I know, I know.

“it’s November already”…. and now it’s March.

We have been busy I assure you of that. We moved house AGAIN (still in Sydney), Dani has a new collection designed and sampled, we produced a beautiful lookbook for it that I’ll be excited to share with everyone in a little while when the range is ready to be released, and I made some 3D printed shoes in a collaboration with Audrey Thomas-Hayes for VAMFF… on top of us both having other jobs and travelling to Melbourne and Adelaide.

So, no pictures today except for this one… more soon when I get time and we get an internet connection at home!

image

STAY STRONG PEOPLE, keep on striving towards those goals. They will almost always seem impossible, but that’s the whole point.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Dang. 3 weeks already?

It must be the winter months, as weeks are just ticking by and we’ve neglected this ol’ blog. To be honest with you all though, Dani and I are bogged down in work due to us somewhat over-committing on hmmm, EVERY aspect of our lives and thus running almost completely out of money.
A word of warning to people starting small businesses – you run out of money, a lot. If you are silly enough to have a partner / husband / wife / lover who is also a craftsperson slash small businessperson, you will definitely run out of money all the time, every month. Unless you have rich parents or win the lotto, but that is another story.

So, I’d like to type more and upload photos, but I have work to do, so until then, here’s the lowdown :

We are repainting our shop and hope to re-open it in June with a masssssiiiivvvvveeee party.

I made some shoes last week for Russh magazine (woo hoo) but will save the making-of pics until a little later.

On that same topic (the shoes I made were desert boots) I am now in the process of designing out a range of super colourful wintery desert boots to start making asap as a bridge-the-gap collection before I launch my high heel ridiculousness. More on that next week.

Um, I’ve also been helping Audrey make shoes, that’s been fun, she has crazy ideas and I like the challenge of making them happen. Bring it on.

Oh, and both Dani and Emily from our studio will be at MarkIt this weekend – so come on down! Brave the cold! Get some mad cheap jewelleries.
http://www.markitfedsquare.com.au/

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by, and get ready to ‘get your spend on’ when we open the shop next month.
Support local trade, yadda yadda… just come in for a visit, we like visitors.

Winter is coming…

Sorry for the no-posts fortnight again people, it seems that with the onset of Winter in our fair city, all of our enthusiasm has wandered off to find another pair of socks.

We have things on the go, I have managed to make up a completed working solution to my resin insole project, and am now in talks with a few people around town to work out how best to get some proper masters/molds made. I have been photographing everything, but those pics will have to wait until later in the week. Tonight i’m just not in the mood for Photoshop.

We have re-arranged our studio for a new MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY setup, and once everyone gets over the April public holiday marathon I hope we’ll all be back in there working away.

We also have some bangin’ plans for the new shop down on paper…….. if only our bank accounts werent *cough* um, empty, we’d be renovating like madmen. Alas, the perils of self-employment, all the time in the world to do things, but no money to buy things to work with. Bummer really.

On a good note it was Dani’s and my 6th wedding anniversary last week! woo. 12 years together. Ridiculous.

Another good thing is our bestest pal Julie bought us TICKETS TO PRINCE…. for real. Just straight up shouted us. She is a legend.

I will also be heading to Sydney to see the Darkness in a week or so. Road trip, with my sister. Very metal.

Lastly, I’ve kind of forgotten why this shoemaking studio thing all seemed like such a good idea 12 months ago, perhaps it’s to do with the lack of money available to us at the moment, so I best read over my own blog and watch a few more McQueen runway shows on YouTube to remember. It’ll come back to me, just seems a bit silly right now.

Thanks for sticking around, more to come soon.

Oh, and have a look at this if you get a chance, these girls will probably be all over your fashion mags in a year or so, so get down to meet them now before they become too popular to make new friends.

http://bernadettealice.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/get-real.html

Listening to :  My teeth grinding as I sit in the lounge room and plan new plans.

Wanted – 1 x Time Machine, 20+ year travel ability.

Seems pretty much ALL of my shoe making problems (well, except for my non-finished RepRap) would be solved by being able to just zip back to the 70s / 80s / 90s when Melbourne had a thriving, or at least functioning, shoe component industry… so if anyone is working on a Time Machine, let me know.


Uncle Rico’s time machine. Sort of, but not really, what I’m looking for.

Click here to see it in action

After another morning of  “ok, lets do this” enthusiasm I have returned home with a few more potential suppliers crossed off my list and added to the “doesn’t stock those things any more” list, which is now pretty long.

