TwentyEleven – Week TwentyOne

Another week gone and more miscellany to post about.
There’ll be less typing this week as it’s cold and I have an episode of Masterchef to catch up on!

The last week saw the following things happen :

1. Dani FINALLY travelled with me to one of my favourite places in the world, my uncle and auntie’s farm in NSW.

It’s remote, and it’s a farm, so not really Dani’s cup of tea at all, but being the trooper she is she not only sucked up some potential agoraphobia, she also went with my crazy idea of catching the train so I didnt have to drive for once.

It was great, we have devonshire tea on the train, we saw foggy countryside, we ate, we ate more, we had a BONFIRE! oh yeah. We also saw fresh week old lambs, went fishing in the dam, I rode a motorbike around (like a boss) and picked olives from a rarely looked at and never before harvested Kalamata olive tree that was growing there. Score! All within 36 hours. Madness, but very fun. Thanks to the Richardson crew if anyone is reading this.

2. I found this native flower thing. It’s cool. I might use it for design inspiration.

3. I worked on some prototypes for Nerida, the textiles student I mentioned last week.

skethcing and transferring patterns

quick-fix insole and counter technique.

sewing and lasting

fat cork wedge BEFORE

fat cork wedge AFTER

Prototypes #1 and #2.

Prototype #1, with the handwoven fabric Nerida has made for me to use on the final pair. Nice!

4. I assembled my new bike. It is black.

Ignore the blue seat and lack of grips. They will be covered in LEATHER soon. (like a boss)

5. Dani made more bowls, and delivered more bowls.
Then we drank this Frenchy fancy Saison, and some wine.

nice bottle top detail. Bad use of camera white balance.

The bottles, in a rare unopened state that our kitchen rarely sees.

6. Dani and Coop took a well earned nap*

*Disclaimer : Coop did not earn his nap, and this wasn’t taken the same night as the wine was consumed.
I just used some editorial licence to make it look that way.

Thanks for reading kids, it’s been a blast.
Off to pass loungeroom criticisms on some amateur chefs and perhaps squeeze in one more episode of Project Runway.

Listening to : Dance music., still. Dani is concerned.

TwentyEleven – Week Twenty

Jeezus, how time flies huh? Week 20? That’s almost half way…

This week brought another flurry of activity, but not much in the way of photo worthy crafting. I hate to keep bringing you these non-event posts, but it seems admin and NGV bowls are all we’re cooking up lately. That said, I get bummed out when other bloggers just drop off the internet for months at a time, so hopefully this chatty banter is welcomed by some of you out there.

Dani delivered batch #1 of her bowl sets to the NGV but was struck down with a pretty bad case of ‘too much hunching over the workbench’ back ache and had to down tools before she finished the whole lot. They’ll be in the kiln this week and delivered asap! The final product looks fucking great if you ask me, facets, glossy insides and a sweet little co-branded logo make for a very ‘profesh’ looking product. We’ll shoot some photos soon.

What else, hmm, I painted my bike black in the few spots of sunshine, and it looks mean. 100% matt black. ooh yeah.

I also managed to get back to the shoemaking bench for a few hours here and there, and set myself the task of investigating plywood moulded midsoles. After a day of mad professor invention I have a formula that works, but am now questioning how far to take the “hand made” aspect of my range…… I fear that making EVERYTHING myself is perhaps setting me up for lots of unappreciated labour when products out there exist to do the job perfectly well, and are used by every other shoe label around it seems.

So here’s a bit of a peek at my latest mold + clamps + plywood setup for the craft lovers out there.

this setup resulted in a pretty good, even pressing. but its still not 100% flat.

… and for the “is this dickhead serious?” people out there, a comforting assurance that I will be talking to Bruce at Shoe Lasts Australia BEFORE I get too mental on this handmade thing, in case he can just hand me some sort of pre-made midsole that makes me go “ahhhhh…. that’s exactly what I was looking for, how much? 50 cents each? oh…”.

I’ve spoken to him about my first order of a few full size runs of high heeled lasts ($$$$, ouch) so when that goes ahead I’m in the business of shoemaking for real!

And in amongst all the tax returns, 3D work, house cleaning and car repairs I also popped in to the Melbourne RepRap Users Group meeting on the weekend!!

see? A working Mendel, a working Prusa and a bunch of dudes who know what they’re doing.

