“My inspiration for this series of work started with the discovery of my first baby shoe, from 1951, which my late mother had kept safe. It was well worn and still bore rust marks from the nails. I never did ask her what happened to the other one. (Some people would put one of their baby’s shoes in the roof space of their home for good luck.)
I became fascinated with various customs and traditions associated with footwear, and the fact that the shoe or boot is the only garment which really retains the shape or imprint of the wearer. It is therefore presumed to contain the essence, spirit and personality of the person who wore it.
Shoes have been seen as symbols of authority, linked with fertility, associated with good luck and can represent the person who wore them. A well worn shoe or boot has often been used in previous centuries as an apotropaic device and been concealed in the fabric of a building during its construction, to avert evil influences away from those dwelling or working there in the future. An example of this is the boot in my etching ’19 South Street’ which was found with a similar well worn boot in a chimney breast in a house in Derby, when the house was being altered.”