These shoes weren’t just made for walking; at least that’s what Bay Area artist Rachel Mahlke will tell you. As Giddy Spinster (Rachel Mahlke) makes it her business to remold plastic stilettos into charming planters with a message. By rehabbing castoff heels into homes for cacti and other succulents, the Berkeley resident transforms them from treacherous icons of sexuality to objects of utility. They also serve as prickly reminders of how difficult it is to navigate other people’s notions of gender and femininity. One thing’s for sure, you have to be prepared to get your hands a little dirty.
Beyond creative recycling, Mahlke explores the mythology of beauty and how discomfort and artificiality have become the norm.