For the sake of practice, I’m posting other recent figures I’ve made at the Falls. This one I believe I made on St. Patrick’s Day and so it is aptly entitled “Samurai Shoeman”! I like the spring light and the fact you can see the Ohio River through the trees before all the leaves come out. This figure is made from various foams and plastics along with driftwood. The eyes are pieces of coal which is another commonly found element along this riverbank.
Here’s a “before” picture that includes the materials I used. Among the many classes of objects that routinely wash up here are flip-flops, sandals, and other footwear. To be honest, this collection of flip-flops was started by someone else who must have also been struck by how common these objects are along the shoreline. I did, however, augment the pile with other shoes I found in the underbrush and driftwood. The black baseball catcher’s chest protector on my figure is a unique find.
Here’s a detail with the figure holding more footwear. What I do references other ephemeral figurative traditions such as snowmen and scarecrows. A difference is my materials tend to be more durable. The Ohio River is a tough environment to be immersed in. These flip-flops were lost up river along the length of the river’s watershed and a few may have come from as far north as Pittsburgh. What didn’t get washed up here continued down river on a journey to the Gulf of Mexico. In making this work, everything is attached with sharpened pegs and sticks.