I was in a low-energy funk for 3 days. I felt as if my emotions were stopped up, like a cork clogging the flow of my self-expression. After months of walking on clouds, feeling creative energy pulsing through my veins, I was forlorn at this change. I was meditating, writing, painting, searching for the key that would release the energy and reconnect me with my passion.

And then I dreamt of the red shoes.

I was in a small foreign city walking cobble-stone streets lined with shop after shop filled with nothing but women’s shoes. I searched every store for the perfect pair of red pumps. There was no shortage of red pumps, but none were right. Every pair I found had stiletto heels. How could I walk, run, and dance in shoes like that? Of thousands of red shoes, none of them were mine.

When I woke up I looked online and discovered the style of shoe I was searching for is a character shoe used in theater and dance. I did not see any red ones, but the theater connection was interesting because until I was 15 I was certain I was going to be an actress. I pursued it very passionately, even moving to New York City (at the age of 14!!!) to follow that dream. So acting was a passion of mine from an early age, and character shoes suggest stepping into a role. Red is another powerful symbol, representing passion, sexual energy and creativity. Shoes can also represent a way forward. So the red shoes told me I was looking to step into the role of the passionate, creative person I know I am, and to move forward with confidence and inspiring my every step.

Making My Passion Pumps

With the images of the character shoes as a reference, I decided I would make the shoes I was unable to locate in my dream. For me, making art for the important symbols in my life is a way to reinforce my intention and enliven the energy of that symbol. Here’s what you need if you want to make your own.


  • Acrylic paint:
    —Choose 2-3 background colors, a range of light and dark in the same color.
    —3-4 shoe colors, again different shades of the same color. Think of analogous colors as possibilities for highlights and shadows
    —black and whitea basic background color, and a co
  • Primed canvas about 8″ x 10″ or heavy paper
  • A paint brush
  • A container for water
  • Optional:
    —batting, fabrics, thread in the colors of your paint, a sewing machine


  1. Using a small piece of primed canvas (8″ x 10″)  or paper, sketch the shoes freehand or use my template.
  2. Paint your background. When choosing my background color I was thinking about what would be nice with my red shoes, and blue and red are such a great combo…and lucky for me my life color happens to be cyan. So I grabbed all the blue paint I had that was in that family and started covering the canvas. I started with lighter washes and added darker colors after those dried.
  3. When that part of the background is dry, start adding your intentions. I used a darker blue over the lighter background and wrote what these shoes symbolize for me: things like “I walk my path of passion” and “Dancing my dreams.” Make these as bold and visible as you want. I wanted mine to be more of a texture in the background, not demanding too much attention… somewhat visible, but not overwhelming.
  4. Once that is dry start on the shoes. Whatever your color shoe is, start with brighter/lighter tones and then the darker ones for the shadows and shading. You might find it helpful to get out one of your own shoes for reference for lighting and shadows.
  5. Add some lines around the shoes to indicate the magic and energy they hold for you.
  6. Optional: Glue fabric to the interior of the shoe (thank you Frances Holliday Alford and Encyclopedia Brown for sharing your fabrics with me!). The interior of the shoe is a focal point and needs something extra. If you do not use a patterned fabric as I did, try creating a label and writing one of your power phrases on it.
  7. At this point you can be done or you can continue and make it into a quilt.
  8. Cut batting and backing fabric about an inch larger than the painting.
  9. Stack them to make a quilt sandwich, using MistyFuse to secure the layers together.
  10. Using threads in similar colors to the painting, start stitching. I used red and blue fabrics, dropped the feed dogs, and free-motion stitched all over. If you are doing free motion, try also writing/stitching over the words you have painted on there to emphasize them.
  11. Add a binding.

If you would like to make your own pair of passion pumps, grab this free download which provides you with the outline of these pumps, and writing prompts to help you think about what your perfect shoes mean for you.

Some Helpful Resources

Meditations and writing exercises to help you find the intention and meaning of your passion pumps

Shoe Template