Seeing shoes through a different lens

The Humboldt and District Gallery will be showcasing shoes over the next month and a half.

But these are not just any shoes.

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The Gallery will be playing host to the show “It’s a Shoe In,” which features a wide variety of ceramic shoes in the lower gallery until June 22.

“It’s diverse, it’s playful, it plays with a bunch of different mediums and techniques and it really shows off the talent and craftsmanship of the artists and their sense of humour,” noted City of Humboldt cultural programmer Catherine Harrison.

It also provided an opportunity to have a unique exhibit, she says.

“Because it’s 3-D pieces it’s going to be presented in a different way, it’s going to create a different energy in this space and it’ll attract different kinds of artists… we like to surprise people.”

The show features a wide variety of different shoes, with some artists electing to make a shoe in the shape of a bird house, or in the shape of a mule, or a pear, while others elected to do more traditional styles of shoes, with one artist making a pair of six-inch heels.

To signify that those heels are not comfortable to wear, the artist included pieces of glass on the insides.

The show was originally created a little tongue-in-cheek, says exhibit organizer Lorraine Sutter.

“Somebody said ‘oh we’re a shoe-in, we’re SaskTerra, we’ll get in.’ So then we decided okay, let’s call it that and let’s ask for interpretations of shoes.”

The exhibits are created entirely out of clay, says Sutter, who noted artists were allowed to some additives, with artists using flags, shells, and glass on their work, as long as clay dominated the piece.

Heather Smith, presided as the juror over the exhibit, and in a letter submitted to the Humboldt Journal, says she was real impressed with the work, congratulating the artists on responding to the theme with such “verve and dynamic creativity.”

Of course, the work itself was not easy, says Sutter, who notes clay can be a difficult medium to work with.

“Clay is very manipulative so you make the clay do what your original idea was and if it doesn’t work the first time you keep trying. You make the clay do what you want it to do but it won’t always listen,” she says.

Sutter notes that artists go an entire lifetime without knowing everything there is to learn about clay.

Sutter, who entered a couple of pieces into the exhibit, says sometimes the easiest way to work with clay is to start with something else, noting she used cardboard to test her one of her pieces, before using the clay.

“There is kind of a criteria for doing faux pieces… and if you don’t know how your original material works you’re not going to reproduce it in clay. So I first built a shoe out of cardboard and then constructed it with cardboard textured slabs.”

Sutter noted that using cardboard can also be beneficial as a colour tester, noting she was looking for a colour for her shoe, and was able to use various shades of cardboard to test her colours.

“I found that cardboard made by different companies tended to have different shades of beige.”

Sask Terra is a non-profit corporation that supports, develops and promotes works in ceramics by Saskatchewan artists and was founded in 1997.

Today Sask Terra has approximately 30 members.

© Copyright Humboldt Journal


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