though I used to spend hours and hours drawing as a teenager.  Before I was a mother, I worked as a lecturer in IT.   My qualifications are post-grad Computing.  I had drawn on my sons shoes before, he likes batman and superhero stuff, so it was a nice way to brighten up a pair of shoes for him and make them unique.  I used to use sharpies but they have a tendency to bleed a little into the fabric, so it’s hard to get a good thin line.

Some time around 2015, I had some faded old Toms that still had loads of wear left in them but had got muddy and tired.  I dyed them black and painted a little dandelion on them with some fabric paint (I think it was) and stuck a little twinkly bit on them.  Way cheaper than a new pair!  I continued to upcycle my own things to save money.

Back at that time in my life I began to be aware that I was being stalked.  Things had been happening that I couldn’t understand but what I did not know was that my son’s father was stalking me.  We were going through the family court system at the time and when the court was presented with the evidence that he was stalking me, they gave him the go-ahead to continue, saying that because of the ongoing proceedings, it was “research”.  The police thought differently though and after several breaches of a restraining order he went to prison, for a very short spell.

In 2015 I was working as a blogger and sometime web designer but because of the stalking I closed down that business and would have been out of work had I not painted a few pairs of shoes as a thank you gift to some amazing people who helped me get through the family court and stalking traumas and get myself and my son to safety.  The amazing Dawn from thinkitchangeit.com (p.s. she also cured me of my bird phobia) had some friends who had seen my work and they wanted pairs too.  She encouraged me to set up an Etsy shop and the rest of the year became busy , particularly around the Christmas period.

While I am painting I am totally involved in what I am doing, so it helped me through this period of extreme stress.  The main way that I am being stalked is online (yes, it’s still happening) and it was so nice to be able to do something a little offline, and something meditative. It’s lovely because I can do it while I spend time with my son, and he gets to see how life works. My techniques and skills have refined with practice and my supplies have expanded.  I work from a tightly organised 3.5*4.5ft area of my living room.

 

 

 

22 Feb

#shoutoutrevolution – Cara Lou Paper Cuts

This week I am introducing Emma from Cara Lou Paper Cuts, a multi-award winning business and artist who hand cuts the most incredible designs out of paper.

Who are you and what do you do? 

I’m Emma, a self-confessed rainbow addict, mandala loving, typography techie. I’m a Paper Artist.  From my home studio, I design and hand cut a range of art, mostly centred around the beauty and symmetry of the Mandala, but also incorporating my love of typography.

I also offer a range of printed designs to enable everyone, of every budget, to enjoy a Cara-Lou piece. After all, I believe everyone should get to experience art.

What inspired you to create your form of art?

My Children, I know it sounds cliche, but 5 years back I found myself in a pickle with my health, and not very much to look forward to, when my children described me as “oh Mummy doesn’t work, she sleeps” I knew it was time to do something drastic, ever the craft lover I discovered Paper Art 2 years later and the rest is history.

Is your artwork physically tough to create?  Do you obtain injuries from all that paper/blade action?

This is a tough one, it can take its toll, I have to schedule in regular rest breaks to prevent me getting pains etc in my rusty old body. But overall I would say no, something I consider to be physically tough is something that’s physically demanding like farming. Touch wood I have been extremely lucky regarding injuries, with the odd minor cut from lack of concentration, other than that I’ve been pretty lucky. I have had a few paper mishaps when the blade slices off an important part of the design, then its time to start all over again, even if its a 20 hour piece and I was 19 hours in, its the luck (or not so luck) of the draw.

Where can I find you on the web?

I’m like a bad penny! I’m everywhere you turn! but if you want to seek me out I’m at the following links:

Website:  http://www.caraloucuts.co.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/caraloucuts
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caraloupapercuts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cara_loucuts
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CaraLouPaperCutsGB (I use Etsy to sell my designs to other Artists)
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD35V5rAY__oMmA-DBbyyTw (I dabble in YouTube occasionally)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cara-lou-paper-cuts-552493141/

What do you like to do when you are not creating?

