We had the good fortune of connecting with Annabel Reader and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annabel, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I think my upbringing has influenced me hugely and follows this idea of “a life more lived, a life less ordinary”. I grew up for my formative years in New Zealand, it was a childhood without a TV and a lot of time looking in rock pools at the beach. Both my parents were self employed, Mum running a local art and book gallery and Dad as a civil engineer. We are a close knit family of 7, born in 5 different countries and living in Indonesia for a stint then settling in New Zealand. My parents encouraged us to find out if we could build it, concoct it, experiment, discover and look deeper into how things were made. Before settling in the USA I travelled extensively around the world, mostly by myself. Sometimes just to travel sometimes through work as a professional dancer and stilt performer. My work in the last 10 years has often featured lots of costume work including for Colorado Opera, CSU, Theatre Aspen, and Cirque Du Soleil. As a dancer and performer I know the importance of quality shoes and how the right design/material can help tell a story. I focus both on the functionality and methods behind shoe making techniques, but the main drive for me is letting whimsy and fun lead me to a new creation. Dan’s had a similar experiential upbringing of exploring and making and travel when he was a busker performer. Both our career paths have required us to come up with creative interpretations of characters, inventive ways to design things and build alternative dream worlds. We love creating and making things that have never been seen in this world before.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Shoes are magical ways to combine both creativity, art, and practicality into one wearable package. Where else can someone hand create their very own wearable artwork for everyday life? In modern day society shoes are very disposable and a custom shoe is nearly unattainable. We were enchanted by the artisan nature and rich history of shoe making and wanted to help people build their own, so we created this one of a kind shoe school in Colorado. It has taken 3 years to build and hone our skills, design all the workshops, and has been a fun journey every step of the way. Colorado Shoe School is dedicated to using recycled materials to spark students’ creativity and help them create their own unique handmade custom sneakers, shoes and boots. We have several decades of experience in fiber arts, and art design, as well as a history of work in circus, vaudeville, dance and theatre arts as performers, costume creators, contraption designers and builders. It’s been years of exploration in the realm of shoe making with successes and lessons learned and now we get to share that creative expertise with our students. We are there to help coach and teach them so that they walk out with a piece of functional art on their feet. We like to say “you are making shoes that fit your personality”.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would show off Denver for all it’s fun and quirky spots! We would definitely hang out at the Dairy Block for sure, maybe start by exploring the Denver Milk Market. We could then make our way to see the rotating “crush” murals of the RiNo Creative District and grab lunch at the one and only Stowaway Kitchen. After lunch we could spend hours exploring the Museum of Modern Art. Then have some happy hour cocktails at the Green Russell speakeasy downtown and grab dinner. And of course late night is perfectly finished off with a bit of dancing and music at The Mercury Cafe.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to The Handsome Little Devils! Thank you for all your love and support 🙂 They do amazing work performing, inventing, creating mini parades and bringing happiness with their Joy Bomb shows!
Marc Leverette Photography Colorado Shoe School