Golden Oldies

So many possible puns to make here… Golden Days, Golllllden Years (bop bop bop)… Old Gold?
I’ll stop there.

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Finally, a proper update on the life and times of the Dead and Buried crew! 2010 has officially begun!

On the news side of things, we have a new honorary member of the clan, Kate Rogers has now taken residency in our studio space, and will soon be joining us for many dusty glue fumed hours of cordwaining as she attempts to retreat from the world of graphic design one day at a time. She’s ingrained pretty deep where she works, so we don’t expect to see her too often for a start, but it’s a start, and that’s all that matters. Welcome Rogers!

Dani has finally found her rhythm and is madly scribbling down new ideas for her next range, and what might end up being a semi-range of new things that she wants to get out immediately. Seems our trip to NYC paid off (as if we needed justification for it!) as she found a whole lot of inspiration in the Met’s Egyptian artifact exhibition, so keep an eye out for Dani M’ed snakes, crowns, eyeballs, dudes walking sideways… you know the deal.
She is also participating in a few Craft Vic things coming up soon, but I’ll let her spill the beans on those later.

What about the shoes I hear you asking? What’s with all the jabbering about gold and old people?

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Here’s what i’m talking about… my gift-to-myself Golden Oxfords that I rocked at my 30th birthday. Bling!

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I was heading down the blue suede shoes track until I remembered the Gold leather I had on the shelf, and thought “why go half way, go all out!”

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So I started again and after more hurdles than I would have liked – the leather was Cow, not Sheep or Kid, so it was soooper thick, a few sewing wobbles, issues with my first attempt at dying the soles – they came together and luckily for me were so bright and extravagant that no one noticed the screw ups, they were too dazzled to focus for any length of time.

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I am also happy to announce that they were really quite comfortable, seems the addition of cork and suede to the sole makes for more cushioning than your off-the-shelf shoes I’ve worn in the past.

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I’m hoping to make something a little more sedate for a pair of weddings I have coming up, so these ones will sit in waiting until I find another occasion for them.
(ps. finding an outfit to wear to a pub, on a hot day, with gold shoes, is almost impossible. I went with black, black and black, and I realise I sound like a girl when I talk ‘outfits’. Sigh.)

Next up to show you is my first attempt at a higher than 1″ heel, based on some new lasts I got from Bruce at Shoe Lasts Australia.
Bruce is a legend, and someone you’ll definitely end up talking to for an hour or more if you start making your own shoes.

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Excuse the god-awful colour of my “test run” leather (and its Blundstone look) and dont stare too long at the goofy handmade stacked leather wedge, but you get the idea yeah?

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If you’re not an imaginative type, you’re in luck! I’m a multimedia nerd! I can do the work for you!
Below are some photoshopped ideas of what I’m getting at.
Maybe I’ll scan in some of my sketches so you can see where I’m headed with my first designs.

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It seems there isn’t a fashion blog in the world who hasn’t done an RIP McQueen post, so we’ll skip it, but I will note that I was genuinely saddened when I heard the news, much like old Heathy Ledger and Kurt Cobain, seems I’ve become more fashion aware than I ever thought I would be (considering I grew up spending my weekends at the Thunderdome and riding a bmx). You’ll be missed Mr McQ.

We’re off to to the Buffet Tradeshow next weekend to learn from the greats about fashion retailing, so we’ll be one (major) step closer the Dead and Buried 2010 retail experience! woooo!

Anyhoot, that’s a lot of typing, I’m off to bash out some Zeppelin tunes on my sneaky silent electronic drums.

Listening to : Die Antwoord tear the electro world a new one. Hoax or not, they are genius.

MONARCH! tomorrow night at Ding Dong! wooo! i’ll be there, will you?

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!)

Double Trouble

So shoe fans, what’s the only thing better than a handmade pair of shoes?

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That’s right… TWO pairs of handmade shoes!

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Seeing as the first pair of perforated oxfords were a little tight (and I was kind of keen to put them on the shelf as the ‘first nice pair’ of shoes I have made) I knocked up a second pair in a size larger, as blogged about last week.

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I am happy to report Dani is very impressed and is looking forward to ‘wearing them every day’… which is why they have a Topy sole and some slightly goofy laces that might get changed later on.

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Due to a convenient work scheduling last week I had 6 days in a row away from my computer, which meant I could almost experience a proper working week as a shoe maker, apart from the usual weekend family and booze related breaks from my desk.
I managed to complete these new ones, and get most of the way through the t-bar sandals.

I also did some studio-space negotiations that should result in me having another shoe maker in there with me in a few weeks time. woo! shared tools! More about that when it’s locked in.

These ones probably took the same amount of time as the last pair, but I am becoming aware of which parts are easy and which tasks take deceptively long.

  • Cutting and sewing – Pretty quick apart from some akward lining / tongue / upper intersections
  • Lasting – Getting faster, except I always forget to factor in the counter and toe puff, and the fact that they need to be wet, then let dry.
  • Sole + Heels – Forgeddaboutit. Always takes me 2 hours longer than I expect. I need to look around for pre-made bits instead of stacking heels all the time*
  • Finishing – Painful. Cleaning things up, driving to buy shoe laces, fussing over scratches… all time consuming.

* I dont use pre-made heels, I cut and stack up  3 or4 layers of leather to make a block, then shape it on the shoe.

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I’m off to bed as it’s back to computer-land for me tomorrow, but I hope to get back in to the studio asap and get to work on a little something for myself for once.

