By Leslie Lindsay
What happens when you pair two sisters who are just as passionate about their art form as their shoes
? Why, SHOE GARDEN, of course! Originally designed as a gift for their younger, shoe-loving sister the project took on a life of it’s own…and has become a colorfully illustrated book perfect for any shoe-lover, shoe store, art teacher…really, the possibilites are endless. Here they are in a recent interview…take it away, Joyce and Brenda! Love this teaser video for ‘When Shoes Can Fly.’ Be sure to check out this cute teaser video, too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NlBkGlZFQ4
LL: Tell us about your book, Shoe Garden & Other Shoe Stories.
Brenda and Joyce: Shoe Garden & Other Shoe Stories is the first book in The Shoe Banter Collection. This children’s book contains four short stories, all about shoes and the places they can take us.
LL: What inspired you to write this book?
Brenda & Joyce: Originally, it was a present for our younger sister Ivy’s 50th birthday, as she loves shoes. Joyce came up with the idea, asked Brenda to write 50 stories and then she illustrated the stories.
LL: Did any special research go into your stories?
Brenda & Joyce: Our “research” is about being aware of shoes in our life and other’s; a) why we choose certain shoes based on purpose, activities, b) notice how they make us feel. We’ve collected unique books about shoes: history, construction, and unique designs. Combining our curiosity about shoes with our observation of shoes and people is what inspired us to develop Shoe Banter.
LL: What led you to choose the theme of ‘shoes’ for your collection?
Brenda & Joyce: We chose shoes, as every shoe has a personality and it can help a person express their attitude in life. This includes their confidence, zaniness, athleticism, insecurities, creativity, happiness and even their age.
LL: What do you hope readers will walk away with?
Brenda & Joyce: We hope that it sparks their imagination and that they feel pure enjoyment from what we created. Additionally, we hope they can use the stories as a lens for how they look at themselves and their lives.
LL: How can we tap into the love of shoes with our kids?
Brenda & Joyce: Embracing shoes and all they represent is a wonderful way to teach children so many aspects of life. With a better understanding of how we all have soles that need to be protected. If we think of our soles as a metaphor for our souls, maybe there would be less bullying, less pre-conceived judgment of character and potential. [image source: http://drshoemom.com/ on 12.10.13]
It’s easy to get comfortable in our own little worlds, but learning to connect with others is a vital component to our humanity. Learning how to relate to others helps us understand ourselves better.
We break it down into 3 subjects: Empathy, Life Decisions, and Life Cycles. Below are lessons & discussions based on these subjects.
1) EMPATHY: Antidote: As the 12-year-old girl watched her mom put on her baby sister’s shoes, she said, “It’s easy to relate to a young child because I was once young, but it’s hard to relate to an older person because I have never been old”. She was thinking of her grandfather who walked very slowly to the grocery store. His shoes were big and clumpy.
Empathy is a valuable lesson for children to learn, yet, the most difficult to grasp.
2) LIFE DECISIONS: Antidote: Brenda was 8 year’s old when her dance instructor said she needed to start taking ballet classes with toe shoes. Though she was very little for her age and toe shoes would make her taller, she felt that she was not meant to be a ballet dancer. But, as a child you tend to “do what your told, or else”. Taking her first class she lasted 5 minutes and started to walk out, but not until she turned to the teacher and exclaimed, “life is too short for this much pain”,and stormed out. Brenda was worried she’d get in trouble, but it turned out her instructor respected how she felt and never pressured her to take ballet classes with toe shoes again.
Life decision’s for children can revolve around shoes and what they can or cannot do in them.
3) LIFE CYCLES: Our shoes take us from our very first steps as we steady ourselves for our life journey. Each path requires a different type of shoe depending on what is required of us or what decisions we choose. The path in shoes; Baby shoes, Party shoes, Sports shoes, School shoes, Boots, High Heels, and Orthopedic shoes.
LL: How can we encourage children to see shoes in a different perspective?
Brenda & Joyce:
- Create a collage from pictures in magazines. Add a person who might wear each shoe; How does the shoe make them feel?
- Take an old shoe; glue, stitch with odd items –inventing a new shoe. What type of person would wear your shoe design? Write a story about it.
- Give a picture of the same shoe to 2 different children. Have them each write a story about the person who would wear it. Show how different they view the same shoe.
- In the morning when you get dressed, the last thing you put on are your shoes. How do you choose; color, patterns, heel size? Will you be sitting all day, walking, or running? Does your choice of shoes effect your feelings or confidence?
- Walk on different type of surfaces, blindfolded, with shoes and without shoes, and feel the difference.
Can you share a bit about the creative process and how you both work together to create stories?
We definitely utilize technology all the time, for communication and developing our work. This includes Skype, conference calls, e-mail, and even Face Time on the iPad. Joyce dives right into her illustration work, often dreaming about ideas that she is compelled to manifest into a piece – in a sense of words – the images ‘come to her.’ For the illustrations, she uses mixed media – pen and ink, with watercolor and fluid acrylics. For my writing, on the other had, I am more of observant, and let my mind wander while creating the stories, with many possibilities of ‘what-if.’
LL: Where can we find the book?
The first book in The Shoe Banter collection, Shoe Garden and other Shoe Stories, is available on Amazon both in eBook and paperback format. Additional books in the collection will be released in the future.
LL: Oh, but wait!! You can also find the book right here. That’s right…I am offering a FREE copy of SHOE BANTER by Joyce Fishman and Brenda Finne to one lucky reader. Here’s what you’ve got to do: (Pick one): 1) Share via email, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email me leslie_lindsay(at)hotmail.com so I know you shared. OR 2) Leave a comment on the blog. Mention your favorite pair of shoes (current, or an old-school pair you may have had as a kid). That’s it!* Good luck!
For more information, including a teacher guide please see: www.shoebanter.com. 10% of book profits benefit www.souls4shoes.com
The fine print: Open to US residents only. Winner selected at random on Friday, December 13th at 5pm CST. Winner will be contacted via email, so be sure to check your junk/spam folder for something from me. Respond promptly with your mailing address. Book will me mailed media rate around December 16th.