Where the magic happens…

Hello, and welcome back… it’s been a while!

I’ll begin today’s lesson with a quick introduction to the new setup we have here.
We are now (renting of course) in a lovely big house in Yarraville as mentioned earlier, Dani has a room inside and I have converted the shed to a workshop.

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All this fog and cold makes for some nice Bill Henson-esque photos.

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Inside the shed panorama wide-angle beastie-boys-filmclip style photo.
My workspace still a bit wonky in places as I’m using plastic shipping pallets to create a false floor (to avoid any cold/flooding issues in the future) and I dont have enough to do the whole floor yet – so things are a bit ‘up and down’… I keep thinking about that Seinfeld episode where Kramer is talking about converting his house to “all levels Jerry…” except these levels are more annoying than stylish.

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Leather stack… starting to get a nice little selection now.

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This piece of GENIUS is from our old studio pal Jeremy Ley
He’s the kind of guy who makes you want to miss phone calls just so that he has to leave you a note.

The pics below are from Dani’s little sunroom / studio setup, which I think is as close as she can get to her old Carlow House studio for now.

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(promo posters from her lauch party at Alice Euphemia give her someone to talk to)

Anyhoot, I have settled in and revived a few old shoe projects that had been neglected for a while.
I’m planning and test-fitting some shoes for my little sister who is now a 2nd year apprentice hairdresser and needs good shoes… so I hope to rectify that by hooking her up with some comfort-central hand made ones.

I also finished the ‘deluxe’ desert boots that I started way back in March, and Dani has been rocking them on the streets of Melbourne over the last week.
I changed plans a little and decided to go for a randed edge instead of a stitch-down construction as the whole hand-stitched thing was testing my patience (I don’t know how you do it on every pair James!).

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These ones have lining etc too, so they’re essentially desert boot styled shoes, with the fit and construction of a derby/oxford.

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Leather soles + Topy = ready for the streets.

Next up will be a new pair of winter boots for Dani, based loosely (or quite closely depending on how lazy I get with my pattern making) on the ones in the photo that she has almost worn out.
A bit of pattern tweaking and some “reverse engineering” and I’ll be ready to go.

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I also bought what I could from Leffler in 70mm heels to match the lasts I have here, so they’ll be put to use on something more glamorous than boots and more boots in the coming weeks (perhaps like this blue masking tape + texta mockup)

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So, that’s it for today, thanks for reading and thanks to all of our friends who have popped in over the last few weeks to make our house VERY warmed indeed – considering we are yet to actually throw a houswarming party!
Special mention to DB for being a one-man dancefloor, humping my TV, trying to steal soccer merchandise from our local pub AND riding my bike home in the rain last night…  a stellar effort for a non-party night.

Listening to : The Vines (they all sound a bit same-ish, but in a good way, so pick any album)

Oh, and a super sized congratulations to out pals Nicky and Tom on the arrival of their baby boy Milo, nice work kids.

Extra Curricular Craft- The Tote and Patch Projects

Dani here.  Thought I’d show you all some side projects I’ve been working on.

Firstly, I work at Craft Victoria, a gallery and shop for good quality craft.  For those of you not in the know, its hard to explain ‘good’ craft almost doesn’t look hand made.  Its so well made that, yeah, you can ‘see’ its handmade, but its also well designed and overall a beautiful object.  Craft for me IS NOT just about the technique and skill involved to make it…without design and a good eye, craft can just look plain ol’ ugly.  We don’t do ugly craft at Craft Victoria.

So, Craft Victoria turned 40 this year.  To celebrate, two local artist/craft peeps, the lovely Dell Stewart and her man Adam Cruickshank designed a tote bag.

A comp was run for the best customised tote…this here, is my entry- and yay, I won runner up!  I never win stuff.  NEVER

Craft Queen Pene Durston won with her amazing entry.  Check them all out here.

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Secondly, Liz Wilson, asked some of the girls at CV to contribute to the Patchwork Project.  Liz has a cute blog that i check a couple of times a week (keep it up Liz).  Anyway, the idea is to give crafties a piece of fabric and ask them to create a patch using it.  The finished quilt gets raffled off and money is raised for different charities.

