Monday, May 23, 2011

Orange Pumps

Osha orange pumps
I made these shoes.  The process was silver and orange waves of highs and lows.  The shoes started out a beautiful mirrored finish.  Tahari pumps, they were both comfortable, solid, and versatile.  I was dismayed when the mirror finish, after a good year of considerable wearing, rubbed off in a pattern tracing my toes.  I looked at this as an opportunity for recreation.
Experimenting with silver and gold leaf in recent projects I was convinced I could recreate the silver shine with leaf paint.  This was a disaster.  The silver leaf was more of a silver swirl than a shiny seamless finish and the sealing lacquer I applied as a top coat turned a puke like yellow.  Just gross.  
Impressed with the overwhelming pops of color swirling through my favorite fashion periodicals I thought of one thing, OSHA orange.  You know what I am talking about, the orange that is used to mark danger and construction guidelines.  What could be more eye catching?  I took the shoes in their silver yellow puke state to Home Depot where I consulted with a portly bearded man that barely looked at the shoes as I described my predicament.  His only word of advise was to sand the finish.  I thought this a little too simple and nontechnical but I trusted his guidance.  
after coat #1 note the dark spot on the left

Approaching the new orange shoe idea with gusto I purchased a hand held sander and removed all of the silver leaf paint (in a cloud of possibly toxic dust) and ruffed up the remaining mirrored finish.  I then took to applying several thin coats of the Osha orange paint.  Let me provide you with a caution: even if you paint on a box or disposable material, spray paint produces a cloud of small paint particles that can drift and paint other, not so closely, surrounding surfaces.  Luckily there was a rain before I started this project so my porch and patio furniture was wet and the orange mist easily washed off.  The first four coats looked good so i left them to dry.  Upon drying the results were less than exciting.  Splotchy, uneven, and generally unwearable.  They were not ready for my intended first wearing.  
painting in the grass.  coat #2

In sunnier weather my favorite spray painting location, the grass, was accessible.  Before giving up I decided to try a few more coats.  I took to applying another four thin coats and allowed the shoes to dry in the sun.  This was the final step needed for a stunning, even coat.  

making friends with orange shoes

Wearing the shoes the first time my toes were a little orange but I felt good.  As intended my creations are eye catching and fantastic.  Unfortunately the paint cracked the first time out.  It kind of looked attractive with the silver showing through the hairline cracks.  I have spray painted vinyl chairs before with much success and no cracking...that may have been a different type of paint.  With the second wearing many of the cracks gave way to chipping.  Still I don’t hate it.  They still grab attention, the silver peaking through almost makes me feel as though Tahari is erupting silver from beneath.  Last wearing I hid some of those cracks under jeans.  Worst case scenario, should this continue to progress to a less attractive state, I still have a sander and half a can of spray paint available for round three!  

wearing the shoes with a "dress" that is actually my aunts Liz Claiborne skirt circa 1980s belted with calvin klein and accessorized with FoundryM 

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