When someone’s passion knocks your socks off

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now…and I think you’ll dig it.

At Craft Victoria, we (back when i was part of ‘we’) donate money to a charity and make our own k.k gifts.  My first was ‘make something from nothing’ and my second was ‘bake’ your gift.

I was super busy and baked my favourite shortbread and dumped it into a box (sorry pip)…I however, was the recipient of possibly one of the most labour intensive gifts, and although I felt a little guilty, I was WAY to excited to give guilt a second thought.

Eric, the Craft Vic exhibition guru, loves makin’ stuff from wood.  When a mini crete with packing straps landed on my plate- I knew it was Eric’s handy work.  And inside…planks of gingerbread wood of course.  Eric is one super awesome dude with a great talent…and I LOVE seeing someone use their creativity and skill any which way they can.

It was an honour to receive something made with such passion and joy.  Thanks Eric x

Putting the FUN in Fundraising…

Hey hey!
Dani and I have decided to pitch in and help a good friend of ours raise some money for the Bicycles for Humanity project by donating some goods to his fundraising raffle / party night!

He (has possibly lost his mind and) is currently in training to ride a SINGLE SPEED BIKE from PERTH to MELBOURNE.. with our other pal Luke planning to meet him half way and keep him company for the rest of the trip. For those of you not good with geography, the trek is 4500km and will take SIX WEEKS non stop. Bananas.


man and machine, getting aquainted before the long haul.

You read it here first, you could WIN the first pair EVER of not-just-for-my-family-members-now Steven Phillips shoes by buying a raffle ticket for $2.00! Whammo!
Dani has also coughed up a top of the line gold necklace set for the raffle, and for those you who aren’t jewels or shoe crazy, there is a maaaassssive meat tray on offer. Heaven.

So, here’s the flyer, and the web address is

http://onespeedryder.wordpress.com/

Check it out, donate, and then come to the party for a helluva good time.

The raffle tickets are being printed as you read this, so you want in on the raffle but can’t get to us in person, or they’re not up on the website yet (or you cant track Paulius down) the tickets are being  sold in books of 10,  for $20.
Just email Dani and I here and we’ll get you as many as you want – you can even pay via credit card, just ask nicely.

Go for it! We would love for the prize(s) to go to someone who reads this blog, so get donating and i’ll get my measuring tape warmed up.

Steve + Dani

Listening to : Bicycle Race – Queen

Salami Making

** apologies in advance to any vegan / vegetarian / meat afraid readers out there **

Finally, last Sunday was SALAMI DAY!
Dani’s family are Italian and pride themselves on making a mean homestyle salami that has been the family recipe for god knows how many years.
We have got our hands dirty for the last few years at her uncle Nick’s house on a cold night in June / July, but this year with the ever expanding family we decided to branch off an host a Maugeri / Phillips salami day so that we don’t keep on crowding more friends and family into Nick and Rosa’s basement.

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Most of the gang getting rrrready to rrrrumble.

This year we had to keep the numbers a little low as we weren’t 100% sure we knew what we were doing or how many people would fit in our kitchen, but now that we’ve done it once we want to do a big communal batch next winter, and you’re all invited (just RSVP before May 2011).

The whole process begins with the peppers… 4kg of capsicums that get cooked down to a kilogram or so of intense puree a few days before the meat arrives.
No photos of this bit, but you can imagine…. It’s very red and smells like capsicum.

Click through for all the meaty goodness, or scroll past if you’re just here for the shoes and jewels…

doré casque en papier mâché

Here begins a long-assed bunch of posts covering the last week of our lives which seems to have been a goldmine for blog-worthy events!
If you are reading this somewhere other than the top of the front page, then the ‘bunch’ of posts i’m talking about are ABOVE this one… get it?

First up is the helmet that I made for our pal Kate’s 30th birthday on the weekend.
As I mentioned earlier, my partner in crime was Troy, who previously knocked up a whole Transformers costume in a few evenings – and when that sort of precedent is coupled with our long term design/sketching/star wars knowledge rivalry I had to pull out all the stops to not look like the lame one of team…DAFT PUNK.