Listening to : nothing (its all silent at the moment after I cracked the sh*ts at my camera for not working earlier)

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yes, inspired by dizzee, this window display at craft victoria is called ‘fix up look sharp’

i have been fascinated by the crystal form and have been making shards from my signature porcelain.  i recently went to the melbourne museum to check out the rock and mineral collection and it BLEW MY MIND.  btw, i just emailed my mac service to tell them i was pissed my caps lock was broken. ah hem, its not- you just have to hold it down longer…to avoid accidental turning on.

so, anyway, i have new rock inspired work on display at craft victoria if you happen to walk by.

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2010 is here!

So, it’s finally started… TwentyTen, the year when – if all goes to plan I will…
a. Shave my head to combat baldness and never again concern myself with a “hairstyle”
b. Turn 30
c. Sell my first handmade shoe
d. Open a super-cool-and-casual-and-enviable store with the one and only Dani M
e. Release at least one of my proposed ‘albums’ and start some sort of proper band
… I’m guessing in roughly that order too. It should be fun!

Thanks to the modern marvel that is eBay I am now the proud owner of this bad boy

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A Pfaff 493 for all those trainspotters out there, with the mechanism to attach a lining trimming ‘knife’ to the post,although it is not currently in action.

Even on “slow” it sews faster than anything I have ever used, so it will be hand-turned for a while until I get my nerve up. If anyone can see that I have threaded it wrong, please comment, as it’s 99% right, but has a few thread tension issues.

I have started the year by modifying a last for Dani’s orthotic-shod feet, as the shoes I’m making are all a little tight, so rather than go to town buying new lasts, I’m trying to build one up the old way.

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After a day dicking around with the new sewing machine I managed to tape / draw / cut / trace / create the pattern for another pair of Oxfords. These will be identical to the ‘breezy’ ones, with a second pair in Black to follow.

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And… seeing as I had to jam ANOTHER desk and piece of machinery into my corner of the studio space I decided to take a series of pictures and panorama them together (I should have just used a wide angle lens, but it’s all Blogging On A Budget © around here) so my hordes of fans can see what a little Tetris style cube I work in.
Everything is at arms reach… and not by choice.

Click on it for maximum bigness and see in great detail my lack of quality tools.
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I have it here at super resolution -  if anyone wants to print it at 1:1 and pretend you’re really there.
Note the “Blue Suede Shoes” in the foreground that I’m making for myself…

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and here’s hoping for big busy and successful 2010 for all of us.

Listening to : Floor (their whole back catalogue)
These guys were awesome, the band is no more, key members are now in a band called Torche.
Downtuned madness. If someone wants to start a band like this, I’m keen.

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.

Urgh.

Seriously? Who gets a head cold and enough flu symptoms to stay home from work in the middle of summer? Me, thats who.
So, this will only be a short post as it’s proving to be more effort than I thought it would be to be sitting up here tapping away.

I finished the Breezy brown shoes on Monday, and proudly delivered them to Dani for the first try on and walk-around.

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We agreed that they are a little tight around the laces section, and also found that her orthotic support pushes pretty hard on the instep perforated area, so the decision has been made for me to make ANOTHER pair in a size larger, and with more support around the lower sections of the shoe.

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Although it might seem like bad news, I’m actually looking forward to the challenge of making a second pair of equal (or better) quality. No use being able to make shoes without being able to make a matching pair for a second person. I’ll keep the posts about the new ones to a minimum as it will all look pretty much the same, but i’ll hopefully have a twin pair of them to show in a week or two.

I’ve also been fooling around with some bright blue suede I have… I think some Elvis style ‘blue suede shoes’ will be on the cards for myself in the near future.

Thats all for today… I’m off to bed with a bowl of soup and stack of dvds.

Listening to: Yello – Oh Yeah followed by Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy *

*sick Steve has no time for heavy metal, just nice songs that make me feel like i’m living in a mid-80s comedy.

New Section – Steve’s iPod Alphabet

I’ve added a new link over there to the right >>>>

Check back once a week for an update on my suggestions of bands old and new that you might not know about, and might be missing out on.
Life is too short to spend it listening to shit music.

Ventilators! Mount up.

Hey Kids, back with another quick update from the shoemaking bench.
I managed to get some more done on the ‘breezy’ oxfords last week – and as a side note I saw some pictures up on James’ wall of vintage shoe catalogues with these sort of things referred to as ‘Ventilated’. A classier and more accurate title, but too reminiscent of Reebok’s “Ventilator” name for me to use it regularly.  (Sneaker people like me have wierd OCD tendencies that include knowing the names of sneakers that came out 25 years ago and listing them to yourself as you see them being worn around town.)

Anyway, on with the pics:

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all lasted up and ready for a sole and heel. The kid leather I used on the front is a little too thin it seems, as you can see the overlap of the perforated layer, but I weighed that up against bulking the toe area up with more leather and decided to keep it thin for these ones.

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a nice detail shot, matching left and rights!, and a moody night shot.

Tomorrow will be sole fitting day, construction of stacked heels for these, and some lasting on another pair of T-Bar flats that are on the go.
I also hope to have my first coffee from Captains of Industry, so if you’re there, and I’m there, we’ll see each other.

Listening to : The Jesus Lizard – Puss
I cant believe I didn’t listen to these guys when I was a teenager . Sigh. I could have turned out much angrier. Big thanks to Tom for waking me up to them 10 years later.