Rowwrr.

Finished assembling this one today, and for some reason it looks a bit more stripper-ish than I intended.
I think its the detached / not very well integrated platform at the front… as I mentioned in the last post it seems like there is just as much that can go wrong in a ‘simple’ shoe and every mistake is out there on display, no ridges, laces, perforations and bows to hide things under!

They do look OK though overall – I just need to get educated on the attachment of heels, glue alone just doesn’t cut it.
Note the sneaky magenta mid sole that didn’t show up very well in the photo.

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Oh, and the second half of the afternoon was spent knocking together a quick soft light photo booth for Dani’s jewellery shots, so that explains the test white-out image above instead of the usual messy desk shots.

Listening to : The Shadows – Foot Tapper

Finally! Progress!

Hey Hey, after 2 days of solid work in the studio I’m back on track.
The desert boots are ready for a few hours of hand- stitching (at home in front of the TV), my workspace is now shoe reference image central (thanks to a new printer) and I managed to get most of two “first-attempt” prototype  shoes made… they’re more for the novelty of seeing a drawing come to life than they are for final details, but they make for great pictures!

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So rather than fill the front page up with loads of new images, I’m going to try my first “read more” divider… click through for lots of new photos.

Boots and Tools

Finally got a photo of the half-way-finished luxury lined desert boots.

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Nothing too exciting to say about them (in fact this whole post seems a little dry, I must have lost my jolly mojo tonight) – but I do have a picture to post of another hand-made tool that Dani and I knocked up the other day!

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I needed an oversized one of those stitch spacing wheel things that dressmakers use, and seeing as how we both have Industrial (product) Design degrees I like to make things instead of wasting time heading out looking around shops trying to find something perfect.

So, with a bit of maths, Dani on the mini hacksaw blade and me on drill and gaffa taping duty… BAM… new tool.

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In case you’re not quite understanding what I’m talking about, I need to make evenly spaced holes around the edge of my sole leather so that I can sew it by hand and not end up with crazy uneven stitches.
With this roller thingo I can trace around the edge of the shoe and get a nice set of even dots to punch holes through, to sew throught later on.

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A little complicated sounding when I try to type it, but in short it saves me lots of time and makes my sewing better. Win/Win.
Seems there are a whole lot of single use, wierd, antiquated shoemaker tools that this job needs, so I’ll post any other impromptu ones I come up with.

Anyhoot, I’m off to do something creative… not in the mood for a night of internet nerding tonight.

Got a wedding tomorrow, congrats to Chris and Sarah, so in their honour :

Listening to : Skyhooks – All my friends are getting married

oh no! zombies!

driving in the burbs the other day- we came across this sign that someone hacked.

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iPhotos

Hey hey!

* I managed to charge up the camera and then leave it at home yesterday, so this week we’ll have to make do with iPhone photos (and no photo of the finished product).

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In an attempt to assess what sort of money this whole shoemaking biz can make for me I have been making another pair of desert boots with stopwatch running. So far I’m at about 4 or 5 hours solid work, and there is still a whole lot of stitching and sole attaching to go yet… so it’s beginning to make sense why proper, traditional, all the bells-and-whistles shoes cost 1000′s of dollars and take days and days of work.

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I’ve tried something different with these ones in that I’m lining them instead of making them with raw suede, it should make them more sturdy and a little more ‘luxurious’ than the other ones without adding much more time to the construction. Value adding! No use making half-assed and double-priced shoes…

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looking totally high fashion in a ‘deconstructed’ inside out way…

So this took me the afternoon to do, and I managed to get the maroon/burgundy upper stretched down and ready to sew the edges by 5pm… then I broke 2 needles trying to stitch through the fat sole material, and officially cracked the sh*ts for the day. Forgot to take one last photo before I trod off home a defeated man.

… then at about 1am I was lying in bed and realised I used thinner leather last time, hence the broken needles, but unfortunately is was too late to do anything about it.

Good news is I can get back on track next time I’m in there! Bad news is that I might not be back in for a week :(

Oh, and check this rocket out… we took a photo of it on a lonely East Village street in NYC last year.
(Just found it again when I downloaded the phone pics.)

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Double chained up, getting no love, and with my name on it!
If only I was a little more evil I could have liberated it back here in my luggage, but I’m no theif.