If you have no idea who Daft Punk are, or what their helmets are all about then this post will be much less exciting than if you’re in the know. They’re a French electronic music act… check this out for some education.
On that note, this post is dedicated to Dan Bronsema, who can borrow the finished helmet to when he gets back from the USA if he wants it… I’m sure he’ll find many reasons to wear it. Hi Brons!

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real^…… home made >

Rather than talk you through the whole process (as it won’t be very useful unless you are about make one yourself) here are some craft-o-rama pics for you to check out.

Boots, Benches and Big Talkin’

Hi there!
First up, let me say that this new-house-got-no-broadband-connection situation is starting to wear a little thin… to access that mystical domain that is the internet at the moment I have to:
Borrow Dani’s laptop, bring it to the spare room, turn it on, connect her USB modem, plug it in to the router and wait – usually for 4 spam emails and my daily eBay saved searches – and THEN i get to go online. What a pain, but it’s only for one more week….

So, after just doing all of that AND cleaning up the spare room, here I am with another weekly ‘what has he been up to now’ update.

This week I’ve had 3 projects on the go, and haven’t managed to finish any of them.
At least I’m consistent.

Project 1 is the elastic sided boots to replace Dani’s trashed favourite pair :

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Stage 1 : Transferring (aka copying) the existing design on to a pattern from my chosen lasts (the yellow ones)

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Stage 2 : Change pattern so as not to copy the existing design, make a mockup (from vinyl because its cheaper) and test out the results.

Stage 3 : Find that the new design looks shit. Draw changes directly on shoe. Cut shoe apart and remake pattern. Repeat Stage 2 + 3 for a few days.

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Stage 4 : Arrive at an uninspired but working design. Decide that a front seam is not cool…

* Insert Quick Summary Shoe Makin’ Lesson here *

As I was aware, but chose to ignore, boots pretty much all need some way to stretch in 2 directions at once, or they pucker up like one of those shar pei dogs. The leather can’t be pulled over the top of the last/foot (ie from ankle to ankle) AND also make that nice sloping curve you see going from the top of the boot to the toe without some help.

The proper way to do it is to BLOCK the leather, which is a tricky process in which you essentially pre-stretch the sloping curve in to the leather by pulling it over a rounded bit of wood and nailing it.
The second way to achieve a compound curve (as they are called) is to add a seam to the middle = easy, but it looks, well, like it has a seam in it.
The 3rd way that I came across is to do an armadillo style split up of the section in to many half-moon shaped pieces, and that takes the pressure off, requiring the many little pieces to stretch just a little amount.
Whew.
So I got out the ruler, did some crazy maths and ended up here……

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Stage 5 : Make new pattern with no seam and no blocking required.

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Pile of discarded patterns and mock ups.

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… you see what I mean? Curves baby, thankyou Mr Chircop and Mr Carland for the VCE maths.

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Stage 6 : Sew an upper from real leather, add in some sort of red elastic and get ready to assemble.

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Stage 7 :  Add a sole and heel. Show Dani and get her to try it on. Ready to make the real thing!

Stage 8 : Make a pair of them, add heels, soles, lining etc etc. Tune in next week for that…
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Project 2 is still TOP SECRET – I’m making a costume for a dress up party and it would be no fun to preview it here to all my friends before I get there and bust out the associated poses and dance moves!

Let’s just say it is a bit lame how much effort an ex-industrial design student can/will/does put in to a costume.
Our friend Troy built this for the last one we went to…. so he is setting the bar kind of high…

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Transformer Costume + beer = Hours of work destroyed in a matter of minutes after falling over.

Next week I will have some D.I.Y photos of my effort for you all to see.
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Project 3 has been beginning the long road to designing my first ever range of shoes! Yeeeehaw.

I have decided that my skills are now past ‘super-amateur’ and are moving on to ‘capable’ and I’m thinking that just remaking whatever odds and ends my wife / family are after is not leading me in the right direction.

I’m pretty set on making Chloe / Chanel / Louis Vuitton style ladies shoes, so making another dozen Desert Boots is a bit of a weird way to get there no?
I will continue to cobble for the sake of it, but I think the time has come to get some designs down on paper, some new lasts and start prototyping my own designs. Exciting!

