Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars are rather durable shoes, to say the least. (And we ain't referring to the fact that ever-popular canvas kicks, which were invented in 1917, have been around for nearly a century.) If you've ever owned a pair, there's no doubt you can attest to how the sneaks tend to survive almost anything.
As with any other shoe, however, Chuck Taylor's will eventually succumb to rips, tears, and general wear and tear. And while most people who have a threadbare pair in their closet will likely end up tossing 'em, the proprietors the Trunk Space have a better use for the shabby sneakers: Using 'em to decorate a tree.
JRC and Stephanie Carrico, the co-owners of the Grand Avenue art space and performance venue, are planning to adorn the 25-foot-tall cottonwood adjacent to the property with dozens of shabby, tattered, and well-worn pairs of Converse's signature shoes.
"Instead of a Christmas tree, it's going to be a Chuck Taylor tree," Carrico says.
Along with those in attendance at the Trunk Space's Shoe Tree event on Saturday, Carrico and JRC will tie the laces of each pair of Converse together "phone line-style" and then hang the shoes from the branches "either by using a ladder or some well-placed throws."
Carrico says the art project, which coincides with the Grand Avenue Festival on Saturday, is their way of tying into the annual event's theme of adaptive reuse.
"This just something fun that we could do during the festival. JRC has wanted to do something like this with his old pairs of Chuck Taylors for a long time now," she says, "He has dozens and wanted to do something with them instead of throwing them away."
Carrico adds that that they will only be using sneakers that have "gotten a lot of love" and cannot be used as functional footwear any longer. Anyone who has shoes in usable condition are encouraged to donate them instead. They will also only use authentic canvas sneakers made by Converse and not any of the similar-looking Chuck Taylor knock-offs that are sold at either Wal-Mart or Payless.
"This is for people who have real Chuck Taylors that are no longer wearable but need to be commemorated in some way," she says. "I've had a couple people ask me the last couple days if they could bring their down and inspect them to see if they're worn out enough to put in the tree."
Carrico says they're planning on having the shoes decorate the tree "for a while at least," or for as long as property owner Beatrice Moore "will let us have them up there." After that, she adds, the shoes will get properly disposal.
"JRC will probably end up having some sort of burial for all the shoes," Carrico jokes.
The Trunk Space Shoe Tree will be created starting at noon on Saturday, October 20, during the Grand Ave Adaptive Re-Use Festival. Participation is free.