All it took was an old shoe, a fistful of glitter, and a dab of glue, and the normally level-headed Keerthi McIntosh was hooked. Ten years and 1,000 shoes later, she exalts in the experience of converting an ordinary shoe into a work of art.
“It’s the transformation,” she says. “You just look at it and go, ‘Wow!’”
McIntosh is a member of the Muses sisterhood who claims she has never met a handcraft she didn’t like. Eyes gleaming like those of a child in a candy store, she shows off her neatly arranged stash of glitter — 60 colors in all — stored in see-through boxes in her basement.
“A lot of Muses call them their ‘glitterages,’ but mine isn’t a garage. It’s a basement,” notes McIntosh, a geophysicist by trade, with her penchant for precision kicking in. “I just call it my glitter workshop.”
It’s a space she shares twice a month from September through Carnival with members of her inner circle, a group of Muses who like nothing better than assembling in McIntosh’s basement to work on the shoes they’ll toss out when Muses rolls Thursday, to talk about life, love, and work, and to share a beer or bottle of wine in the process.
“We have grown into so much more than a loose group of acquaintances,” McIntosh said. “It’s like those old quilting bees: While the hands are busy, the conversation turns to things that matter.”
The parade, an all-women’s superkrewe with 1,000 members, rolls Thursday on the Uptown parade route.
Still, McIntosh insists on professional standards when it comes to glittering shoes in her basement, enforcing the rule that only the highest quality shoes leave the room.
“Sometimes I have to say, ‘Just step away from that shoe!’ when someone is going over the top,” she admits. “And sometimes I’m not that nice.”
McIntosh displays an elite selection of shoes, culled from the hundreds she has created, atop a bookcase in the entry hall of her home. Some have sentimental value, others have been chosen for their exquisite artistry. Together, they chronicle a decade of McIntosh’s life.