Hey hey!

* I managed to charge up the camera and then leave it at home yesterday, so this week we’ll have to make do with iPhone photos (and no photo of the finished product).


In an attempt to assess what sort of money this whole shoemaking biz can make for me I have been making another pair of desert boots with stopwatch running. So far I’m at about 4 or 5 hours solid work, and there is still a whole lot of stitching and sole attaching to go yet… so it’s beginning to make sense why proper, traditional, all the bells-and-whistles shoes cost 1000’s of dollars and take days and days of work.


I’ve tried something different with these ones in that I’m lining them instead of making them with raw suede, it should make them more sturdy and a little more ‘luxurious’ than the other ones without adding much more time to the construction. Value adding! No use making half-assed and double-priced shoes…

looking totally high fashion in a ‘deconstructed’ inside out way…

So this took me the afternoon to do, and I managed to get the maroon/burgundy upper stretched down and ready to sew the edges by 5pm… then I broke 2 needles trying to stitch through the fat sole material, and officially cracked the sh*ts for the day. Forgot to take one last photo before I trod off home a defeated man.

… then at about 1am I was lying in bed and realised I used thinner leather last time, hence the broken needles, but unfortunately is was too late to do anything about it.

Good news is I can get back on track next time I’m in there! Bad news is that I might not be back in for a week ūüôĀ

Oh, and check this rocket out… we took a photo of it on a lonely East Village street in NYC last year.
(Just found it again when I downloaded the phone pics.)


Double chained up, getting no love, and with my name on it!
If only I was a little more evil I could have liberated it back here in my luggage, but I’m no theif.


… maybe it will still be there when I go back… again…… one day…. dani? Ha ha.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you at the Pixies on Saturday if you’re an old fart fan like us.
I’ll be the guy in the crowd who looks like I came as a Frank Black lookalike. No costume required.

Listening to : Dead Meadow – Sleepy Silver Door

… and we’re back.


It’s time for us to get up off the couch, out of the kitchen and head back in to the studio tomorrow!

The 3 week ‘you’s guys don’t got a permit to be workin’ in here’ council ban has officially passed, and so we are heading back in to get back on track.
My apologies for the whole lot of nothing that has been going on here lately, I promise to get something worth showing online in the next few days.

First up is some desert boots, then something more adventurous.

Thanks for watching, and thanks to Mr Lynch for the screen grab above.

Listening to : Gallows – Black Eyes

I’m a Dizzy Rascal


Oh yeah, not only do we insist on practicing the crafts of a bygone era, I like to keep it REAL by only developing disorders and illnesses that old people get.
So far… Gout, Check… Vertigo, Check…. what’s next? Scurvy? the Rickets? St Vitus Dance?

So there you have it, I’m home, working, and trying not to turn my head fast or I might fall off my chair.

Rock on.

Listening to : Dani playing Led Zeppelin in the other room.

(I must credit Dani with coming up with the Dizzy Rascal joke, classic!)

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

Save our City

Just a quick one – If you’re in Melbourne, and like seeing bands real bands at venues OTHER than the Casino or Etihad Stadium you should head in to the city today to show some support for the SLAM rally.


I’ll be there making a racket so that hopefully I can still go and see bands at places like the Arthouse and the Towny, and so that future generations might have a chance at discovering pub rock for themselves instead of being forced to see overblown gigs at stupid kilometer-away-from-the-band venues or worse still, just be left with nightclubs, strip clubs, Jager bombs and a punch in the head as a “good night out”. Sigh.

Our craft is now illegal

yep,  in a way anyway.

so we don’t have a permit (what!) to make art and craft in our warehouse and were forced to down tools yesterday for 3 weeks while an application is put through!

Not our fault…we didn’t set up this studio, we sublet (for those that know us personally- this was a welcome change from the last 4 years of running a space).
It’s totally out of our hands and now we will be working from home.¬† god knows how!!

Seriously- what has the world come to?

Special thanks go to the crazy hammer man next door and his council friend “the permit enforcer”

Thanks for supporting design in Melbourne, Melbourne.

Golden Oldies

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


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?


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


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!”


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?


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))) РBig 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.


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)