This is a link to Becky Papp, podcast. She is interviewing (signed...bkm,) Barbara MacKenzie. I think you will like this, and Barbara talks about the Red Shoe artists book project. She also reads some of her poetry, which is so beautiful!
A Small Stone
The dark night is
Sometimes an endless road
Pain fills my right leg like sand
Filling the lower half of an hourglass
At last I am forced to move
Alas turning and tossing
This is the latest painting for the Red Shoe artists book project.
The Red Shoes
I stand in the ring
In the dead city
And tie on the red shoes
They are not mine,
They are not mine,
They are my mother's
Her mother's before,
Handed down like an heirloom
But hidden like shameful letters.
The red shoes are a symbol of creativity for women and our legacy. It is this legacy that the Red Shoes artists book project addresses. And it is this legacy that contemporary women do not know or have forgotten.
Women today are able to grasp the pen, hold the brush, sing and dance because of the women who went before, who struggled in isolation, which felt like illness -- alienation, that felt like madness -- obscurity, that felt like paralysis to overcome the anxiety of authorship that was endemic to their literary and creative subculture.
I have asked sixteen artists to join me in The Red Shoe project. The writings of these women are diverse in language, style, approach and form. They each seem to be remaking, renewing, renaming, re-experiencing and recasting old ideas about the Red Shoes.
"Women are writing wonderfully exciting, approachable, rich, funny and moving poetry (and prose) that can speak to a wider readership that it usually gets. Women are writing much of the best poetry being written, but remain poorly represented in anthologies, textbooks, reading series, prize lists, awards and every other institution controlled by white men who like the way things are presently run just fine. Women are still mostly read by women." --Marge Percy, Early Ripening
The artists were chosen for this project simply because I love their work. There are many others that could have been included; perhaps this is just the beginning.
I conceived the idea of a Red Shoe artists book project, while reading the Madwoman in the attic, by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. They explain that the women of the nineteenth- century had what was called "anxiety of authorship," --a fear that she could not create, that because she could never become a "precursor" the act of creating would isolate or destroy hr. The symbol of the red shoes is often used in fairly tales as the symbol for the creativity of women, i.e. Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, and others.
Feet bound securely
Toes tucked under
Fire licks tenderly
Red Shoes insist
They are made for dancing
Glass shoes will cut
Red all over
But without fear
Slip on the red shoes
And they dance
I have written other posts about artists book projects. If you go to the sidebar and put into the search bar "artists book projects."