When I’m not designing or cutting, which, might I add, is rarely, you can find me snuggling my sausage, Frankenstein, the dog or helping to run my Husbands Martial Arts Business! I live in Greater Manchester with my Husband, Craig, aka Chief Brew Maker and My 2 daughters, Katie aka Little Cara-Lou and Kiera aka Littlest Cara-Lou.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have a gorgeous little Pug called Frankenstein, He’s only 10 months old, and is like the little boy I never had. I also own the most beautiful black cat known to mankind, He’s almost 5 and he’s called Fluffy, he’s extremely cuddly and was feral, he lost his mum when he was born on a farm because he doesn’t know how to miaow!

What are your reading at the moment?

I am currently re reading 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult, I have 95% of her books so far and this particular one got me into reading as an adult. It’s a phenomenal book if you can handle her style of writing.

21 Feb

Custom Nikes, Doc Martens, and other lovely stuff

Custom Jordans, custom Nikes, hand painted Doc Martens or even your choice of leather footwear or apparel will make you stand out from the crowd this season with warm and dry toes.

ShoeTattoos can now boast a really decent stack of Angelus brand leather paints which are the very best paints available for leather customisation.

I can paint the leather, midsole, heel tab and bumper. The soles can be done but you’ll need a sole protector if you want the paint to last there.

All designs are my own except for the calf boots, which are fan art taken from a picture by the incredible artist Tom Lewis. He’s absolutely incredible, well worth a click through and browse.

24 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Sue Kerrigan-Harris

So, who is Sue?  Sue Kerrigan-Harris is a pastel portrait artist based in Marchwood in Hampshire which is on the edge of the beautiful New Forest. She specialises in amazing realistic pet portraits and child portraits.  She works from photos and beautifully captures the character and energy of the person or animal she is painting.
Where can I find her? She’s active on Facebook mostly and dabbles with Twitter and Instagram.

How did she become a professional artist?  Sue has honed her skills over 40 years not thinking that a career in art was ever possible, but when she had her son and could no longer run her private tutoring business she started drawing in earnest and sharing on Facebook.  With the huge encouragement of her friends and family she started getting commissions of children.  She was then asked to paint pets so she gave it a go.  Having spent all her life drawing people, she discovered that she could paint pets right off the bat and so begin a budding pet portrait business and also the child portraits – it turns out that people love their pets way more than there children as she gets far more requests for pets!  Haha, that is just a joke, I’m sure that’s not the case.  Our pets are only with us a short time and don’t change how they look whereas our children are changing constantly – I’m sure this has something to do with it.

What is her favourite artbook? Eternal Truths for Every Artist by Harley Brown*.  He’s a renowned pastel artist primarily but also oil.  It’s a delve in and out of book and he says at the start that he wants the book to end up dog eared and full of notes which I love the idea of.  His use of colour and the use of the Munsell Colour system is mesmerising and he has a lot of good tips.  I read it all the time delving in and out of it.  It almost feels like you have Harley in the room with you – you can feel his personality through the book.

*Amazon associates link
22 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Phantom Art Drop

Phantom Art Drop is a beautiful project akin to the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  Rather than dropping notes and acts of kindness, Phantom goes a whole leap further and drops her/his beautiful artwork in a public place with an accompanying handwritten note attached.

The project tickles my soul, and as soon as it stops raining so damned much I am going to join in.  Part of my fear of involvement is a fear that someone will trash my hard work, either binning it or otherwise vandalising it.  It takes a brave soul and a leap of faith to transcend this.

The Phantom Artist’s concept is beautiful, spiritual and heart blossoming.

So, I asked a few questions:

Who are you?  I’m a hopeless idealist. An anonymous artist who believes that through art we can learn to care for each other more. Strengthen the bonds of community and recognize the need for kindness without the want of fanfare.

Where can I find you?  I’m found in the Caribbean. I live a life of sand, sea and sun. In a way it influences my art. The people and the island life, it’s all apart of me and who I am.

On the web:

https://www.instagram.com/phantomartdrop/

https://www.facebook.com/fantomuartdrop/

What made you come up with your unique idea?  I can’t attest to the novelty of the idea but the reason behind it stems from the need to truly make a connection with someone. To reach out and provide both solace and inspiration.

How I’ve chosen to do it simply happened as a result of my skill set. Honestly the ‘what’ and ‘how’ could have been anything so long as the ‘why’ was satisfied.

