Just for Kicks

I’m an artist parent of two teens. Once in a while, this seeps into my work.

I was sitting in the living room one day and when I looked down, it was like a shoe store. Well, a shoe store where a bomb went off! My son is a skater, so there were Vans on the floor. My daughter is what I call a tom-boy/hippie. She rocks the converse and I am a big fan of the Adidas low tops. I remember getting my first pair in the early 80’s and thinking I was the coolest thing in the world. I also LOVED Tretorns but I feel like most people wouldn’t ever recognize those – definitely not as cool anyway!

Every morning I run through the living room cleaning up what I call “The Frat House”. Somehow, I go to bed and when I wake up it looks like a party ensued. There are drinking glasses, ice cream containers, chips, shoes, socks, shirts, jackets, school books….the list goes on. Some days I scream. Some days I pick the stuff up. Some days I pretend I don’t live here. Anyways, on this given day. I was picking up all these black and white sneakers. Being a bit of a weirdo-artist, it struck me how graphic in nature these sneakers are. Big Duh, it’s a billion dollar industry that hires designers to create the ultimate graphic design, but I can’t say I study my kids sneakers every day either. I plopped the sneakers down on the counter. Sketched them out and thought “ornaments”. These might be something my kids would actually like!

I created a template for the shoes. Then I hand-painted each sneaker and carved all the details and stitching. This is where the ornaments almost ceased to exist:

Yes. Yes I did. I spent hours on these ornaments. I made 6 of each design. Then, the cardboard I was using as a tray, buckled and most of the ornaments crumbled to the ground.

I call those my Buddhist moments. The imaginary monk on my shoulder would tell me “It’s not bad or good. It is what it is. This was meant to be… So be it. ” I seriously tell myself this. “Aint no point in getting sad, getting angry or giving up. Just move on. “ Being a bit of a clutz, it’s a good mantra to have. Cuz I”m always breaking something! Needless to say, I recovered pretty quickly and was thankful for the few that survived.

Then there was the whole pottery studio shut-down. These ornaments never got glazed or fired… The little Buddhist monk on my shoulder whispered in my ear and reminded me “Oh well, I guess this aint gonna be.” Perhaps I could salvage them for next Christmas? (Sad trombone sound bwa, bwa, bwa.)

Two weeks later. I got a magic text. The dear woman who runs our pottery studio, dipped the ornaments in clear glaze and fired them for me – on her own time. What an awesome gift. What an awesome friend.

I love them.

Of course my son now wants me to create him a new ornament depicting his new Nike skateboard shoes. They are beige suede with a black swoosh.

But, just then, I could hear the little monk on my shoulder. He whispered in my ear and said:

You know, you’ve created a monster!

There are a few left. You can check them out at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeCreativeMary

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