Double Trouble

So shoe fans, what’s the only thing better than a handmade pair of shoes?

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That’s right… TWO pairs of handmade shoes!

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Seeing as the first pair of perforated oxfords were a little tight (and I was kind of keen to put them on the shelf as the ‘first nice pair’ of shoes I have made) I knocked up a second pair in a size larger, as blogged about last week.

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I am happy to report Dani is very impressed and is looking forward to ‘wearing them every day’… which is why they have a Topy sole and some slightly goofy laces that might get changed later on.

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Due to a convenient work scheduling last week I had 6 days in a row away from my computer, which meant I could almost experience a proper working week as a shoe maker, apart from the usual weekend family and booze related breaks from my desk.
I managed to complete these new ones, and get most of the way through the t-bar sandals.

I also did some studio-space negotiations that should result in me having another shoe maker in there with me in a few weeks time. woo! shared tools! More about that when it’s locked in.

These ones probably took the same amount of time as the last pair, but I am becoming aware of which parts are easy and which tasks take deceptively long.

  • Cutting and sewing – Pretty quick apart from some akward lining / tongue / upper intersections
  • Lasting – Getting faster, except I always forget to factor in the counter and toe puff, and the fact that they need to be wet, then let dry.
  • Sole + Heels – Forgeddaboutit. Always takes me 2 hours longer than I expect. I need to look around for pre-made bits instead of stacking heels all the time*
  • Finishing – Painful. Cleaning things up, driving to buy shoe laces, fussing over scratches… all time consuming.

* I dont use pre-made heels, I cut and stack up  3 or4 layers of leather to make a block, then shape it on the shoe.

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I’m off to bed as it’s back to computer-land for me tomorrow, but I hope to get back in to the studio asap and get to work on a little something for myself for once.

Listening to : nothing (its all silent at the moment after I cracked the sh*ts at my camera for not working earlier)

fix up look sharp

yes, inspired by dizzee, this window display at craft victoria is called ‘fix up look sharp’

i have been fascinated by the crystal form and have been making shards from my signature porcelain.  i recently went to the melbourne museum to check out the rock and mineral collection and it BLEW MY MIND.  btw, i just emailed my mac service to tell them i was pissed my caps lock was broken. ah hem, its not- you just have to hold it down longer…to avoid accidental turning on.

so, anyway, i have new rock inspired work on display at craft victoria if you happen to walk by.

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2010 is here!

So, it’s finally started… TwentyTen, the year when – if all goes to plan I will…
a. Shave my head to combat baldness and never again concern myself with a “hairstyle”
b. Turn 30
c. Sell my first handmade shoe
d. Open a super-cool-and-casual-and-enviable store with the one and only Dani M
e. Release at least one of my proposed ‘albums’ and start some sort of proper band
… I’m guessing in roughly that order too. It should be fun!

Thanks to the modern marvel that is eBay I am now the proud owner of this bad boy

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A Pfaff 493 for all those trainspotters out there, with the mechanism to attach a lining trimming ‘knife’ to the post,although it is not currently in action.

Even on “slow” it sews faster than anything I have ever used, so it will be hand-turned for a while until I get my nerve up. If anyone can see that I have threaded it wrong, please comment, as it’s 99% right, but has a few thread tension issues.

I have started the year by modifying a last for Dani’s orthotic-shod feet, as the shoes I’m making are all a little tight, so rather than go to town buying new lasts, I’m trying to build one up the old way.

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After a day dicking around with the new sewing machine I managed to tape / draw / cut / trace / create the pattern for another pair of Oxfords. These will be identical to the ‘breezy’ ones, with a second pair in Black to follow.

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And… seeing as I had to jam ANOTHER desk and piece of machinery into my corner of the studio space I decided to take a series of pictures and panorama them together (I should have just used a wide angle lens, but it’s all Blogging On A Budget © around here) so my hordes of fans can see what a little Tetris style cube I work in.
Everything is at arms reach… and not by choice.

Click on it for maximum bigness and see in great detail my lack of quality tools.
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I have it here at super resolution -  if anyone wants to print it at 1:1 and pretend you’re really there.
Note the “Blue Suede Shoes” in the foreground that I’m making for myself…

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and here’s hoping for big busy and successful 2010 for all of us.

Listening to : Floor (their whole back catalogue)
These guys were awesome, the band is no more, key members are now in a band called Torche.
Downtuned madness. If someone wants to start a band like this, I’m keen.