So the art and the handwritten letters were my means of doing that. And that’s really the point. For each to take what they have as a gift or talent and give that freely to another in an effort to touch their life positively.

How can I join in?  I encourage any and everyone to take up this cause for kindness. I think we live in a time where it’s desperately needed. Love has become so conditional. Favor and kindness are typically only served if reciprocated with attention and adulation.

This is why I remain anonymous. It’s not about who does it but rather; simply; that it’s done for its sake and nothing more. So to join, do a kind thing for someone for no other reason than to see them smile. Using whatever God has given you. The Phantom Art Drop project is a notion of selflessness and giving… One that I hope we all can embody in our own way.

Note- creatives try leaving a random gift out in the open for anyone to receive. I promise it’ll give you a fresh perspective on life. ?

Can you recommend and amazing art book?  Oh wow hmmm, I quite like ‘ The Story of ArtThe story of art‘ by E. H Gombrich*. It outlines how art developed alongside the people it was made for and how it helps shape and transforms civilizations. It forces one to consider just how influential and important art is or can be.

I love the style of the Phantom Artist, what do you think?

*Amazon associates link

02 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Kathy Grillo Design

Happy New Year!

What better time to start on new voyages than the beginning of January.  Last was fairly traumatic (see previous posts) and when I have had life difficulties in the past I’ve always found that instead of getting angry and bitter, if I do random acts of kindness, I get back to the positives much more quickly.

Kathy Grillo is an a artist that I’ve been following on Instagram for a few months now and she dedicates her valuable time to supporting other artists.  I loved this idea so have just joined her #shoutout revolution and will dedicate blog posts here to finding out a bit more about some of the artists that I follow and giving them a little shoutout of my own, right here

So, who is Kathy?

Kathy Hartwig Grillo is a digital artist and illustrator from Michigan specializing  in custom pet portraits.  Working from several photos she paints portraits with attention to detail.

She is very active in the social media art community and can be found on several platforms sharing her Art and doing Live Art Broadcasts

Where can I find her?

Www.facebook.com/kathygrillodesign
Www.twitter.com/kathygrilloart.
Www.instagram.com/kathygrillodesign.
https://www.pscp.tv/kathygrilloart/follow
https://www.youtube.com/user/msryllo


I asked her what gave her the idea to help and encourage other artists?

Recently returning to creating after a 20 year hiatus I have discovered the amazing social media community. Social media is a game changer for creative people as it gives us a platform to share our Art with the world.  As much as I do share and put myself and my art in front of the people I do remember how scary it was when I first decided to do so.

Maybe it is because I am a mother that I found myself naturally reaching out to support those that were bravely showing that creative side.  I quickly learned you get what you give and welcomed answering questions and giving tips, passing along things I have learned along the way.

Then I started getting the solicitations from places offering followers and features for the small price of……..  These companies taking advantage of people who just want to gain an audience and have exposure really ticked me off. So I decided last year to dedicate myself to sharing and feature one artist every day of the year on Instagram. This has naturally  flowed over to other social  media and I have been blessed with some amazing friendships, opportunities like this, and connections around the world.”

It costs me nothing more than a few minutes a day to share wonderful art that will hopefully encourage that artist and also introduce others to the art that is being made.

Finally, can you recommend an amazing art book?

I am reading one right now that is neat.  I just bought it at the Museum book sale.  It’s all about artists, musicians and writers when they were young and just starting out. *

 Here is a selection of her amazing art:

 *Amazon associates link
15 Aug

ShoeTattoos – custom your life

If you are here looking for ShoeDoodles, do not worry – we have just had a little makeover, and hope that you like it.
Shoe Tattoos logo

 

Don’t blend in, stand out! Blaze a trail for others to follow in your new hand painted, custom designed footwear and apparel.  Be sure that nobody else is going to be wearing the same outfit as you, by asking ShoeTattoos to work her magic on your favourite trainers, boots, jacket or bag.  No job is too big or too weird. We like weird, here! But we are rather fond of your furry friends. Pets are good 🙂

We can upcycle your trusty denim jacket or make a pair of leather boots look spectacular.  Have a wedding or special anniversary coming up? Let us save your feet by customising a pair of Converse or Vans to dance the night away in.  Just like to be original? Let the Queen of Shoe Tattoos (awarded by The Royal Connection on October 2017) know your ideas and she will wave her magic brush and make it happen.