It seems the idea of making, and even worse HAND making, decent women’s high heel shoes is just not on in this country any more. Parts either cost the earth, or don’t exist, suppliers are either closed or take me through tours of their residual stock in the back corner, and I’ve spoken to quite a few people about how the whole industry was lost to offshore production / how Collingwood used to be a goldmine for components…. yadda yadda.

So, on top of having to make my own heels and platforms etc, I am now looking at having to make, or possibly re-invent my own insole units (which you may remember I attempted a year ago with plywood) so that I can make shoes in the dozens, rather than one at a time using odd scraps and makeshift solutions.

Hopefully this doesn’t bum anyone out too much, I’m just venting a little to what I assume is an audience that might face this same problem now or in the future. There is plenty of scope for making amazing shoes here in Australia, lots of passion in the marketplace and plenty of skillful designers and crafty people around, but fuck, it’s reeeeeally hard to get something off the ground when each thing you go to make/order/buy is no longer available or just not viable to buy or use.


empty factory image for added dramatic effect.

Looks like I’m headed towards a Haute Couture level of shoemaking now… where everything comes from my little ol’ hands and every component is customised to my specifications. I guess that’s the price you pay for not accepting mediocre or you-cant-have-that as an answer. It will of course allow me to make jaw dropping designs that aren’t just factory produced items, but it means I need to keep finding reserves of enthusiasm and motivation from a well that is admittedly pretty dry at the moment.

As they say, the night is darkest (or is it coldest?) right before the dawn, so this will hopefully be one of those posts I look back on and go “shit, you were a sook back then” when I get this one million point list all crossed off and some money in the bank  – which would be verrrrrrrry helpful about now.

Keep on at it folks, nothing good comes easy, and um, a watched pot never boils.
That last bit has nothing to do with anything, but why not throw in some more idioms for good measure?

Listening to : Eyehategod. Grrrrrrr.

Surfin’ the interweb

We FINALLY have the internet and a phone line connected at the new workshop! Nothing much new to post, and I solemnly swear not to spend much time dicking around on the computer now that I can… but in the spirit of keeping things ultra-modern here’s a picture of my newly finished shoes, taken in the studio, on a computer and uploaded immediately.

Be careful the ink probably isnt dry so if you rub your screen you’ll smudge the image.

Sorry folks

… for the non updating. So much has been going on that neither of us have been spending time at our computers (which I guess is a good thing!)..  I do have photos here of a few recent projects, some 3D renderings to show off and the beginnings of a new video showcasing Dani’s bowl making process, but none of it is ready to upload today. Tomorrow maybe? Let’s pencil it in.

Just so that this post isn’t TOO boring, here’s a teaser photo of the shoes I made for Nerida. I’ll do a whole post on them asap.

On a more positive note, I’m off in a few hours to meet up with my graphic designererer for the first progress report on my logo and branding. Exciting!

After getting a tax return and paying off some debts it’s also time for me to purchase my full size run(s) of lasts, so look out for a post on that in the coming weeks. That will be some serious cash outlay, so it gets VERY serious from that day onwards.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely Sunday wherever you are!

Listening to – some Zeppelin, Sabbath and Lenny Kravitz in preparation for a bit of band practice later today.

TwentyEleven – Week Four

Hello again! That’s one reasonably exhausting something-on-every-day-of-the-week month down, and 11 more to go. Whew.

In the last week I managed to complete my first prototyped pair of shoes, and have them tried on and modelled by some lovely ladies at a bbq on the weekend.

They pretty much ruined me in terms of late nights and hard work, and I managed to top it all off with ANOTHER deep cut on my finger – but now I’m used to it – a few band-aids do the trick, stitches are too much effort.

I have suggested sewing up my own wounds, but Dani thinks that is ridiculous and stupid.
If I start doing it, I wont tell her. Shh.

But that was all forgotten as Dani and I hosted another of what will hopefully become an annual event, the Jan/Feb bbq and (sort of)  Steve’s Birthday party festival! It was previously held at our old house in Ascot Vale, and has so far been a 35+ degree day both times. Nice.

We made up 8kg of spicy pork sausages on Wednesday, using Dani’s family recipe, and served them up with loads of salads and vegies. It’s food heaven I tell you, except for the poor sucker (me) who has to cook for 45 minutes at a super-hot bbq while the ambient temp reaches 40 degrees. For the record, yes, I suffered heat stroke and spent the rest of the day in a headache-y haze, rambling on to my friends about shoe shops and sausage recipes.

But I digress… here are some shots of the shoes in the making, following on from last week’s test lasting photos.


sewing, and final lasting



my first ever cork platforms, shaped from 20mm cork sheet. Fun, but dusty.


heels on, taking shape now




almost complete… just buckles, outer sole and the sock-liner to add here.
I’ll take some nicer shots of the finished product this week in our fancy all-white photo booth.