So, I say yes, sure, no worries.  I was genuinely excited.  Only, I don’t sew so well.  How hard can a patch be I ask myself?  Well, hard when no sewing machines can be used.  Ahh, I haven’t sewn anything by hand since year 9!  That’s half my life ago.

For weeks I avoided it.  What the hell am I going to do??  And finding out all the talented peeps on the bill, I freaked out.  Time was running out- I was not going to back out- that’s one thing my Dad drilled into me as a kid- don’t be a flake.

I power walked up to Tessuti Fabrics on my lunch break and grabbed what I could.  It would be impossible to walk away without a crap load of beautiful fabrics- they were sent from heaven I’m sure.  And…they have an online shop so everyone can experience the joy of Tessuti!

the fabricthe fabric

fabricsmy selection

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in the makingin the making

stichingmy hand sewing efforts

I will upload an image of the finished patch in the next few days…if all goes well.

Home SWEEEEEET Home

Hey people, Dani and I have relocated to our new place and although it’s painfully overcrowded with boxes and a magazine collection from a TV special called something like  “The sad reality of people who never throw anything out”… we still have room to move and are already happy with our choice of location.

We’re living in Yarraville now, amongst a whole crew of other late-20s-nicely-dressed-with-kids-on-the-way-or-at-least-planned-to-be people. There’s good coffee to be had, second hand furniture and 2 book shops, goodbye Sundays with nothing to do!

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Cornershop – good food, good drinks, warm heaters.
Photo: Eddie Jim

I will post up some shots of the new setup soon… until then, be excellent to each other.

Listening to : Damaged – Nails
* thanks to Tom for putting this on a mix tape in 1996 as a laugh, little did we know how “metal” my tastes would become. I listened to this album last night, whilst wearing a black beanie with “Kings Cross Sydney” on it, in my Toyota Camry, which is unfortunately one of the least brutal Metal cars around.

…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 :

apple-cheddar-sandwich-melt best-sandwich-cheddar-apple

… 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…

Homewares are back!

9 years ago when I started working with clay- I created a range of vases and vessels.  First in white, then in pastel colours.  I stopped because they took too long (bad mould= need to sand the surface for ages) and even though I made them BEFORE Mud, I didn’t stand a chance since the owner of Mud is mates with Donna Hay.

Anyhoo, enough ‘o that.  Some peeps have been asking me to make stuff again, and now that I work at Craft Victoria, I can see where the gaps are.  I’m also gearing up for a couple of exhibitions- both are related to tea drinking.  At least I drink tea like there’s no tomorrow.

I have to say, I’m totally enjoying making the original shapes by hand.  I’m using the coil technique.  Its where you roll long bits of clay and coil them into a shape, then smooth the sides.  These will be fired then sent to the masters of mould making at Northcote Pottery.  I have made moulds before…but I don’t want to screw it up.

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Finally NEWS!

Hey people,

Dani and I are soon to be Yarravillians, we have just signed on to a new lease on a house in Yarraville with 3 bedroom AND a garage.

Dani will be working from the 3rd bedroom (the first is for sleepin’ and the second is for my collection of awkwardly large bits musical gear and for me to sleep in when I’m in the bad books) … and I will be setting up the garage to be shoe making central. I assume there is some sort of man’s man rule against setting up a garage workshop and then filling it with pictures of high heeled shoes, but if I don’t tell any manly men, no one will know.

It has been about a 3 week turnaround from deciding to look for a new place and getting the keys, so it’s all a bit frantic at the moment around here.

We’re packing up things already, and looking forward to our first stroll to Ballarat St for a coffee and Smoked Cod pie at Hausfrau… mmmm…

On a nerdier note, I have also discovered that there is a little handful of people out there putting their years of practice making Lego and jigsaw puzzles to good use and creating something that was – until recently – completely out of the hands of the home craftsman… RAPID PROTOTYPING!

