Queeny Shen

Blooming Lotus

Class of: 2025

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Wire

Faculty: Martina Kohler

Prompt: Using a shoe that we like as the starting point, the goal of this assignment was to create a shoe with wire, and tell a story by altering its form and adding secondary materials.

For this project, I wanted to create a link between my cultural background and my shoe. I was inspired by the Chinese lotus shoes, which was designed to be worn by women who had bound feet in the past. Foot binding was a tradition that had been practiced by Chinese women over several centuries. Back then, every women pursued abnormal, small feet because this kind of grotesque aesthetic was fond by men, and it also became a symbol of wealth and luxury. However, foot binding involved the breaking of the bones which resulted in the restriction of movement. Despite the beautiful shape and pattern of the lotus shoe, knowing the context behind its design adds another layer of meaning to it. In connection to my combat boot, I was first attracted by its appearance, nonetheless, when I wore the boots for an entire day, walking in them was incredibly painful and it also physically hurt my feet. The boots were so tight and uncomfortable that I had to constantly sit down and rest and adjust them. Therefore combining this experience with the background of the lotus shoes, my goal is to focus on the concept of restriction as well as liberation. The idea of restrain is primarily suggested through the appropriation of the shape of the lotus shoe and the act of releasing oneself is indicated at the opening of the zipper. Not only am I trying to release myself from the physical restrains of the shoe, this is also suggesting the historical liberation of Chinese women who no longer has to follow the custom of foot binding.