Selection From the Collection: Spring Shoe

Wendy Wallin Malinow, Spring Shoe, 1998
2.5″H x 4″W x 10.5″L
polymer clay, telephone wire

It’s Fashion Week here in New York.  Move over, Manolo Blahnik, there’s a new shoe designer in town!
And she doesn’t design fashionable footwear merely to impress the Neiman Marcus crowd or the audience for the next Sex and the City movie. Her goals are a lot loftier. This gal’s got a museum mentality and produces one-of-a-kind treasures that you’ll never see coming off the assembly line of a leather goods factory.

Wendy writes about her interest in shoes:

“I have always loved shoes and wanted to tweak the subject a bit.  My shoes are unwearable and they explore different concepts from spring to fertility.”

Wendy’s life-size “Spring Shoe” slipper has vines and leaves decorating the upper vamp.  A closer look at the “dirt” sole reveals grass sprouts of telephone wire and an emerging worm. The heel is a  faux robin’s egg.  Wendy hand-sculpted her fashion statement and finished the bottom of the sole with bug carvings, back filled with contrasting colored polymer.

Wendy comments:

“Spring is a time of regeneration.  I always have a hard time with winter’s short days and lack of light, so spring is the promise of light and lighter moods.  However, anyone who gardens, knows there is a dark side too – bugs, rot and other things lurk below the beautiful, tender, new sprouts.  I wanted to show that side, too.

Spring Shoe was originally made for the “8 x 10 in Polymer Clay” exhibit, curated by Elise Winters in 1999.  It went on to also be featured in the City Museum’s show: “The Really Big Shoe” show in 2000, St. Louis, Missouri.  It was also received honorable mention at the Oregon College of Art & Craft’s Bienniel, 2001, Portland, Oregon.

It’s still one of my favorites.  The snail and worm still surprise people and get interesting reactions.”

I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't interested in looking at art, talking about art and the making of art. In 1990 I earned a Phd in art history at the University of Maryland. My first experiences with polymer clay were in 1992, but I consider my real work with the medium to date from 1999.