In 2013 I was commissioned by the Denver Art Museum to create a work based on a piece from their permanent collection. Every Step a Lotus is the result of that invitation. The piece includes historic fact and observations about the tradition of foot binding in China – a tradition that lasted over 1000 years. The two sided unbound text panels include step-by-step instructions for binding, photographic images and x-rays of bound feet and images of the exquisite and elegant shoes that were made for bound feet.
Structure: 2 sets of rigid, unbound leaves with covers; held closed with wrap-around ribbons; pamphlet in case binding; box with removable lid.
Materials: book board, mica, gold plated metal, shellac, Italian composition leaf, acrylic, rayon ribbon, hand printed Verona book cloth, Mohawk superfine text weight paper, black museum board, paper custom made by Andrea Peterson at Hook Paper.
Processes: laser etching laser printing, solid ink color prints, surface applied acrylic, metal leafing, hand relief printing
The accompanying book holds an essay addressing the oddity of treating both the functional object (shoes) and specimens of bound feet as collectibles:
The greed of the missionaries led to the production and export of souvenir shoes that were elaborately constructed, improbably small and furthered the mystification of the practice of foot binding without contributing much in the way of understanding the long-standing cultural tradition.