So that is deadline #1 met – prototype one designed, patterned, made and test worn by Jan 31st!
I hope to produce one prototype per week for the next few months, and then step it up to 2 pairs of saleable shoes a week by May, building up stock for actual sales in July-ish?
Harpers Bazaar, here I come…

I also have 3d printers to build, leather dye to work out (the stuff I ordered from Italy was a bit so-so, and I think my quantities are still to low for Aussie tanneries and merchants to offer me custom colours, boooo) , LOTS more designing to do, heel / buckle / fabric print collaborations to try and arrange as well as branding, boxes, etc etc etc etc. The list is immense.

Dani is hard at work on some samples for a Craft Vic liaised opportunity that seems like a very cool thing to be involved in, but we’ll let you know more about that if/when it goes ahead.

But it’s my real birthday this Friday, so this week will be low-key and a bit unproductive as I rest up and recharge my enthusiasm batteries
Thanks for reading all this crap I type, and thanks again for all your comments, email and high-fives. It really helps keep me going (and up all night typing more crap)

As a bit of a treat / multimedia test, here’s a bit of video I shot on our old camera of the Laser Cutter in action.
It’s a Flash Video file, so let me know if it causes any browser / plugin issues. If not, I’ll add more of them in the future.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Listening to : The air-conditioner whiiiirrrrrrrrring in the background.

Pandora’s Box

Ah, this whole “if I need it i’ll just make/learn/attempt it myself” tendency leads me down some tricky paths… Seems the missing part of my shoemaking toolbox isn’t a rasp, knife or hammer at the moment, it’s advanced 3D CAD modelling skills. Obviously.

No use having a geeky 3D printer half built on my desk, and no real way to make the 3D data it needs to print is there?

So, when there’s nothing much on TV on a Monday night why not throw on some tunes and LEARN how to use SolidWorks?
… and that’s where we are right now. 10.30pm and well into a bunch of tutorials that should have me modeling my own lasts/heels/buckles/Travis Bean castings** in no time.
It’s painfully nerdy, but (ehem) parametric modeling is a beautiful thing to behold on screen. Change a number and BAM, all your other dimensions are adjusted. It’s nuts.


SolidWorks -  this one’s not my model, but you get the idea.


**Travis Bean = Aluminium necked guitar (on the ‘one day i’ll make myself one’ list for my retirement)

There are also photos of my prototype shoe patterns to show, but they’re on the camera, and it’s out in the shed. Maybe tomorrow.

Day 2 of the designerizering went well – for those who asked – and I headed out to the shed on the weekend to tape / draw / trim and transfer the patterns for 2 of the 3 prototypes I hope to have ready for our housewarming/bbq in 2 weeks time! I have to source some vivid coloured leathers on Thursday to use, learn how to crochet/weave or something to make a patterned inlay for one of my designs, and then Friday I’m off to meet an old pal Chris Peters who has a Laser Cutting machine! AWESOME.

Rather than print / handmake the heels for my prototypes I’ll be getting Chris to cut up a whole lot of discs that I’ll stack up and shape into my exact specifications. They will be slightly heavier than if they’re made from plastic (I’m using MDF) but they’ll look the part until I get my plastic printer online. SO MUCH TO DO!!

Anyhoot, I’ll be back with photos and documentation later this week… because I love to talk, and you people are the perfect audience…. better than rattling on to strangers on the train.

Listening to : Prince – Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic

Happy Birthday to us!

Hey kids,

I’ve just noticed that it’s the 1 YEAR birthday for this here blog this week!
We missed the actual day by a few, but you know, it’s the thought that counts…So shut the hell up and eat some cake.

In honour of this momentous occasion I commissioned a KICK ASS transformers cake that had BOTH bumblebee AND optimus prime together in one powerful pose that should easily strike fear in to the hearts of any bad dudes who were lurking nearby trying to get some of the fairy bread and cordial we had on offer.

Unfortunately the KICK ASS pose did not eventuate due to time restrictions, so the ESSENCE of the heroic stance was boiled down to its… um… essence and this is what you get. *

See that, transformers so powerfully disguised as a bad cake that you didn’t even notice the glittery logo on top? Whapppow!… glitter all in your face.

So, thanks for reading, stay tuned for a much more eventful year ahead as I get my robot online, make shitloads of genius shoes and Dani takes her jewellery to so many new levels we’ll need a ladder around here.

Listening to :  Me singing happy birthday to myself in the computer room.

* note that that was all rubbish, this is just a photo I found on the internet.