So far this ‘journey’ has consisted of 3+ hours of sitting with a scalpel and a stack of Vogue mags from the last 5 years and cutting out whatever rings my bell, so to speak.

The issue I have is that I’m not exactly designing “what I’d like to wear” as a lot of brand designers do, I am designing for all the well dressed ladies out there – so I will need to construct a character and demographic that I’m designing for BEFORE I draw up another page of directionless shoes.

I’m noticing a definite pattern start to appear in who I like, colours, trends etc, so that’s a start.
Next is to collage together some sort of “muse” and a big fuck off mood-board so that I can gather all my thoughts together.

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The only other thing worth noting is that I added some SWEEEET assed drawers to my desk. These used to belong to Dani’s grandpa, and were salvaged in a big clean up recently. I think i’ll add some Dymo labels to them and try not to rub off the timeless descriptions on there like “cold chisels” and “knobs”… hehe… knobs.

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Hopefully my old bits and pieces will have just as much charm and history when I retire in 40 or so years time, and by then these ones will have double charm as they’ll be 100+ years old and will have lived through 2 careers worth of crapola.

I’m done! Only took an HOUR with this banana internet connection… I hope you like the pretty pictures!

Listening to : Led Zeppelin.
160 tracks on random shuffle, its like one long never-ending album.
I think this is what they have playing in heaven, with some Faces and Tom Petty in the mix.

…now, what was I talking about?

Still no real shoemaking or crafty news for this week… it seems moving house takes up every spare moment of our time, and when it’s combined with packing up / disassembling our studio space, nothing much is getting done.

On a more interesting note, I dropped in to visit James at his fine establishment Captains of Industry yesterday and things have really taken off! He has staff working the coffee machine, a backlog of shoes to get made (something like 20 pairs!!) and there was a comfortable little lunch crowd in there. I had a Chorizo sandwich and a mandarin juice in an enamel mug… and it reminded me how damn good simple food can be when I / we get so caught up in Mastercheffing and it’s evil opposite McDonalds. I need to remind myself (and you all now) to have a sandwich instead of a burger once in a while!

Actually, that was my second recent sandwich revelation… the other was when I saw these pictures on Joanna Goddards excellent blog A Cup of Jo :

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… and proceeded directly to a supermarket for some smoky ham, an apple and block of vintage cheese = Toasted sandwich dinner! mmmmm.
Putting apple in there is a masterstroke. Try it sometime.

Oh, and once we move (ie next week) we will begin preparations for the DANI AND STEVE STYLE ANNUAL SALAMI MAKING FESTIVAL!

Dani’s family are Italian, and have a recipe for some awesome home-made, air dried, salty cured salami.
We have our own meat grinder now (its carnivore central around here) and a recipe in hand, so we’ll be mixing, smacking, poking and prodding a huge pile of pork in a few weeks time to make our year’s supply of snacks.

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** If anyone reading this is genuinely interested in joining us, send me an email. It’s not a glamorous process, but its fun and you get to drink wine and listen to Dean Martin (so I have just decided). We’ll do the prep on a Saturday and make the sausages on a Sunday. **

Seeing as I’m on a roll here with non-shoemaking information and anecdotes, I’ll take a moment to mention Tame Impala’s new album Innerspeaker (< you can listen to it all here).
It kicks some serious ass, and anyone who likes music with guitars and drums involved should check it out.  We saw their concert last week and it was killer, we also saw them swap instruments and do a gig as their other band Pond, and that was almost better! At the risk of sounding like Molly Meldrum – do yourself a favour and get on the bandwagon now before they blow up and become the next Silverchair / Kings of Leon / big assed band.

Oh, and I’d also like to thank my pal Nick King for putting me on to this mad man…Datsik.
This new breed of dubstep stuff puts a stupid grin on my face and makes me say “fuck yeah” at least once a song.

[note : it kicks in at 30 seconds, the intro is a bit weak]

Who would have thought Transformers sound effects could be a musical instrument?

Short Attention Span Steve here –  signing off to go pack stuff and get more dust borne allergies!

Listening to : Tame Impala of course…

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

Emma the Vote-getter

Hey Kids,

Just wanted to note that the lovely Emma Shirgwin aka Emma the Shoemaker has sprung up (unexpectedly I hear) on the list for “Imelda’s Designer of the Year ’09”.

