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Fashion Design, Leather Crafting

Mik Wright

After working for 18 months teaching my craft at Jabulani (happiness), a rehabilitation center for paraplegic Zulu people in Zululand, I went into business with my brother, Pat, and sister in law, Beth. My daughter, Lei, does all the painting and custom artwork and makes a wonderful line of leather skirts. We were soon exporting our shoes and clothes to England where we established markets at Covent Garden, Camden Lock, and Portobello Rd.

I moved to the United States and now I display and sell my work at juried craft shows around the country. Those Shoes have been in such prestigious shows as the Philadelphia Museum show, Smithsonian Craft show and the New Orleans Jazz festival, and have been the #1 seller at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia.

There are now many imitators of Those Shoes, in England and the United States, and even my display booth has been copied. None however, compare to the original, ever contemporary, distinguished work created at my home in the Appalachian Mountains.

Biography

I was born in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) in 1949. I spent a blessed and loving childhood in Zambia, and a teen age of discovery in Botswana where I was fortunate to travel frequently into the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Swamps. It was during this period that I first met Peace Corps volunteers who turned me on to jazz and blues and rapped about life in the great American dream.

In 1968 I was working as a field officer for “Anglo American” when I had a motorcycle accident, which resulted in the shortening of my right leg and permanent damage to my knee. Three years later I met a lady who was making an idyllic living from leather-work and organic gardening. I fell in love, got married, learned about leather and started making shoes and boots suitable for rock climbing and bush wear. I created a special pair for myself, designed to meet the demands of my injury.

Now I live in Lewis county West Virginia, where I creates unique and wonderful footwear, including a range of custom shoes with exotic leathers.