“Earthly Ballet Shoes,” once a used pair of ballerina shoes, is now transformed into a new vibrant design drawing from the powerful colors of nature. The papier mache–sculpted shoes, part of the Ballet Shoes in Nature series, were inspired by the changing colors of fruits and nuts before they’re harvested by Greek farmers.

I was drawn to the intensity of new fruits and nuts. As they mature and exude amazing colors, I was inspired by the oranges, greens, and yellows, the same colors represented in my artwork. Small plums (“vanilies”) turn orange and red before turning ripe-ready aubergine while the outer shells of nuts like the pistachios turn intense yellow, green, and pink right before they are plucked from the rows of trees.

I often visit the trees bearing these fruits and nuts on farms on the fertile island of Aegina while walking the hilltops of pistachio and fruit farms. It has been very much a part of my emotional connection to the land.

Just like the protective skin of the fruit, our shoes protect our feet and are an extension of us. When a fruit is on the verge of maturing, it is bright in color, just like the new ballet shoes, radiating youth.

“Earthly Ballet Shoes,” 2016 papier mache