A DIY master from Tokyo, Japan, recently conquered the internet with a very unusual project. She set out to turn a pair of cheap high-heel shoes into realistic-looking pigeons to see if they would allow her to get closer to the real birds in a local park without them flying away. Did it work? Read on and find out.
47-year old Keiko Ohata creates all kinds of wondrous things and posts photos of them on Japanese DIY-themed community website, Nifty. She has shared dozens of interesting creations with her followers over the last 11 years, but it was her latest idea that attracted the attention of some of the world’s largest art blogs and news sites. Well, sort of, as all the articles I’ve seen got her name all wrong and linked to a Russian site as the original source, instead of her Nifty profile. Hopefully, they’ll make the necessary corrections, as Keiko deserves all the credit for this amazing pair of pigeon shoes.
Apparently, the Japanese DIY expert likes both high heels shoes and pigeons, and recently decided to use the first to get closer to the latter than she usually could. The idea was to use her craftiness to turn a pair of cheap high heels into realistic pigeon models that she could wear while she walked through Tokyo’s Ueno Park, and see if the pigeons felt more comfortable around her. It was a long shot, but it also made an interesting DIY project, so Keiko got to work on it.
She started off by designing the shows on a piece of paper, and when she was happy with the result, she purchased a pair of high heel shoes for under 2,000 yen ($18), In order to make use of the shoes natural shape to best imitate the look of pigeons, the birds’ heads had to be facing backwards, while their feathery tails went in front.
Keiko writes that getting real pigeon feathers would have been too expensive and time consuming, so she decided to recreate both the feathers and fluff using wool felt. To better emulate the pigeons, she carved out several pieces of styrofoam, which she then covered in grayish wool felt and glued them to the shoes. She then carved the wings and tails out of layers of wool felt, paying great attention to the overlapping feathers
For the legs, Ohata opted for pieces of wire, which she then covered in pink-red wool. The beaks and eyes are painted pieces of plastic. She wasn’t fully satisfied with how the eyes turned out, but it was the best she could do
When the pigeon shoes were completed, it was time to finally take them for a “test drive” in Ueno Park, where real pigeons often gather to look for food. She made sure to also wear clothes in tones that somewhat imitated the birds’ natural colors, to better fit in with them.
Keiko started out by walking towards the birds, but they flew away as soon as she got too close, so she then tried walking backwards, with the heads of her pigeon shoes facing the real birds. It didn’t make much of a difference, unfortunately.
But while the birds didn’t seem to impressed with Keiko Ohata’s shoes, street artists working in the park, as well as passers-by started approaching her and asking about her unusual footwear. They were impressed when they learned that she had made them herself, and asked if they could take some photos. Instead of pigeons flocking to her, she had to make due with a crowd of fellow humans.
She kept trying to get close to the pigeons for a while, but she only reached a goal when a friendly old man threw some breadcrumbs close to where she was. That finally attracted the birds, and her friends were able to snap some photos of the shoes surrounded by actual pigeons.
The pigeon shows didn’t work as intended, but Keiko says that the attention she received from people in Ueno Park was well worth the work she put into her project.