I and my two sisters will be in China in a couple of days. After only one day of rest from a 33 hour trip we will be visiting the shoe factory in Henan. The plan is to spend three days there, working out details of the design, getting color samples and preparing for a Kickstarter campaign when we return.
I, like you, am interested to witness first hand what the overall conditions are like and to get a "feeling" for how life is there. As far as shoes go, I am particularly interested in vulcanized footwear. The picture here was taken at a rural shoe factory in Henan last year. These are the kinds of shoes that are worn by farmers, workers and formerly by almost all school children in China. The factories I have found which make these shoes tend to be old factories and much of the work, although done in assembly lines, is still done by hand. There is a slightly crude quality to them which is a bit out of keeping with our modern sense of stamped out perfection. Beyond my sentimental ideas however, is the fact that this method of manufacturing is suited to my studio shoe design. I am going all out for flexibility.
This project is an undertaking in support of the School of Unusual Arts. Our first education experiment kicked off with three meetings. The curriculum focused on what is required for a small group of friends to exchange in a meaningful way. We will publish some of the ideas in the new year and see how they are received.
Thank you for your interest and support.