Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Forget art! You made those shoes???

For a while now I've been hearing great things about clothing designer Natalie Purschwitz's Makeshift project. Currently featured in the Vancouver Art Gallery's "We: Vancouver" exhibition, Makeshift involved Purschwitz only wearing what clothing, footwear and accessories she could actually craft herself for an entire year.

Up until recently, I felt kind of "meh" about the project. Like... you're a clothing designer, how hard could this project really be? But then I looked at Purschwitz's blog, where she recorded in fair depth her outfits for each day from September 2009 to September 2010, and I was astounded. This was definitely one of those projects I needed to experience in volume in order to be impressed by. And I guess that would be the same for many others.

Also... shoes???? I was actually not aware until today that shoes were part of Purschwitz's plan. Shoes seem really, really hard to make. And I bet that they actually are. (This incredulosity of mine is exacerbated by the fact that I have some foot and hip problems, requiring me to buy expensive and unstylish nearly orthopedic footwear, and the prospect of walking around a large city in whatever horrible cardboard flipflop I might be able to craft for myself makes me want to give up on life. (Double parenthetical: I also realize how ridiculous it is to say that given how few people in the world actually have shoes, period, so I can see my own extreme privilege factor. Nonetheless I continue feel such dramatic statements are true.)) So, anyway, I really enjoyed seeing what footwear the artist ended up piecing together, like the bright blue boots that seem to be folded out of three or four different planes, and held together by grommets and ribbon or something. Her early posts on footwear failures are also interesting.

To sum up, this is just a little post to chime in and say, yes, that Makeshift project sure is just the darnedest. And that sometimes you (ahem) have to browse a few dozen posts to figure that out.

One last thing that struck me about this project... during it, Purschwitz was using something called "Parking Spot," an unconventionally funded artspace provided by patron of the arts Scott Hawthorn for a year at a time. (You can find out more in Makeshift's September 30, 2009, post.) Hadn't heard of this space or model before. Whoda thunk it?

(Image from Natalie Purschwitz from Day 360 of her Makeshift project blog)

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