MARSHALL - In a plastic box, Jordan Hoeft stores paints, paintbrushes and a few canvas shoes.
While she was in high school, the Marshall High School graduate created paintings in her free time. This past summer, Hoeft moved to a different type of canvas - shoes. From there, she's started Jordan's Custom-Painted Shoes, which is on Facebook.
"They're unique because they're not a painting you can hang on your wall at home, you can wear them around," Hoeft said.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Jordan Hoeft of Marshall has started making hand-painted shoes, some of which she has for sale. She also makes custom orders in a variety of designs.
Hoeft is a double major in graphic design and photography at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She said that she's seen similarly-designed canvas shoes on other websites that people have bought for nearly $150 a pair.
"I stumbled onto them early in the school year and thought they were cool," Hoeft said. But she didn't pursue the craft right away.
Then she posted something on either Facebook or Twitter, asking if she made some hand-painted shoes, would people buy them?
Some time later, Hoeft did get a request for custom-painted shoes.
"One of my friends saw them and asked I could paint them a pair instead," she said. "My friends knew I could paint."
Her first attempt at painting fabric shoes was on a pair of her own that had gotten muddy.
"I just painted them blue because I was going to throw them away," Hoeft said. She then painted in a peacock feather design on the shoes and still has the pair.
Hoeft has painted several pairs of shoes so far this summer, which includes butterfly, floral and other free-handed designs.
"I'll see different designs and then I can come up with something to do on (that design)," Hoeft said.
And some of the designs can be challenging. One current project involves a dreamcatcher design. Hoeft said the feather part of the dreamcatcher has multiple colors, and the paint for each color had to be applied at the same time in order for the colors to blend properly. After she is finished painting a shoe, she covers it with lacquer to protect the design.
She also made a pair of shoes with her high school's mascot on it - the Tigers - and may make more.
Working on shoes instead of an artist's canvas is definitely different, Hoeft said, mainly because you're creating something on other people's shoes.
"It's not a canvas I can start over," Hoeft said.
Hoeft has used several pairs of Toms shoes for her custom-made products.
"I like the style of Toms shoes, it's the best to paint on," Hoeft said. But she does paint on other types of canvas shoes, she said.
Hoeft said she's been thinking about making shoes with her college mascot, and the UMD dance team, of which she is a member, has also made a request.
Hoeft said her custom-painted shoes have become a hobby of hers, and she doesn't feel like she's working, even though she is. She's also gotten requests to paint other objects, including a lampshade.
"In a way it's a learning experience for me because it's my major," Hoeft said.