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Imelda’s blog (written by a dude from Sydney named Matthew) is one of the few Australian shoe industry / style blogs out there – and it’s pretty cool to see Emma getting the nod along side industry heavyweights like Nicholas Kirkwood and Alexander McQueen… who I’m pretty sure DONT clock up the hours at a bench cutting, hammering and gluing all of their wares together.

If you’re likin’ what Emma is makin’, head over and click her name. If she wins you can give someone a high five for helping the Aussie industry show people who’s the boss.

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Listening to : Sunn 0))) – Big Church (megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért)

One month down, it’ll be Christmas soon.

There hasn’t been much happening at casa del Dead and Buried lately, it’s been a slow start to the year.
Dani is designing new things that are yet to go public, and I have been on an admin kick, so nothing worth photographing.

We’ve been rocking it at a few gigs, and there are lots more to come in the next few months.

We went to see
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs < Great show, 10 thumbs up from Dani
Aprocessof < Fuckin’ loud, killer riffs.
Them Crooked Vultures < Um, Dave Grohl was there? A bit underwhelming.
The Frowning Clouds < Great sounds, shit scenester crowd.  Booo to hipsters.
… and we (foolishly) got to a Nici Blue Eyes gig too late to see her play. Dagnammit!

Next up is AC/DC, The Pixies and possibly My Disco.

Monarch! will be on the list too, come along, you’ll never forget it.
(… I’d be attending on my own, with the 7 or 8 other Melbourne doom fans.)

Check it out (and yep, I really do listen to / play this sort of music, Dani is a lucky lady.)

Oh, and now the (not so) bad news…  We have no cucumbers! So there will be no pickles!
In what appears to be some sort of seedling tag mixup at Bunnings we have been lovingly tending to 6 PUMPKIN plants for the last 3 months, wondering why they all seemed a little oversized for cucumbers, and have recently been greeted by butternut pumkins galore. Sigh. I mean pumpkins are nice, but no match for cukes in the summer salad area.
… Dani’s plans to make home made pickles are down the drain.

The good news.
We have a new studio pal moving in this week!
The ever lovely Kate will be shoemaker #2 (or #1, we will have to hold a running race or something to find out who is Numero Uno) to be working in our studio space. The annual new-university-year shuffle is going on, so people are moving  in and out and we have put up our hand to take a super-sized space.
Next up is to get her equipment moved in, then we’ll work out where our tools do and don’t overlap before we fill in the gaps.

I have been toiling on some extra-special shoes for myself to wear to my party. They are, – for want of a better word – fabulous.. and will both wow the crowds and cause them to question my manliness. Pics next week.

And one more thing, some dooods from our studio are exhibiting in a new show at Neon Parc starting this week.
Check it out here > http://neonparc.com.au/upcoming_exhibitions.php

Listening to : Colour Haze – Live at DunaJam 2009 (what a gig! what a location!)

Seasons Greetings!

Hello to all of you out there in Internet Land… Hope you all had a merry christmas and are all planning an action packed NYE.

I have been well and truly in holiday mode, so no shoe making pics to show this time. I did receive a niiiice piece of suede / nubuck from Sue for my work KK gift + a pair of laces, so I have to put pens to paper and come up with something to make from it that I can strut around the office in. (I work part-time at a mulitmedia studio, all this craft doesn’t pay the bills just yet!)

Dani has a window display coming up in January at Craft Vic, so she is busily making up new and exciting pieces for that, and I have been lazing on the couch watching the Wire, and listening to my christmas present vinyl on my newly rewired record player.  It’s a hard life.

So not much news for now, but things will be back in full swing next week.
I’ll leave you all with a photo of me SMASHING a few runs in the family Christmas cricket game.
I have finally outgrown my awkward teenager days and have moved in to the ‘uncle who shows all the kids how it’s done’ zone whereby I am required to simultaneously drink a beer and hit tennis balls over the neighbours’ fence.

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There are photos around of Dani watching from the “grandstand” (a car seat leaning against a caravan) but posting them on the internet would do irreparable damage to her social status.

Listening to : The Rat Pack – Live at the Sands
The combination of booze and crooning is perfect for the festive season.