Stripper Heels + Cacti And Succulents = Obsessed

These crazy planters start at $49.
Ever since we saw them at a big local craft show over a year ago, we’ve been seriously crushing on the succulent and cacti arrangements stuffed into stripper heels that are the signature of the Berkeley-based Etsy crafter Giddy Spinster. An English Literature teacher by day, Rachel Mahlke (aka Giddy), started creating these somewhat provocative pieces in August 2009 and has developed a steady following ever since. To find out more about her creations, we caught up with the local, below.

When did it occur to you that stripper heels could make awesome planters?

“My dancer friend was throwing away an absolutely spectacular pair of clear heels. I rescued them, but wasn't quite sure what to do with them until I started thinking about hard-working women, how uncomfortable the shoes must have been, and how impossible they are—just like the images that women face in magazines and other media. So, I sanded 'em, drilled 'em, and planted them with very sharp, dangerous cacti. I want them to show a juxtaposition of natural and artificial beauty, and how images of women have become increasingly plastic.”

Where do you get your supplies?

“Many of the shoes came from a friend of mine who dances in San Francisco. More recently, I've plucked them like rare truffles from under heaps of junk in thrift stores. I like the idea that the shoes have a history, and some of them have the scars to prove it. It emphasizes the idea of
hard-working, relentless women, and brings to mind fearless, rule-breaking women like Grace O'Malley, the famous pirate.”

Do you have any other projects up your sleeve that you can share?

“I've been enamored with beauty tools of the ‘50s and ‘60s. They have this swinging, modern style. Recently, I've been pairing them with blocks of tree to make very unusual lamps. Visually, I think they also impart a juxtaposition of artificial and natural beauty.”
Check out Giddy Spinster’s Etsy shop, here

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