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Island artist’s designs adorn limited edition of Birkenstock sandals

Best foot forward: art work used for exclusive Birkenstock design
Long-time Sooke resident Doreen Carscadden, shown here with a few of 36 books of art she’s catalogued and the sandals chosen for an exclusive run of two pairs of Birkenstock sandals. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

Doreen Carscadden never imagined her artwork would be used to decorate the sandals she has cherished since childhood.

Two of Carscadden’s artistic creations were chosen recently for the design of two sets of Birkenstock sandals, much to her surprise.

“I was in disbelief when I got an email saying I’d been chosen,” said the long-time Sooke resident. “It was definitely a pinch me moment. I’ve always been a huge fan and I’ve worn Birkenstocks since I was a kid.”

The process began when Carscadden saw an article on Instagram last year about artists collaborating with the Michael Gray Sandal Factory, an authorized Birkenstock sandal maker in Savannah, Ga.

“I thought why not, that would be so cool, so when I saw the call for art this year, I thought why not give it a try?” she said. “I was lucky enough to be selected, and Michael is such a kind man to work with.”

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The two works chosen for Gray’s exclusive run of 30 pairs of Birkenstocks are Sunny Daze and Summer Breeze.

“I’ve been making art of some kind as long as I can remember,” said Carscadden, who worked in the insurance industry for 30 years. “It’s in my DNA.”

Carscadden has done some pastels and works in watercolour, ink, acrylic paint, oil, and collage.

“About 10 years ago I got really sick, and that illness changed my life,” she said.

The illness prevented her from performing many tasks that she could easily do before. This situation’s grief and frustration motivated her to create art journals. These journals are books bound in various styles, documenting her work over the past eight years.

Carscadden has a collection of about 35 books, with many more on the way.

“There’s a lot of florals and birds,” Carscadden said. “I’m really attracted to colours, it’s very comforting to me.”

Carscadden has never tried to sell any of her art. Although friends and family have purchased a few pieces through word of mouth, she doubts if her work on the Birkenstock deal will kickstart any local interest.

“The only way you’ll get to see the sandals in Sooke is on my feet,” she said with a laugh.

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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