Paula Chambers is an artist, academic and arts educator. Her academic interests are grounded in feminism, exploring ideas around disrupted domesticity, home as an internal exile, and the potential for domestic objects; furniture with memories, to subvert, upset, and deconstruct traditional understandings of women’s relationship to home.
Feminist Escape Route is an ongoing series of works that materialise concerns around women’s relationship to the spaces and objects of home. This work, Attempt No.13, explores ideas around hand crafted making, femininity and women’s story telling. When making this work, I was thinking about princess slippers, the drudgery of Cinderella and her endless chores, the untimely end of the wicked witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, and the transformative potential of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. I was thinking about shoe collections and shoe fetishes, about indoor shoes and outdoor shoes, about comfortable shoes and uncomfortable shoes, and ultimately about the deformation of women’s feet after a lifetime spent wearing high heels. As I was making this particular work I wondered what kind of shoes, or footwear, might be the most appropriate to wear when running away from home, and adversely, what kind of footwear might be the most inappropriate.
“This is a work about femininity and craft and fairy tales and shoes and class. Handmade felt slippers cast on my own feet, copper pigments bleeding from wooden lasts.”