Quick one

After an action packed weekend where I waited 8 hours for a tradie to NOT show up, we made it back in to the studio today to get crafty.

I modified a pair of sandals that I’ve been making for Dani, made her brother a leather holder for his chisels and then got to work on a new pair of Oxfords.
After mocking them up in cadbury-brown leather (eww), test fitting, adjusting, test fitting, adjusting and test fitting, I’m ready to go with the real leather tomorrow.
They will have some perforated sections for maximum summer breezy-ness, i’ll show some pics soon (forgot the camera today).

Tonight is drum practice time, then on to some late night nerding – I have some design ideas in mind that need 3D modelling to resolve.
No rest for the wicked!

Listening to : Dead Meadow – Between Me And The Ground

^ Check out that monster kick drum! I’m on the hunt for a 26″ bass drum, anyone have a Bonham one they want to offload?

Back to the start

Well, seeing as everyone liked checking out the Desert Boots I made, I’ll starting posting up the other 3 pairs of shoes I’ve made so far so you can all see that I’m not just a one-trick-pony.


These are the first pair that I completed, there were some other prototypes, but these ones are the first official, wearable Steve Phillips shoes. Woo!

The process begins by taping up the last (wrapping it in masking tape) to develop a pattern.
This is then removed, flattened out and used to cut the leather pieces.
Once you’ve done all the tracing and maths involved, you can sew and assemble the ‘upper’ and attach the insole to the lasts.


There are plenty of variations on the ‘lasting’ technique, but I’m following Tim Skyrme’s book, and therefor I use tacks/nails, lasting pliers, hard work, sweat and eventually glue.

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Once the upper is firmly attached to the insole, the shank is fitted (if you’re adding one) a whole lot of other trimming and tidying goes on, and then the sole is fitted / built.
I’m trying to keep things as traditional as possible for now, so I am hand making my soles and heels, from veg tanned leather. This takes a long time, but is very satisfying when its complete.

That’s 5 layers of leather all stacked up, nailed and carved to a lovely little cuban-ish heel.

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If you have done your measurements correctly, you can remove the last and begin wearing them.
I said IF…
I did not measure things properly, and decided in my infinite wisdom to lower the ‘throat’ of the shoe – where the opening turns around near your toes – for a nicer look, and found that lower = looser = falls off when Dani walks in them. Sigh.

Not to be discouraged, I added in a tongue and a nice little bow sort of detail and whammo, they fit fine.


That’s the abridged story of Pair #1. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you hours of info if you’re reeeally interested!

The toe shape, height and fit of my shoes are all similar so far, due to the fact that I only have one complete set of lasts in the same design.
The Harold Boot Company in Abbotsford downsized about a year ago and I spent the afternoon sifting through crates of obsolete lasts with April Phillips (our surnames are a coincidence, no relation as far as I know!) who has what is known as the “Last Library” where she rents out her extensive collection of lasts. Anyhoot, we both managed to find a left and right of each size of their lasts, and they’re what i’m using for now until I get off my ass and buy / rent some more.

Listening to : Dungen – Ta Det Lugnt

Rock Lobster

…is a great song (hey Paulius?)

said friend insists on hassling the dj (no matter where we are) to play rock lobster.  its a kinda joke now, but when they play it we all go nuts in honour of his efforts.

anyway, I  stopped in at Alice Euphemia the other day and they had this amazing window display by Romance Was Born.

funny story – one day a girl came into Alice (when i still worked there) and asked if we had any ‘sunshine is love’.  we soon realised she meant ‘romance was born’.  so now Steve and i call it ‘sunshine is love’.
Also a good name for something…we might steal it from the sweet lass that made it up accidentally.


girls, girls, girls

so, three new ladies in our lives – tahlia, violet and amelia.

since i was making porcelain decorations to sell at craft victoria, i decided to do some custom ones for the babies.

tahlia iris

cvic deco1

B Grade celebrity…

I just had a look-see at the Craft Victoria Blog as they are quite shoe focused at the moment with their “Shoe Show” on until the 28th of Nov, and noticed that I got a mention!
I’m the guy who sits next to the guy who is in the show! How famous am I.

Click here to have a look

The article is about our old studio pal James Roberts who is at least 2 steps ahead of me in his self-taught shoe making journey.
He has things on display at Craft Vic AND has sold a pair to a lovely lass according to his blog.

