In this new book presenting cobblers from India, Finland, Belgium, the UK, and Namibia, Els Roelandt and Catherine Willems present a refreshing and muchneeded vision on anthropology, craftmanship, and design, clearly depicting the integrated roles of artisans, scientists, and industry partners.
What makes Catherine Willems’ work on “future footwear” so appealing is its promise to leapfrog more than 150 years of industrialization, with all its attendant afflictions—environmental destruction, depletion of natural resources, extreme global inequality—and bring us straight into a cleaner and fairer future, while taking cues from ancient knowledge and craft. The research brings three disparate fields together: traditional footwear in very different indigenous cultures (Kolhapuri in India, Sami in Finland, and Ju|’hoansi in Namibia), the biomechanics of the human foot, and advanced technology for 3D measur ing and printing. The depth and seriousness of the exploration in each field results in a richness of data and information which has only just started to yield its first outcomes. — Christine De Baan
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