Chris Piazza | The Snowshoe Salesman
The Snowshoe Salesman

Dimensions: Puppet 4 1/2' tall – Box 10 1/2 ft. tall x 14 ft. wide x 10 ft. deep

Materials: "party favor" plastic shoes, glass glitter, mica, antique sleigh blanket, passementrie, glass beads, “North Pole” ice cream freezer, “frost” embossed glass tiles and mirrors, Venetian mirror, jewelry samples, general store labels and antique products.


Seven league boots, glass slippers or "galoshes of fortune"…shoes have always seemed to me the article of clothing with the most magical possibilities. Fairy tales and folklore abound with these humble symbols of transportation and metamorphosis. Years ago I purchased hundreds of tiny plastic ladies high-heeled shoes from The Party Store on 5th Ave. at 34th Street. At the time I’d been using them in box sculptures. When I found out that the manufacturer was no longer making its rounded 1950’s model  – replacing it with a spiffy 1960’s style – I bought what remained of his stock: about 4,000 shoes. Then I stopped making box sculptures altogether. Over the years, no matter how many of these little shoes I gave away, like door prizes to friends and visitors, I was still left with hundreds of them, which got moved around from basement to attic to barn to basement during my years of moving around. One day I looked at this pile of little shoes and said to myself, “A shoe salesman…that’s it…that’s the solution.”

The poetry of ice and snow has always captivated me…Emerson’s The Snowstorm, Tim Burton’s  Edward Scissorhands, Melies Conquest of the Pole and the myriad variations of “A White Christmas." But within this canon of image and metaphor none is lovelier than Hans Christian Andersen’s marvelous tale, The Snow Queen: Which describes a looking-glass and the broken fragments. You must attend to the commencement of this story, for when we get to the end we shall know more than we do now about a very wicked hobgoblin; he was one of the worst, for he was a real demon…



The Snowshoe Salesmans Story


Detail from FL show