I don’t really know when it started – perhaps it was Alice in Wonderland? But I’ve always had a thing for Mary-Jane shoes. They make me feel grounded, and female and a little bit eccentric. Plus I love the fact that they actually have a name. They’re not shoes, or boots, or runners, they are Mary-Janes.
They have kind of snuck into my psyche on some deep level. When I draw or paint shoes from my imagination on a figure – they are, more often than not Mary-Janes. They make a statement on a painting, that is timeless in some way to me – from girl to woman and everything in between – that figure has lived when she’s wearing Mary-Janes.
These are my latest pair of Mary-Janes. I bought them last year – they were a deep burgundy – almost brown. I loved the shape and the detail, but wasn’t sure about the colour. I would rather they were pillar-box red I suppose, but this was what was on offer from Think! – literally the only shoes I ever wear as we know a wholesaler and they are an indescribably wonderful and comfortable shoe. They sat in my cupboard winking at me from time to time, and saying ‘wear me today?’. Last week I decided I’d give my brand new shoes a make-over. Blasphemy I know, but I’m so thrilled.
I trawled the internet looking for a way to colour up shoes from home with things from my own cupboard. I wanted to make them look like they were old and had been polished ad-infinitum with black in the creases and red on the highlights. Up popped a peculiar chatroom which looked like it was populated by teenage boys interested in motorcross saying things like ‘I’m not a whore I just like it dude’. Strangely fascinating and unnerving. Some young fellow saved my day by discussing how he had changed his boots from Navy to Black by rubbing Metho, followed by scrubbing with a soapy sponge, then using boot polish. Heart in mouth I began. It worked a treat! I wish I could find the chatroom again to thank the kid but that would just be weird wouldn’t it… 😉