That’s right, a USERS GROUP!
ie. More than one person in the room who not only knows what a RepRap is, but who have working ones, advice to give and parts to sell. Woo hoo. So I am now the proud owner of a custom made set of electronics to replace my disgraced (and cooked) old ones, so Derek should be printing in a matter of weeks. Hot damn.

A side project I have on the go (you can never have enough side projects) is helping a cool chick from the RMIT textiles course with her mid year assignment. I’m taking some hand woven fabric of hers and making it into a pair of fashionable wedges, which is exciting. More pics when it’s done, but for now here’s a sampler.

I know, you all like pictures, but its 11pm on a Sunday and I cant be bothered editing and uploading more 🙁

So, have a good one, and I’ll be back later in the week with more updates, more photos and more words. lots of words.

Listening to : A suprising amount of ‘dance’ music, ala Ministry of Sound Annuals.
Dunno why, I usually don’t. But it’s on the iPod this week non stop.

Dani is not impressed.

New to my collection

A recent exhibition at Pieces Of Eight called Rock Solid saw artist Leah Jackson almost sell out all her work on the opening night.  I was lucky enough to get in rather early and score these three beauties.   I was able to bring them home and add them to “My Melbourne Ceramics Collection” (I had to make this up to stop Steve giving me the ‘eyebrows’).  Its small- so far it consists of a tea pot by Del Stewart, these cups…and a whole lot of dani m (mostly seconds so totally worthless).


Have I already used that headline? Probably, oh well.

This weekend saw the first successful firing of Dani’s bowls (by first I mean batch #1 of about 10 firings…) so we are both a little happier now that that has happened.

She is still in molto riduculoso production mode, HAND SANDING every one of the 150 or so bowls, but that’s how you get results kids, hard work, no shortcuts. I tried to make her a drill accessory to make it ‘faster’… only proved to make it messier and less accurate. She was back to manual mode 20 minutes later. I admitted a (rare and crushing) defeat.

So, no pics yet of the final product, but here’s a few more in-the-making shots from the video documentary thingo.

I have been working like a nutbar, spent all weekend using 3D software to model blocks, buckets and bags of cheese… long story. I’ll explain later.

I also managed to fit in an hour of bike resto action, turning my $50 ebay bargain into a pile of bits and then sanding until I could sand no more.

Next up is to unload 4 cans of matte black onto it to make it the meanest, stealth-bomberest looking bike on my street.

Here’s a photo from the plywood shoe moulding session just as a tease. Its a bit ‘experimental’ at the moment, so i’m going to hold off on the full feature expose until I have something useful, otherwise I’m just wasting internets (that is the unit of internet time we measure things in around here) on something that may just embarrass me and lead others astray.

Rock on kids, and be sure to have a look / listen at this… the best thing I’ve heard and seen in weeks.
** “Brave yet sensible Dave” has pointed out that it is NSFW due to some  swearing… be warned **

Missing In Action

Hey peeps, another week has slipped by with very little crafting involved, but that’s no reason to skip a blog post is it?

In the last 7 days I’ve managed to :

– Research, purchase and test the idea of making plywood/veneer insoles for my high heeled shoes.
The last few pairs I’ve made from 100% leather + a shank seem to be a bit soft and have some twist to them that I don’t like. Dani vouched for this when she wore the black ones for a few hours, she found they moved a bit as she walked (from left to right) which is no good in a 4″ heel. More on this with pics on the weekend.

Buy a bmx off eBay
… and only THEN understand how far away Pakenham is when I had to pick it up. It may as well be in Tasmania.

– Help Dani drop 100 or so bowls off to Northcote Pottery for a large scale kiln firing.
In ‘borrowed’ bread crates. shhh.

– Purchase, pick up and move our Retail Fitout from the now closed Mac Pelican! Woo! Shelves!

– Oh, and FLY TO PERTH  for 2 days at last minute notice.
It was my second ever ‘work trip’ … an action packed visit to some site we’re producing a video about at Squint Opera.
Whilst there we shot hours of digital video (on cool 7D slr’s), walked about 10kms in laps around the cbd and soaked up the sun.
I’ll also do a little post on Perth and what I found there later this week for those interested.

So, a busy week, a tired Steve and so much more work to do.
Off to nerd it up again today and then head to this event tonight :

Stop flooding my record collection is a charity exhibition where artists have created new original covers for jazz records salvaged from the Brisbane floods.

Opening Night: 6pm, Friday May 6 and 10am-3pm May 7/8 at Smiley McSlidey – 124 Nicholson St, Brunswick East, Victoria.

All proceeds go to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.