“In These Shoes: Bespoke Footwear in America” opens on Friday, September 6 with a reception from 5 pm to 7 pm at Paper City Studios, 80 Race Street in Holyoke, MA. The show originated at the Quigley Gallery at Clarke University (Dubuque, IA) in June of this year and will be traveling throughout the country in various galleries and museums.
This show is an art event blurring the boundaries of fashion, art and craft. It features handmade-to-order footwear from couture to cowboy, that both fit the foot and look like no off-the-rack shoes– akin to sculpture. With a burgeoning trend of fashion and costume being recognized in major museums like the Whitney and MoMA, this is the first show to specifically highlight contemporary bespoke shoemakers.
The artists included in this show have widely diverse styles, but share a traditional shoemaking process involving leather, thread, and tacks, built around lasts. The artists maintain the traditional, artisanal hand-lasting and hand-welting process that modern factories have eliminated.
Daphne Board, a former theater costumer and clothing designer, has had a bespoke shoemaking and design business in Holyoke, MA for over a decade.
Anne Marika Verploegh Chasse is a Dutch and Swedish painter and designer who teaches shoemaking at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Amara Hark-Weber recently received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied shoemaking, photography, and printmaking.
Paul Opperman, formerly a mechanical engineer, now makes custom cowboy boots in Dubuque, IA.