Shoes! Oh, the possibilities!

The removing of my large shoe mosaic in the North Cape, with the purpose of restoring it, has brought back so many memories. Here is a recap of the process, via photos. And if you were wondering, 1,200 shoes is A LOT of shoes!

When a Shoe Becomes a Home.
Trash washed up on the arctic coastline.
Just Do It!
Shoes collected on one trip to the beach, Vannfjord, North Cape, Norway.
Trash collected from one small beach, with the help of the DNT (Norwegian Hiking Association) and the local church, Turfjord, North Cape, Norway.
After collecting them, the shoes were sorted by colors and types, and stored in our garage. (My husband is a patient man.)
We found plenty of fishing boots.
And a stray flipper.
We all leave a footprint on the planet we call home.
Shoe mosaic in the making in our living room. Did I mention my husband is a patient man?
Shoe mosaic, made of shoes from the beach, and repurposed wood, 2014, Honningsvåg, Norway.
“Second Chances”… giving those grimy fishing boots a new life.
I never would have dreamed old shoes would be such great material for making collages!
From Trash to Art, “North Cape and the Northern Lights.”
“Bird Watching”, Shoe collage.

It is inspiring to look back on the project, from when the wild idea struck, and through the journey that followed. May you never look at an old, grubby shoe the same!

One Step at at Time – Cleaning up the Coast

This shoe mosaic is one of the results of my environmental project, One Step at a Time, that started in 2012.  It has hung outdoors since 2014, under the midnight sun and the northern lights.  Its weathered many storms, and now, 5 years later, it is in need of restoration.

One Step at a Time Environmental Art Project, 1,200 shoes boots and flip-flops removed from the local beaches

As we just took down the artwork for restoration, I have been reminiscing about the start of the entire project.  It has been quite a journey!

Here is where it all started.  Reposted from 2012:

I’m blessed to live in a very beautiful part of the world – in the town of Honningsvåg on the island of Magerøya in the North Cape of Norway.  One of my favorite things to do is go hiking.  Whether I’m with my family, friends or by myself, a hike always lifts my spirits.

Just as the inspiring nature enriches my life, there’s a harsh reality that meets my eyes every time I’m on a hike – Ocean pollution.  The first time my little girl saw the trash- filled shoreline, she said, “It’s sad here, Mommy.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

trash, ocean pollution, norway

At the beginning of 2012 I posed the question:  Ocean pollution: What’s Your Solution?

ocean pollution, debris on shore, nordkapp, norway

My solution to this gigantic problem is to do what I can to positively impact the environment around me.  I know it won’t eliminate the horrendous amounts of floating plastics swirling in the ocean’s currents but it’s a step in the right direction.

So what’s my solution?  I decided to start a project called “One Step at a Time/Ett Skritt om Gangen” with the goal of helping clean up the coastline of the island I call home.  Last year I began finding and photographing shoes when I was out hiking.  I thought the first one was rare and unique:

shoes, ocean pollution, ett skritt om gangen

But then I kept finding more and more shoes and boots:

shoes, norway, ocean pollution

And the concept of Ett Skritt om Gangen/One Step at a Time was born.  I decided that every time I found a shoe I’d take a photo of it, put in my backpack and give it a “new” life – an art installation in the Summer of 2013.  The goal of the art exhibit:  To raise awareness about ocean pollution, as well as funds to help clean up one remote coastline at a time.

You may be wondering if there really are so many shoes decorating Magerøya’s rocky coasts.  And I can tell you that after only four hiking trips I’ve collected over 140 shoes.

shoes, ocean pollution, nordkapp, norway

I have a goal of collecting 1,000 shoes and can’t wait to start creating this installation.  There’s no way I can do this on my own, but hopefully with the help of a lot of local residents that also love this island and enjoy hiking, we’ll be able to reach the goal before winter arrives.

Celebrate the Light

The architectural structure built to house the Sealing Vessel, MS Polstjerna, celebrates the arctic light, casting geometric shadows on the frosted landscape.

The building has been home to the MS Polstjerna since 2005. This Sealing Vessel was built in 1949 and sailed 33 hunting voyages, between 1949 and 1981.

It is a beautiful combination of curves, angles, metal and walls of glass windows.

The Exhibition is under renovation in 2019, but is scheduled to re-open next year.

I am looking forward walking through those doors, but for now, peeking through the windows will have to do.

Inspiring Street Art – Walls of Women

“For centuries, many stories of ground-breaking women scientists, explorers, artists and the like have been overlooked. In Tromsø, Norway, there is not a single sculpture portraying a known woman. WOW Tromsø is committed to telling their stories by making their murals.” – Liv Ragnhild Kjellman, founder of Walls of Women

This mural of Wanny Woldstad (1895-1959), was unveiled in August 2018. Created by artist, Christopher Ide, it explores the complex life of Wanny. Adventurous and bold – she was the first female trapper on Spitsbergen and the first female taxi driver in Tromsø. In addition, she was a writer, a matron (managing several households) and an elegant woman. This painting portrays the many “faces” of Wanny.

According to WOW´s website, more murals are planned for the future. All with the purpose of lifting the women’s achievements. I, for one, am looking forward to showing my children this historic street art, as well as learning more about influential Tromsø women as each artwork is unveiled.

Follow the project on Instagram or Facebook.