Caroline Groves

Caroline Groves x Anonymous, 2020.

This shoe was made for the Shoes Have Names exhibition in collaboration with Jo Cope and Shelter UK which uses the power of craft to bring awareness to the individuals who face homelessness and eviction each day.

After years of uncertainty, bankruptcy, eviction, navigating bureaucracy and surviving the Snakes and Ladders of Hope and Despair, all that my paired individual desired was a refuge.

These boots represent a home at its most basic, similar to that depicted in naïve domestic samplers. Using simple stitches, the embroidery reflects simple desires – family, dog, furniture – all protected by strong red brick, adorned with a rambling rose decorating the entrance. Precious and Fragile. The linings depict the spiral of decline, somewhat like Alice tumbling into chaos, losing control, conversely interpreted as the never-ending climb out of the abyss.

While the person I am paired with wishes to remain anonymous, the name of her Shelter representative is hidden in the shoe – the silent hand that reached down as she was falling and brought her back out of the dark hole. This is the story of homeless strife. It is also the story of the power of kindness.

Photo by Dan Lowe.

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