Monthly Musings

Hey kids, seeing as my RepRapper hasn’t arrived yet (long story, but it IS coming… at least I hope it is) I don’t have too much to show off at the moment… but I do have some news, I have given notice at my computer nerd job and in two more weeks I’ll be starting a new casual/freelance job the whole shoe making machine will rattle in to gear again! Fuck yeah.

I guess the best I can offer is some social news, some photos of things and some images from my ever-increasing folder of inspiration shoe images, so grab a cold drink and sit down for a read.

First up, we hosted a second-time-around grand final bbq (for those of you not from Australia, our equivalent of the Superbowl was a draw, so they… wait for it… played it again the following week??? who understands these sport people?) and it was a glorious sunny day. We got to fire up the bbq and officially welcome the onset of sunny weather!


suburban backyard BBQ crew…

Prize winner #1 Lauren was at the party, so I managed to measure her (very well manicured) feet and suss out a little on what sort of shoes she’d like.
Lucky for her I have a high-heeled last in her size, so the current plan is to make a nice pair of Mary Janes, something like this:

.. I’ll work out the colour/details/finish etc once I’m back at the bench, but at the moment I’m liking the metallic heel + dark upper.

We also managed to plant our vegie garden, so here are some shots of it… this is the biggest amount of land we’ve had to utilise so far, but decided against planting 10 of everything as we usually find we end up with lots of undernourished vegies, this time we’re gunning for quality over quantity.

In true Yarraville (aka stuff white people like ) style, we have planted ‘heirloom’ tomatoes and a whole lot of basil for summer salads in alllll the colours of the rainbow (well, red and green and yellow). Dani has a bunch of cucumber plants in there now too with plans to make pickles New York / Katz Deli style. Yum.

For those of you who are interested and non-vegetarians, here’s how our home made salami turned out.

They’re too small, my fault for buying the wrong sausage skins, but they taste AWESOME, sweet, a little bit salty, a little bit spicy…. mmmmmm
You will also notice our attempt at Pancetta on the board. It kind of worked, but the recipe I was following suggested a week in salt… the Italian family members suggest a DAY, so of course it is so salty it makes your face hurt when you eat it. We’ll be saving that one for cooking…..

We bid farewell to Paulius last week, and he should by now be a week or so in to his big trip.
I am planning on getting in touch with him today to offer to update his blog for him as I think Internet Cafe’s are going to be a bit thin on the ground as he crossed the NULLABOR… my goodness.

In music news, I went to see the Boredoms play their Boredrum 10 at the Forum last week……. 10 drummers on stage letting rip = a spectacle, astounding, loud…and then very tiring. I stuck it out, but my poor ears were yearning for some riffs! We also went to see Dead Meadow last night and unfortunately had to leave after 3 songs. The mixer was possibly listening to something else, as what I was hearing SUCKED BALLS and was so dissapointing we left. They may have fixed it later on, but my mojo was ruined.


The Boredoms + an army of drummers = a glorious headache.

So, thats the social update, now on to some shoooooes.

These aren’t in any particular order, just a dump of what I think kicks ass at the moment, which should give you a decent idea of the direction I’m hoping to take my first range / first designs :


some Versace madness from earlier this year…


Balenciaga, I dig these, but I’m thinking the tech-y stacked up platform look will date pretty quickly…


I reeeeeally love strong coloured suede, so expect some in my range for sure.


I’m a fan of the small-amount-of-colour idea too… especially with neutrals and perforations.
These ones are from “Ports 1916″


These are siiiiick. I forget who they’re made by… sorry!

… I think these are by, like, Ruthie Davis or someone?


Chanel, and Cerruti… I’m a fan of the warm yellow-y red cowgirl / Deadwood colour palette(s).


This picture makes me want to throw in some matching socks with each pair of my shoes….

LEFT : I’m still hoping to design something ‘fierce’ like these for my sister in the next month or so.

RIGHT : How awesome is that rubbed back yellow toe?? The rest of them I could take or leave, but that detail is GOLD.


Big fat Alexander Wang boots. I’m not a big boot fan, but the suede + raw leather here is niiiice.

… and next up is my pick for Steve’s-favourite-shoes-of-the-year-so-far… Dior Fall 2010!

I just looked online and they come in white / beige too? Faaark, they are killer.

…and to finish, Mr Galliano himself.
That man knows no boundaries when it comes to pirate-y fancy-man runway posing, but dammit he designs some nice stuff.

I have a lot of respect for someone who can rock that man/lady look with such conviction!

So that’s it.. it’s late… I need sleep. Adios.

Listening to : Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath