This project is an extension of a newspaper shoe made for a friend.
A visit to NY challenged me to find the best paper suppliers. At Kate’s Paperie I chose Lama Li Handmade Jazz Fabric Paper in Granite. This flexible paper, from Nepal, has the appearance of leather on one side, fabric on the other and evokes strong animal qualities. Once home, I rediscovered a sheet of handmade marbled paper brought in IL Papiro Florence, 1985. The design aptly called Peacock (or Bouquet) Pattern has browns that intermingle with olive greens, and brought to mind a peahen. With these papers I set out to create a shoe using colour, texture, layer and pattern that had the grace and beauty of a peacock.
The focus is the marbled paper, it’s pattern suggesting contour feathers with fine cuts to emphasise the barbs. Starting with a base made from the Jazz Fabric Paper, layering papers then became integral to the design. By mimicking the layers of feathers on the bird, texture and movement were created.
The intention was to create a heel with tail feathers standing proud and upright, but the prototypes were unsatisfactory and I couldn’t afford mistakes. I settled for a flat design with the magnificent peacock tail built up from different papers including a vintage crepe paper in turquoise bought from Hopkinson 21, Nottingham, to add vibrancy. The result was a tail that was light and flexible. A tail that moved and floated, creating shadows and highlighting colours and textures as it caught in the breeze.