Tabitha Ringwood

Tabitha Ringwood x Kimberley, 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.

‘Making meaningful, personal connections to our surroundings – and the ability to be able to emotionally integrate yourself and your family within unfamiliar surroundings – is no easy feat. My partner for the Shoe Have Names project, Kimberley, is a woman at the centre of her family. She embodies courage and strength whilst moving from property-to-property with limited space, accepting constant change, whilst providing comfort and protection for those who rely upon her. Longing to find ties that connect us to our home, wherever that may be, can feel like a relentless struggle.

Kimberley talks about an excitedness for finally being able to decorate their own space, which is something many of us can relate to. The clothes you wear obtain your smell and your touch, your shoes embody your very being as they also experience the journeys that you take.

By not just helping Kimberley’s family find a home, but by rebuilding a sense of belonging, the significance of the work carried out by Shelter cannot be praised enough. Shelter helped Kimberley’s family to find a place that they could make their own.

Obsessed by the history of things and their personal journeys, I have handcrafted the ‘Kimberley’ shoes out of re-purposed materials from my old sofa; panels unstitched, padding cut, cushioning re-shaped and its surface re-decorated.

This sofa, like they often are for many families, is an integral part of home. The surface of the leather from this sofa tells a story in the wear from its previous users; worn, stretched and shaped over time. This sofa already embodies two different chapters within its lifespan, and I am excited to follow its next journey as an upcycled pair of shoes.’

Photo by Dan Lowe.

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