Basic Design Students Create Wearable Art

Students in Angeles Cossio’s “Basic Design” class have created art you can literally walk all over.

Cossio asked the class to invent and construct footwear that serves a dual purpose.

“The first purpose is simple — you wear them on your feet,” said Cossio, a visiting instructor of art. “The second purpose should reveal another idea that, however practical or impractical, reveals another purpose, function, utility, or usefulness that the wearer might benefit from.”

Essentially, students were asked to create wearable, functioning shoes that also worked as an aesthetic object, a piece of art.

“Shoes can expand out and encompass all of the body,” said Cossio. “The shoe can just be a starting point for something much larger.”

The goal of the project was to increase students’ comfort with experimentation and prototyping.

“It was also very important that they were able to use visual means to express an idea,” said Cossio.

The results more than met the professor’s expectations.

“They exceeded them,” she said. “Everyone worked really hard and pulled off thoughtful ambitious projects,” she said.

Students enjoyed working on the project.

“You could do anything – there were very few requirements,” said Michala Dockweiler, a first-year student from Callaway. She used her dad’s work boots for the project, fashioning them into an owl’s nest using bark and feathers. The owl perching on one of the boots was made from scratch.

“I made the eyes and beak out of clay,” said Dockweiler.

First-year student Lynnea Johnson of Lincoln took a fantasy approach with her project, constructing one shoe into a hobbit’s house and the other into Sauron’s tower from the literature and film classic, The Lord of the Rings.

“It made me think in different ways, how I could use different materials to make art,” said Dockweiler. “It was crazy to see how different and unique people’s shoes ended up.”

“The entire class went beyond the parameters of the assignment to create innovative and creative works,” Cossio added. “They impressed me with the variety and ambition of their projects.”

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First-year student Shelby Svehla of Schuyler created "Bee Zapper".
First-year student Katie Samson created "leeches".
First-year student Michala Dockweiller of Callaway created a owl and nest.
First-year student Lynnea of Lincoln made Hobbit shoes.
First-year student Alena Kinsey of Lincoln created stereo shoes.