Wear someone else’s shoes for the day, what does it feel like? What happens when you are walking?
We invited you to take a favourite pair of shoes and share stories with your family, reflecting on the journeys you and others have travelled on foot, then design a shoe mandala. So many shoes!
In Other People’s Shoes Mandala, East Tilbury
This was a very powerful shoe mandala at the Bata Memorial in East Tilbury, designed by Sally Chinea and Sarah Doyle. There were 81 pairs of black shoes that commemorated the men, women and children from Bata families whose lives were lost, alongside stories written by 90 pupils from East Tilbury Primary.
Visiting writer, Sadie Hasler, took part, sharing postcards of abandoned shoes that she has collected over 8 years.
Writer Sadie Hasler talks about her experience helping to make this Mandala about shoes.
Shoe Mandala. Having a clear out and a sort out. We thought about the journey we have each had over the years in various different shoes. We remembered the journey of loved ones who are no longer with us and how we wish we could walk in their shoes but most importantly walk alongside them even if just for a moment.
Harry is wearing his Dad’s shoes. He is thinking that it would be great to be Daddy and walk in his shoes for a day. His hair makes him hot but Daddy’s is really short, Daddy has power and tells people what to do and he gets to do whatever he wants. He works hard but has lots of money to buy toys. Daddy is funny and he looks after him.
Here is Jessica she says “When I feel sad and don’t think I’m very good at something I dance because it makes me feel better and Miss Jacqui Everitt my dance teacher tells me I can do anything” Harry is wearing his tap shoes and told me “During lockdown people are not able to do anything and lots are going to hospital and can’t even move. I am lucky because I still get to zoom and dance with my friends and that makes me really happy!)
Here are my beautiful Nanny’s shoes who passed away 5 weeks ago. If I could walk in anyone’s shoes it would most definitely be hers. She lived for 90 years, some were extremely hard but most were a joy and she did them all with a smile on her face. She lived through the war and was not only evacuated and taken away from her parents at the age of 8 but she had to look after her siblings too (one as young as 4!).
She was an amazing seamstress and dedicated her working life to share her skills with adults and children many with special needs. Even when retired she came into our school to teach everyone sewing and went on to run a community needlework group until she was 89! Many of her quilts remind me of Mandalas. She was and will always be my best friend, my role model and my inspiration.
In Other People’s Shoes Mandala by Alexandra Godfree Flemmings
Shoe mandala. Thinking about the passage of time, growth, and the journeys we take to protect those we love. I liked how it felt like we were encircling the kids. But also poignant knowing the time will come for them to take their steps outside of the circle.
In Other People’s Shoes Mandala by Nell Edwards
Walking in your shoes. This shoe journey was a vegan journey, finding my way to animal free products.
In Other People’s Shoes Mandala by Liz Moynihan
I’ve been thinking about shoes and how I’ve absolutely hated shoe shopping ever since childhood, due to having large feet and a sensible mother. It can still render me tearful and upset. I’ve arranged my shoes with the ones I like and wear as the spokes. Those round the outside I wear only if I have to. My walking boots and trainers are central to my life now.
In Other People’s Shoes Mandala by Stephen Green and Lesley Robinson
I started making a mandala of just my shoes, at the same time Stephen made a mandala with his. The colour difference was very noticeable: his are all greys or dark colours, mine were very bright. I then combined the two sets of shoes.
The boot in the centre is an old one that is now planted with a succulent plant and is usually on the back doorstep. As not all the shoes would fit into the design some had to “walk away” down the garden. My birthday was 2 weeks after lockdown started so Stephen went onto the website of my favourite shoe shop and bought me the lovely bright pink boots.
Thurrock 100 would like to extend a huge thank you to its funders and delivery partners.