Made to mark the transition into older middle age and specifically to celebrate my 50th year I hired a camper van in Denver and went on a pilgrimage to some wild and sacred places in the American south-west. The first place I visited was the church at Chimio in New Mexico. It holds within it a pit of healing earth. The church was very dark inside. When I re-emerged with my jar of earth blinking into the sunlight I noticed, hanging red against the sun, wreaths and strings of chilli peppers.
The shoes are about my experience at this place and to mark the beginning of this journey. I found the yellow berries nearby in the desert.
Although I was very keen to find some snake skins in the south-west I didn’t find these until I returned to snake free Ireland. An age old symbol for life, death and rebirth snakes shed their skins every year. That year I felt like I was shedding mine.