In fall 2015 Franz Huber and his wife Yvonne Herzog provided equity and become the founders of the Jail Art Company AG. The brand Jail Art was protected. The shareholders decided that profits made out of the company would not be distributed to the shareholders but would accumulate in the Fondation Equilibre, a non-profit-making charitable institution.
In the mean time Jeanette Berger (finances, administration) and Gönül Avcu-Kenar (professional sewing) have joined the Jail Art Team.
Each Jail Art bag sold is a visible sign of successful integration of refugees.
Swiss designer Daniel Albisser served a sentence in the Stans Correctional Facility. He collapsed, believing that for him everything was lost, life was over, and that there was no hope to get back to a honest life.
One day the prison warden orders Daniel to his office. He says: “I need a meaningful job for some of our inmates. You were working as a creative professional. So I thought that you could help me to imagine a job for them. I would be able to contribute a few old sewing machines. Do you know how to use them?” “No Sir – but I think I can find out how to make good use of them and I will come forward with a suggestion”.
In the prison’s basement Daniel found a few old plastic tarps. Looking at the sewing machines he imagined that one could use this material to make a messenger bag. He started trying. The result of the first attempt was a bag hold together with staples. It didn’t look good but the designer’s ambition was spurred. He started experimenting with the sewing machines and after some time a first bag could be presented to the warden. The latter was impressed and gave Daniel permission to use scissors and a knife.
The owner of a print shop brought a printing screen and some paint. So the tarp for the bags could be brightened up. Soon thereafter the Jail-Art-logo was printed on some of the messenger bags. The prison warden used this first series as a gifts for visitors. People receiving them where amazed: stylish bags from the slammer: Jail-Art was born. Then Daniel started training other inmates and they liked the job. As a result, the Stans prison sold more than 100 bags at the local farmer’s market. The Jail-Art bag became known as a prove for a successful prisoner integration project.
When Daniel was released he contacted the Swiss Red Cross. They got Daniel in touch with Franz Huber, a Swiss entrepreneur living in Altdorf. Franz agreed to provide Daniel for free with working-space so that Daniel was able to continue designing his Jail Art bags. After some time the entrepreneur and the designer got well together. They develop a business-vison combining creative work and the integration of refugees.
With the help of the Red Cross Daniel met refugees from Eritrea, Somalia and Tibet. He started teaching them the craft of how to sew high quality bags. The parts for this bags are still cut in the Stans prison.
Immigrants given work
Be a part of the change!
Swiss designer Daniel Albisser created jail-art while serving a prison sentence. today each jail art bag sold is a visible sign of successful integration for refugees led by Association Equilibre a non-profit. i am proud to be the ambassador of this noble project and hope all my friends and family can show their support any way they can.
Telefon: +41 41 874 20 00
JAILART Company AG
+41 41 872 14 14