Sculpted Shoes

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

Welcome to The Shoe Bizarre, a whimsical collection of altered and sculpted shoes by the creative minds of middle school and high school students!

This lesson was inspired by the book, Cinderella's Revenge, written by award winning Italian fashion designer Samuel Mazza. This book documents an exhibition organized by Mazza that took place in Florence, Italy in 1993. Mazza invited some of the world's preeminent artists to create shoe-inspired works of arts.

Supply List

(This is an example of what one student's supply list might look like. Students were responsible for creating their own supply lists.)

old shoes

hot glue


paper mâché

acrylic paint

bling (sequins, acrylic gems...)


assorted fabric scraps

assorted collage papers

old computer parts

fairy lights

This lesson started with a visual presentation on unusual and funky adaptations of shoes.

Look at this Google search of "unusual and funky adaptations of shoes." You now have plenty of exciting visuals that will engage the minds of middle school and high school students!

These exciting visuals helped my students see the possibilities of form vs. function and understand that there were no limits on their creative thinking. The book, Cinderella’s Revenge is an incredible resource as well.

Form and Function.

"Form follows function" is the principle that the form art takes should be based upon its intent and purpose. Form and Function will examine this principle as well as any artwork that challenges it.

These sculpted shoes may generate an interesting debate! I needed to give my students permission to walk the line between form and function. Even though they were starting with an object that once served a function, the object no longer was required to function as its original purpose, and in some cases, form overrode function.

I received an amazing donation of used shoes from the thrift store for this art project!

Thank you Unique Thrift Store for your generous donation of used shoes!

! This was the most exciting moment for me. When I finally dumped all the donated used shoes onto the table, my students were excited....really, really, excited!

They were no longer looking at old, dirty, stinky shoes; they saw armatures for unique sculptures. They saw beyond the shoes and envisioned the possibilities..

They were seeing like artists!

Students selected a pair of shoes that inspired them. Some students requested to sculpt more than one pair! Students sketched ideas in their art journals and compiled their own personal lists of supplies they would need to construct their sculptures based on their sketches.

Each student made their own supply list based on their sketch.

The supply lists were really helpful for me because I was able to anticipate what supplies I would need to pull out of the cabinets and closets for next week's art class. I discussed supply lists and sketches with each student before class ended. If there was a supply on their list that I didn't have, we discussed alternatives, OR if the students decided that that supply was absolutely critical in their vision, they would bring that supply to the next art class. In addition to discussing supplies we also discussed design and what sort of armature might be needed in the construction of the sculpture.

After students had sketched their visions, they were ready to take risks.

This is what art class looked like for the next three weeks. I walked around the art room consulting designers and offering technical advice when needed. A lot of the process was trial and error.

An artist must not be scared of failure." Failure is success in progress" Albert Einstein

And then this happened...

Sketches were transformed into sculptures!

This Steampunk heal falls into the category of functional art!

Look at these brilliant designs...

This shoe was inspired by a quote in a movie.

Poetry in motion

These shoes were based on popular fairy tales of dragons and princesses.

Introducing the his and her peacock inspired collection

Desert Shoes

Shoes for a maestro

Students became designers that were challenged to use their imaginations and transform worn-out shoes into fine art. Shoes in this collection can be classified into Schools of Art; Surrealism, Steampunk, Pop-Art, Futurism, and Conceptualism.

These one-of-a kind imaginative creations "put the foot" to conventional concepts of footwear!

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