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http://reprap.org/wiki/Mendel

For those of you who aren’t industrial designers, Rapid Prototyping = 3D printing = a machine that can create ANY form from plastic that you can imagine once you model it in a computer.
Luckily for me I am:

a. A nerd – with nerdy friends
b. Good at Lego and building model cars
c. Employed as and therefor quite good at being a 3D animator / modeller
d. About to move to a house with a garage
e. An Industrial Designer

… so with those powers combined I hope to make one of these bad boys before the end of the year, and then I’ll be able to manufacture my own heels and shoe parts at home in ANY shape, size or crazy assed construction that I want. Ahhh… that makes me happy, as I hate having my designs dictated by what I can find laying on the shelf at Lefflers.

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this is the sort of stuff I’m talking about.. all printed in 3D from plastic… AWESOME.

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Throw some hand-dyed leather into the mix and I’ll be equipped to make 100% custom shoes that wont be the same as everyone else’s.
So things like this will be possible, rather than “oh yeah, like that’s gonna work”…

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Oh, and one last thing… Sydney ladies, I applaud you.
My god, we were there on the weekend and the ratio of jaw-dropping beautiful shoes to ‘crushed to death ballet flats with my foot hanging out the side’ was the opposite to what I’m seeing around Melbourne.
Granted, there are some very snappy dressers in Melbourne, but Sydney was killing it last weekend with the “I’m popping out for coffee in my Chloe’s” stakes.
Lucky for me Dani knows that my roaming eyes are locked groundward, so I don’t get a slap in the head for checking out the ladies when it’s ‘business related’ hahaha.

Anyhoot, back to packing for me….
Listening to : Beck – Bottle O’ Blues (not intentionally, it came on the iPod just now)

Still no news

Sigh, this whole blogging thing is no fun when you pack up the tools and head off to work for a few weeks! No making stuff means no photos, which means no content… boo.

Dani and I have just finished a month of full-time working for ‘the man’ (an attempt to clear up a few getting-a-bit-stupid credit card debts) and now we’re walking head on into a month of moving studio, and most probably our house too.

We’re thinking of combining home and studio space again, so we’ll need to move a little further out to the ‘burbs to get something with more space than we can find in inner city Melbourne at the moment.
So, if you are one of the few souls who checks here for shoe making news and gossip, sorry! Give me a few weeks and I’ll have a studio attached to my house which will DEFINITELY mean at least 2 or 3 shoe making posts a week… I’ll have my computer and my shoe stuff in the same room = blog central.

For now, check out the link below… this is what I’m talking about when I say nice shoes.

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Raphael Young’s new range – Image from Refinery 29.

Listening to : Earth  – The bees made honey in the lion’s skull

Music for listening to in an office when the days drrraaaggg onnnn….

I apologise Jean-Michel…

On behalf of the shoe community, I apologise for the following blight on your legacy, ‘cos I’m pretty sure Reebok aren’t going to.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve

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Image and Text from www.theshoebuff.com

"Reebok has released a collection in collaboration with designer Jean-Michel Basquiat;
 a line most notable inspired by parts of his Suite of Fourteen Drawings.
 The addition of text on the shoes lends to its classic DIY pump-meets-punk aesthetic."

fuck offfff….

1. how can you ‘collaborate’ with someone who is dead?
you can’t – but you can license their work and plaster it all over your product.
2. Basquiat wasn’t a designer, with business cards, and a desk… he was an artist.
3. I really doubt enough ‘punks’ do (or did) D.I.Y jobs on their Reebok pumps to declare it an aesthetic.
4. I could go on all day about this…

The stupid thing is they’re not terrible looking shoes, but are completely pointless.

And embroidered logo on a pair of white shoes is not a collaboration, its a misappropriation of a piece of art that had a meaning and purpose all of it’s own, and I’m guessing that probably didn’t include selling overpriced footwear to the general public.

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… and don’t get me started on the irony involved in using his text – something vaguely about the inequities of modern life and ‘big money’ and the rat race etc, on a pair of shoes – made in china, and sold for what is no doubt a 2000% markup on the price paid to the worker who made them.