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… maybe it will still be there when I go back… again…… one day…. dani? Ha ha.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you at the Pixies on Saturday if you’re an old fart fan like us.
I’ll be the guy in the crowd who looks like I came as a Frank Black lookalike. No costume required.

Listening to : Dead Meadow – Sleepy Silver Door

… and we’re back.

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It’s time for us to get up off the couch, out of the kitchen and head back in to the studio tomorrow!
Finally.

The 3 week ‘you’s guys don’t got a permit to be workin’ in here’ council ban has officially passed, and so we are heading back in to get back on track.
My apologies for the whole lot of nothing that has been going on here lately, I promise to get something worth showing online in the next few days.

First up is some desert boots, then something more adventurous.

Thanks for watching, and thanks to Mr Lynch for the screen grab above.

Listening to : Gallows – Black Eyes

I’m a Dizzy Rascal

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Oh yeah, not only do we insist on practicing the crafts of a bygone era, I like to keep it REAL by only developing disorders and illnesses that old people get.
So far… Gout, Check… Vertigo, Check…. what’s next? Scurvy? the Rickets? St Vitus Dance?

So there you have it, I’m home, working, and trying not to turn my head fast or I might fall off my chair.

Rock on.

Listening to : Dani playing Led Zeppelin in the other room.

(I must credit Dani with coming up with the Dizzy Rascal joke, classic!)

Dyeing to find out…

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Oh man, another pun! Headlines are too much fun.
Lets move on from the political rants that have filled our pages lately and get back to what matters… Shoes! Craft! Fashion!

In what may turn out to be an “every cloud has a silver lining” moment, I recently spoke to the staff at both Lefflers and NSW Leather about the possibility of choosing my own coloured leathers, rather than just having to pick through the ‘misc’ selections that they have in their shoemaking sections. Both places gave me the old “it’ll cost you too much, we just order in bits and pieces” answer, as they – probably rightly – think that the shoemaking industry is pretty much dead around here. Dead, but not Buried (cue pre-recorded laughter)…

Not being one to EVER take no for an answer when it comes to a technical challenge, I drove home rethinking my plans – no use designing shoes in full colour if I can only get brown, brown and light brown in reliable quantities – and decided I’d get proper crafty and research dyeing techniques.

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Seeing as leather is pretty hardy, a natural fibre and available in white, I was sure it could be coloured with minimal stress.
After some obligatory screw ups (ie. cooking a batch by overheating it and turning it all into something resembling bacon, dyeing my fingers pink)  I have started to get some success!
The suede takes a looooong time to get any decent saturation, early tests were still white in the middle (see above), but eventually it becomes an awesome rich colour all the way through.

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white suede + dye    |    beige lining + dye    |    white sheep hide + dye

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beige lining + turquoise dye

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I only have a few hides in white or beige, so the other pieces are all non-glossy, but definitely came back to their original shine with a quick post-colouring buff.

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Next up is to look in to either dyeing some nice glossy kid skins and see how they react, and also to test some lacquer / wax / coatings to see how glossy I can get them.
I’m still planning on using off the shelf hides for plenty of shoes, but the designer in me isn’t satisfied with being limited to what I can get when i’ll be competing with all the colours available to even the cheapest non-bespoke brands.

So, I’m not going to divulge much more about what i’m using, and how i’m doing it, but if you’re really keen to find out send me an email when I’m done experimenting and we can talk.

On a more business-y note, Dani and I went to the Buffet Streetwear forums on the weekend and filled pages with info on how to start a shop, how to start a brand and how not to go broke in the process.
Next up is the Refinery fashion forecasting forum and then we get to work on a proper plan (and talk to the bank.. eek).

… and finally, congratulations to Tom and Jess, the best looking newlyweds in the whole damn town!
Their wedding was the most low key, relaxed and best-food-having wedding I’ve ever been to.
The fact that the waiting staff thought I was part of the (non existent) bridal party and treated me like a king didn’t hurt either.

Off to play some drums now, gotta fit as much in to each day as I can… carpe dium I think it is?

Listening to : Wiley – Wot do you call it? …make it in a studio, not in a garage. haha. classic beats.

Special Tom + Jess honeymoon tribute : Blackout Crew – Put A Donk On It