Vanessa Pequeno was pregnant with her new daughter when she made these shoes for the Living Arts Corporation’s Soul Shoe Project. As a young, working parent-to-be she had a lot on her mind. Her thoughts swam backwards and forwards, from her own childhood, through her present worries and to the future of the life she was bringing into the world.
Vanessa had full awarenenss of the dangers of childhood. She refused to wear rose-colored glasses as she pondered the new life in her belly and so she spent what time she could reflecting, musing and quietly talking to the child inside her. Together, Vanessa and her baby made Soul Shoes.
There is something very real that happens when your thoughts, hands, eyes and heart synchronize on a tiny task of creating something. Something both terrifying and comforting occurs when you enelope your mind with the risks of life, the woundings that life can offer and the breathtaking moments of joy that a lifetime provides. You deepen and gain strength. You trust in your own vulnerabilites. You own your own worthiness. You embrace the light because you do not deny the darkness.
Vanessa wrapped and bound an old pair of slippers in natural fiber and then placed butterflies upon them. Butterflies to reflect the meaning of her name, with wings to uplift herself and a child from negative situations. Wings to fly. Wings for Life. The slippers say so much about the maker, the children that face unimaginable violation and the promise of our tommorrows.
Shortly before she gave birth, Vanessa posted a striking and telling photo of adult feet on a street with a pair of small red little girl’s shoes sitting empty on the pavement. Now the shoes will be filled and both Vanessa’s and her daughter’s life can be celebrated by all of us that understand the depth of love, grief, sorrow and delight in being a mother. Thank you, Vanessa. May there always be diamonds at your daughter’s feet.