This stuff reeeeeeally shits me off, not just because I hand make shoes, not because I’m a Basquiat fan, but mainly because I used to collect ‘collectable’ sneakers until the big brands clearly ran out of ideas, and have resorted to crap like this and ‘Iron Maiden’ collaborations and ‘lets take the sole of one Nike and glue it to the upper of a different one and call it a ‘hybrid’.

Grrrrrrr. There, how I have vented my anger somewhat.

Listening to: The sound of the sneaker industry punching the art community in the face.

Hot Damn

Seeing as a whole lot of nothing is still going on in Dead and Buried land – mainly due to Dani and I both getting asked to do some full time work for our respective part-time jobs – here’s a link to someone out there in the big wide world who is doing exactly what I plan to do, and that’s pretty inspiring.

(I’m not one to see similar work as cause to rethink my ideas, I see it as healthy for the industry and healthy for me… it gives me something to benchmark against / compete against = motivation!)

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Raphael Young – Tsuka 1 (S/S 10)

So, if you like your shoes intense, shapely and hand made, check out Raphael Young

http://www.raphaelyoung.com/

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Raphael Young – 300-03 (S/S 10)

I’m not 100% sure of his whole story yet, but it seems he is a 30-something year old shoemaker, with an uncle who designed for YSL, and has a varied background (physics and engineering before fashion design) that helps him come up with some pretty impressive towering heels.

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Raphael Young – 301-04 (S/S 10)

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Raphael Young – 90203-01 (S/S 10)

So, have a look, buy some if you get a chance, and then if you do, bring ‘em by my studio so I can get all research-y and break out my magnifying glass to see what he does and what he uses!

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Raphael Young – Eagle One A (F/W 09)

The wooden soles on these older ones are great, maybe I can get my dad in on the game whittling me up some soles when he retires… or if I know him it’d be more like ‘buying a massive lathe from Bunnings and going into full production mode’.

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Raphael Young – Shira (S/S 09)

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Raphael Young – Bizen (S/S 09)

Getting back to the problem of the lack of creative work lately from Dani and I, it’s also because we’re STILL officially banned from our studio space by the Melbourne Shitty* Council because some douche-bag has declared not-for-profit arts and craft a no-no in his part of town. There is a permit application in the works, and fines are being issue for anyone using the building. Wonderful.

* see what i did there, with the humour?

[insert political rant here]
So from what we can gather, officially its fine to open a shop, as a business, with no customers, and make no money (like i’m sure lots of failing businesses do) but if you make art and don’t intend to make money from the outset, therefor denying the government and council their taxes… vrooomp…getthehellouttahere.
sigh.
[end rant]

Now that we know money is definitely the grease that keeps the wheels of the city in motion, we’ll be sure to set up our new studio as a “shop”, selling outrageously overpriced cans of coke, so we can make craft in our ‘downtime’ when no customers are there to buy our one-of-a-kind super-cokes.

Listening to : Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
…on the way in to work today, in my car, at full volume. Rock on.

No news is not good news, it’s boring.

Hey Deadfans, both Dani and I have been in holiday-from-the-studio mode over the last week (Easter weekend), so that should explain the lack of posts.

We did manage to revamp the garden, get hayfever, rest, continue with the garden, drink beers, have a family lunch AND make a long overdue visit to my Grandma… but none of that is particularly interesting to the dozens of people who check this site (yearly).

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Images sourced from a super special plugin that captures our readers in action via their webcams

One bit of news to note though (just for bragging’s sake) is that our dear pals Tom and Jess are moving to the UK for keeps, and as sad as that is, we take some solace in knowing that the 50 or so pints of Tom’s delicious home brew he left with us will numb the pain nightly for a good few weeks!
Ha ha, hellloooo gout, I’ll be seeing you soon.

So, in lieu of any crafty pictures I am going to put up some more ‘inspiration list’ images that I have here on my computer… No real reason, other than it might get you inspired, or simply let you know a little more about the complicated and conflicting set of tastes and interests I have.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only vintage-amp-and-art-and-cooking-and-ladies-shoes-and-psyche-rock obsessed shoemaker-slash-3d-animator in town…