Check out what her delighted customers have to say on Facebook and Etsy.Queen of Shoe Tattoos

Want to see what she does? Look upwards and click the Facebook or the Instagram icon, which will whisk you away to her latest projects and inspirations.  Check the Facebook albums, which are categorised for ease of viewing.  A short portfolio is available by clicking the Portfolio tab above.

The FAQ’s above are well worth a read because they contain all the common questions that get asked :p There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

Order directly via Facebook chat, or the order now tab above.  Or order via Etsy, on which platform you can request a custom order or grab one of her one-off hand painted denim jackets.

Keep scrollin’ if you want the Blog…..

03 Aug

Easy ways to enhance your footwear

ShoeDoodles can paint your shoes any which way you’d like.  But have you thought about replacing your bog standard laces with something a bit more feminine?

These Doc Martins looked pretty good once I had finished them.Pop art poppy shoesBut once Satinribbon shoelaces added the final touches, they looked spectacular.

poppy shoes with satin shoelacesI’ve added such laces to several of my projects now and I particularly love the dual colour ones.

Double satin laces on mehndi converseWhen I first saw the laces I was concerned about snagging and wear and tear but I can honestly say that they still all look as good as new.

I really appreciate every sale I get and it helps to make our lives so much easier, as well as the joy I feel when I create something beautiful. Satin ribbon shoelaces is one of my valued customers – we met when I bought some laces from her and she is so helpful.

If you have bought from me and would like me to feature your business, get in touch.

Here are a few more pictures to inspire your lace choices:

 

23 Apr

DresdecO – apparel meets art

If you’ve not already heard of the outstanding indie brand DresdecO you really need to go and have a look. I adore the Lady DresdecO lines, in particular the Couture Shoe Illustration lines.

So it was an honour to collaborate with this great illustrator and innovator and find that his tag line where Apparel meets Art was a perfect fit with my own customised wearable art.

ShoeDoodles only wears what she can be active in, her life and art compliment and reflect each other.  DresdecO promotes movement and the fusion of art and life.

Find DresdecO on facebook, instagram & twitter.

12 Apr

We all love EWE – the breathtaking wedding show

Whoever invented the name Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza is a marketing genius.  Killer name, and it turned out to be an even more spectacular event than I could have imagined.  Over two days my pile of cards and flyers (don’t get me started on the non arrival of my fliers from the printers!) got seriously depleted and I basked in the love of the amazing people visiting my stall.

I was bricking it a little, being a newcomer to the business and a first timer at the wedding fair game.  I’d also had three weeks notice, to invent a reasonable looking stall layout and add some wedding-related shoes to take along.  I needn’t have worried beause the organisers – despite looking a bit over worked – had planned the show with such extreme awesomeness that from my point of view everything ran like clockwork.

Every single exhibitor was amazing, kind, friendly and sold the most incredible stuff you have ever seen! You’d be doing yourself a great favour if you had a look at any category from the show ( exhibitor list here) that you’re interested in – every single product that I saw was original, perfect and insanely desirable.

Every visitor was happy and chatty and I overheard some amazing comments about how EWE is the only wedding show worth going to, and how it is absolutely the best in the whole of the universe since the beginning of time. Or words to that effect.

My most perfect and massive thanks go to Jo, Sassy and Yasmin.  You inspirational, creative and vibrant trio have lifted me from my doldrums and given me hope that I can make ShoeDoodles work for me and Malachi.  I felt so at home amongst the other people there, I was not the only wierdo with funny coloured hair intent on pursuing her dream to make the world a more colourful place.  I’ve got a little tear coming up now.  Sniffle.  Anyway, ladies, you know, thank you. I feel all sheep-ish now *laughing emoticon with tears*.

Here’s some of the great pictures that Jay Emme took of my little part of the spectacular Eclectic Wedding Extragavanza and a selection of Wedding Shoe ideas.

UPDATE: check out the official EWE blog piece here .