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Making 'Octo-Shoes'!

My most favourite thing to do in the whole world, is to make shoe commissions for people. I love the creativity of my clients and the challenges that come with creating their vision. 
Last week, a wonderful lady who I met in Whitby asked me to commission a pair of shoes for her so that she could wear them to a ball. But these weren't any ordinary shoes (let's face it, when do I ever do 'ordinary' shoes), they were to be 'Octo-Shoes'!!

Taking inspiration from the Kraken, Steampunk imagery and a dash of Gothic, I went all out on this design and tried some techniques I had never used before in the crafting process. This was a considerably tall order too, because these shoes had a very tight turnaround deadline if they were going to get to the client in time for the Ball! So I stuck on a huuuuge pot of coffee and set about designing them.

I wanted to give the shoes some tentacles coming out of the back of the heel, but finding a secure enough material and method was quite difficult.
I started with a couple of prototypes and tested them by immersing them in water, throwing them across the room and whacking them against the wall (I know, prototype testing is so much fun!). Once I was happy with my chosen method, the next challenge would be to secure them to the foxing of the shoe...this was the toughest part of all!

In terms of the construction of the shoe, first of all I prepared the base using  a mix of muted gold and black. It had almost an ombre style effect which I thought looked really nice. Next I added the trimmings in bronze & gold, fixed eyes onto the toes and adorned the shoes in petrol blue and gold rhinestones which I put into a filigree style design. I had to make the final tentacle construction in the last stages of making the shoes (which took hours and hours so if anything, it took longer to make the tentacles than the shoes themselves!) and lastly, I had to mount the tentacles onto the shoes.

I tried three different methods of getting the tentacles securely onto the foxing. I ended up having to pretty much mix all three together to get a secure enough bond! Even then, I think I could have done more!
I tested them out by doing the walking test on my landing carpet and then, just to be extra sure they were alright, I lifted the shoe by grabbing one tentacle at a time and swinging it above my head in a kind of lasso motion!

I am really pleased with how these turned out and I honestly think I am at another creative evolution point in my shoe crafting...taking things up a notch. I love testing and pushing myself to do more, so this was a really great challenge to complete.
I hope you like then, and thank you so much to Helen for asking me to make this pair for her...you rock!

See you next week, lots of love
Frankie xx