When Ange Lord struggled to get her young autistic son Charlie to put shoes on she came up with the idea of painting Minions on a pair of Converse trainers.
It was a tactic that worked and since then Ange, a full-time carer for Charlie, has painted a number of other popular designs on children’s trainers which in turn has led to the start of a what is quickly becoming a flourishing business.
“Charlie is not very keen on people looking at his shoes but he loves wearing them’, said Ange, who started a Facebook page at the end of January and has since been inundated with requests for personalised trainers. These include a order from a bride for white Converse trainers with a Alice in Wonderland design on. Enquiries have also come from as far as America, including a request to put hieroglyphics on crystal balls.
Ange, 43, who lives on Millfield Close, Ilkeston, with Charlie, nine, and husband Danny, said: “I set up a page on Facebook and it has been bonkers since then.
“I have always been drawing since I was a girl, it’s always been something I wanted to do but it never happened. My little boy has autism and doesn’t like things being changed. I saw some of these shoes in America and thought I’d give it a go and did some Minions ones. When he grew out of them I passed them on.”
Her designs are all done freehand using acrylic paint and can take from three days to a week to complete. Though she dropped out of college as a teenager where art was one of the A levels she was studying, her passion has always remained. “I started doing art at college but got put off by the other subjects. I got bored and dropped out but I carried on doing art and am self-taught. Everyone’s got something they are good at. Once my mum saw a picture of some birds that I had drawn and didn’t believe I had done it.”
All of the trainers are bought online and she only charges people for the artwork.
Her skills have seen her paint a mural of space in Charlie’s bedroom and she also did a mural at his school, Bennerley Fields Special School. As well as this she has a portfolio of drawings that she has created over the years.
Ange would love to see the business grow into a full-time job one day and is currently in the process of setting up her own website where people can place orders.
“I like to do something different each time so people have got something that nobody else has got,’ she said.
“I would love for it to turn into something, it would be great if someone picked up on it. I have always wanted to do something like this but it never happened. It started out slow but now I’ve got more than 600 likes on Facebook. I put some portraits on and it just started to go mad from there.
“I just love doing it. With art, time is something you don’t get paid for unless it is something you are known for.”
. To find out more about Ange’s custom Converse designs you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on Facebook at AngeLordArt or via twitter at @angelordart
She is in the process of setting up a website which will be at www.angelordart.com