Antwerp artist Elke Lemmens (39) is having great success with her ‘Amazing Boot Scrapers‘ project. She transforms obsolete boot scrapers into miniatures scenes inspired by the inhabitants of the house. Time to look down instead of up.
I am really, really late to this party. I encountered the ‘Verwonderende voetschrapers‘ project on an Instagram story and I looked it up.
Lemmens seems to have a large following with her reincarnated boot scrapers. There are now eightteen. Lemmens wants to install fifty of those. She has a grant of the Burgerbegroting (‘Citizens’ Budget’).
Lemmens featured in Belgian, Asian and American media. An AP story by Virginia Mayo really boosted her fame.
Tour in the making
As the project isn’t finished yet, there isn’t an official Boot Scraper Walk yet. But De Standaard newspaper put some if them on a map. The Street Art app also features them. Search for Antwerp and artist Hausgemacht (German for home made).
Apparently it’s on purpose house numbers aren’t shared. “Not to spoil the fun”.
Last Saturday, on a cold but dry December morning, I went to look for myself. As a starting point I took the De Standaard map. On the way I also found the one on Boudewijnsstraat (number 60, shhht).
I forgot to look in the Bestormingstraat I’m afraid. I willingly left out Montignistraat and Kloosterstraat. I felt the Montignystraat was just too far away that cold Saturday morning and the Kloosterstraat is too long to scan for boot scrapers. Maybe disclosing the house numbers isn’t a bad idea. Ah well, next time.
There will be a next time because due to the weather and humidity, some of the boot scraper plexiglass covers were condensed.
That’s unfortunate. Each miniature tells a story. The one with the rainbow zebra crossing has a message of diversity.
The one with the globe shows the international links of the family living in the house.
The one with the mermaids reads like a fairytale. One of the inhabitants originates from Cape Cod in the United States and is the mermaid. The tulips symbolize her partner. The girl reading is their daughter. “The mermaid’s eyes change colours when we’re at the seaside”, I’m told.
But unfortunately, it wasn’t so visible on Saturday.
As I think of it, it’s like explaining heraldry, where symbols also have a meaning. And I love heraldry.
The ‘Amazing Boot Scrapers’ is a fun walk and activity in times of coronavirus countermeasures. It’s also a nice story. I’ll wait for some more and dryer weather.