Conceptual fashion designer Jo Cope is almost as preoccupied with the physical phenomenon of creation as she is with the aesthetic of her finished piece. As a result her work is infused by the weight of research she undertakes, to spectacular effect.
For Global Footprint, Jo created a boundary pushing shoe and boot aesthetic SOLD, which captures the essence and repetitive nature of duplicate pattern pieces and processes used by her grandmother as a shoe heeler most of her life.
‘The boot/shoe is made up of layer upon layer of soling leather in which the foot is imbedded, symbolising the hearts and souls of those who devoted their lives to the trade and who have left a lasting impression on Northamptonshire’s rich boot and shoe history.’
Jo’s conceptual boot/shoe embraces design technology, such as 3D foot last scanning, CAD (computer added design) and CNC machining and tangential knife cutting not usually associated with the shoe industry. The process of making includes model making, technology and hand finishing, celebrating the cross over between craft, art and design used in all of her work.
During her research for the artwork, Jo Cope spent a number of days at Northamptonshire shoe factory Edward Green which has been making shoes since 1890. Jo said:
“I was excited to record each skilled hand and beautiful old machine technique by the many craftsmen. It takes several weeks to make each pair; made to last a lifetime. In the same way that a footprint in a landscape is evidence of someone’s past presence, I was particularly interested in capturing the life and mark of the individual worker on each pair of shoes.”
SOLD was displayed with a short accompanying film at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery’s new Shoe Lounge and subsequently at Collective Collaborations Community Exhibition Space in Market Walk Shopping Centre, Northampton.