Anyhoot, I get a mention in there along with this sweeeet photo of our old workshop that you should click on to see supersized.
panorama of old studio
image by  Richard Brockett

For those of you who are new to our world, that’s our old studio that Dani and I ran in Carlow House on Flinders Lane for 4 years.
It was the most amazing room, but unfortunately the real estate agents caught on and started charging “amazing room” rent.
We are now in a shared space in North Melbourne with some cool kids, and I hope to do a post on them all real soon, as well as a nostalgic revisit to the old studio and its many workers.
James is currently building a CRAZY space in the city that I’m sure everyone will hear about in a week or two.

Listening to : Jethro Tull – Song for Jeffrey

Take it away boots!


Ok kids, here’s the 4th pair of Steve Phillips Handmade Shoes ever made… a stylin’ pair of Desert Boots, custom made for my one and only customer, Dani M.

We have a deal going on where she decides the next pair of shoes she wants,  and I make them – providing they are possible with the limited amount of lasts I have, and the even more limited skill set I have.
These ones came about after seeing that Solo ad where the kids are kicking a can and looking all 70s, Dani decided she wanted a pair, I search-engined up some ye olde images and then got out the pens and pencils.

Here’s a few behind the scenes shots of them being made, I’m trying to take a few shots of each stage, so as I post up other shoes I make you can see all the dicking around that goes in to making them!

This is where I completely made up a toe-puff forming technique.
(Let me take this moment to point out that I am mostly self taught, so stuff like this happens often.)

The hand stitched sole-to-upper part – as previously mentioned, done in 35 degree heat.

Ta daaa! The finished product. All leather upper, nickel rivets, crepe rubber sole, too many hours to count, but a success for a first try.

So, there you have my first ever shoe making blog post. I’ll backtrack and show the other 3 pairs I’ve made at a later date.
Please dont hit me up with emails, as I am under strict orders from Dani not to promise shoes to anyone else until I’m a master craftsman.

Thanks for stopping by.

Listening to : Sleep – Live at ATP 2009*
*and praying for a tour of Australia… i’ll do a whole post on Sleep soon.

Big Weekend

This weekend I saw the kings of riffage Warped tear up the Tote (and my eardrums), and Dani had stall at a Design Market at the Order of Melbourne bar on Swanson Street.
It was rained out and inside rather than on the rooftop, but it was a great day with plenty of customers braving the torrential rains to come up and check out the wares.

The kids from Patterns of Creative Aggression were there selling their magazines :
‘The magazine is ultimately trying to show what is involved in the creative process; a behind the scenes look into how the works readers might see in galleries, on the shelf and read about in other magazines are produced’


We met the super-cool Gali Lenko who was fronting a stall of greeting cards that you should give to someone you love, or are at least indifferent about.
You dont have to take my word for it, check out this glowing testimonial –
‘I have Jewish mothers that come in here and would find this offensive’
Owner of store on Carlisle Street

We also welcomed two new little ladies to our circle of friends, congrats to Mel + Peter and Erin + Dave for bringing Amelia and Violet into the world safe and sound!

The Industrial Revolution

After spending 2 hours hand sewing a pair of desert boots together this afternoon in the 30 degree heat, I gained a stronger appreciation for why the sewing machine was invented.
It’s not that I don’t have one, this was definitely a hand-sewing only task, but god dammit it took a long time.

I’ll post some pics of them when they’re done, and a whole lot of other stuff about shoemaking and Melbourne shoemakers.

Listening to : Emalkay – When I look at you

Welcome to the world of Dead and Buried

Hi There!

We’re two kids from Melbourne who are going to open a store soon, and have decided to fill in time until we get our act (and finances) together by blogging about awesome things, bands, people, shoes and whatever else seems good at the time.
To bring you up to speed, here’s a little info about us and why we’re doing all this.

Dani is the genius behind Dani M Designs, she has been making Jewellery and Homewares and other crazy things from Porcelain and Silver and Felt for years now.
You can check out all her stuff at www.danimdesigns.com, or meet her in person at Craft Victoria sometime.
She has a cat named Special Agent Dale Cooper, a new niece who is 100% gorgeous, and she likes to rock out to Talking Heads and Tom Petty.

Steve is her husband, a life-long ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ with a terribly short attention span.
After working in Multimedia, Industrial Design, Furniture Manufacture, Screen Printing, Web Design, 3d Visualisation and a dozen other jobs here and there, he has decided to follow his heart and learn Shoe Making.
Right now he is working on Pair #4 and will no doubt show off a few of them on here from time to time.
He is also obsessed with vintage guitar amplifiers, Black Sabbath and obnoxiously loud drums, so expect an album review here and there, and other music nerdery.
His websites are all outdated and a waste of time, but when they’re back, he’ll post them.

Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you enjoy reading what we ramble on about.
Once we open the shop we’ll have you allllll in for one of Tom’s homemade beers and some air guitar.

Team Dead and Buried.