REPOST : William Banfield’s Micro Make

Hey gang, lots going on in our lives as usual – we’re trying to arrange moving house sometime soon so we can be closer to the CBD and spend less time on the train, but it’s not easy! The combination of needing to find time to actually LOOK at houses, and minimising all the junk we have accumulated at home = busy, busy, busy.

I thought instead of more rattling on about what we’ve been up to I’d share this little bit of awesome that I just saw on the internet today

Dani and I have plans on paper to make a powder coating booth in the near future, and seeing simple things like this really inspires me. I have lots of ideas and theories about how design and manufacturing can survive in this modern world – and this concept of simple machines that perform tasks that were traditionally ‘industrial’ is right on the money, people need to be able to “make” what they dream up and not have the lack of factories and skill mean that great ideas just dissolve away.

Anyhoo, that’s enough semantics… enjoy the pictures! (i’ll post back about this if/when I ever build something similar myself)


Now with added PHOTOS


Hey hey, back again with a blog post for the first time in ages that actually has some damn photos to accompany it. I know how boring text-only blogs can be, so I’m sorry for taking this long to remember to carry the camera in and snap a few shots of what is going on. Admittedly they’re still not the making-shoes-with-tools-and-sewing or ceramic-techniques photos that most of you prefer, but these will have to do.


First up we have some pics of the shop in it’s newest incarnation, after fretting over what our USP would be, what we’d be selling, why we’re selling it etc, Dani and I came to the conclusion that art, craft and colour are the main themes that will sum up Dead & Buried Version 1, so we assigned our newly finished wall to the status of “art wall” and I took the challenge up to do the first floor-to-ceiling paint job.
After a TERRIBLE start that looked like a combination between a mexican restaurant and a gay pride parade (bad move using primary colours) I started again with a pastels and fluro idea that is looooosely based on a bouquet of flowers image, distorted and abstracted.

At this stage Dani noted that I seemed happier than I had in quite a while, and she was right, making art, particularly on this scale is totally AWESOME.

I think we might also get high res photos of each of the artworks we have done and use them to make some texile products for the shop? Scarves? Pillows? Stuff like that.

… and voila, there you go, one new shop, shelves set up, floor repainted, mural 90% done (there is some more to add when I get the mood back again) and stock starting to arrive!

2. Dani has been making new things for the shop and for a new brand she is going to launch. This stuff will be more affordable and a little more ‘trend driven’ so keep your eye out for launch details and photos soon!

3. She has also been pinch potting like a demon and managed to make all of these goodies in a few weeks for stocking at Craft Vic and Five Boroughs etc.

Mini plant pots!

Plates and cups!

4. I’ve been making Boots! They are colourful!

In preparation for the new hyper-coloured shop opening I’ve been making up some desert boots that will be available only from us, for a limited time, in limited numbers. They’ll be about $300 a pair and will be HANDMADE to order in colourful suede. More on them in the coming weeks.

Suedes, most of which I’ll be offering, with specific laces for each colour.

fully graded patterns for all the sizes I can make (for now)

Tools and doodads…

The cramped workspace now that both Madeline and I have been trying to work in there… making it very obvious that I need a new layout if I have an assistant at any stage.

…. and a quick picture of Madeline WEARING HER FIRST PAIR OF SHOES. Bam, she totally made them all herself (from a my pattern), with me hovering over her shoulder making suggestions. I am very impressed, she is ace.


5. Bonfire!

… lastly, a few pics from our family get together bonfire in central Victoria earlier this month, because they look nice.
(Hili, we missed you, please come back for the next one)

we took the camera up to scout some locations for a possible jewellery photo shoot…

… and arriving at 5pm = golden hour = everything looks spectacular.

Dani getting warmed by the pre-fire / marshmallow fire…..

THE REAL DEAL BONFIRE. Masssssiiivvvve.

James standing in front of it as it was being lit… it burned until about 4am
… I think, by then I was too drunk to actually see if it was alight any more (oops).

Gotta go, Emily Green is having a launch tonight with the TACO truck there…. get down if you can!

13 Morey Street, Armadale

Listening to  : Om, and eagerly awaiting their new album next month! Woooo.

Everything is A-ok

So much happening lately, no time to blog as usual.

Madeline arrived safe and sound from the USA, she is awesome.
We have inducted her in to the Dead & Buried gang – she has her own key – and we have been making shoes, heading out to galleries and openings and she has been off interviewing Melbourne fashion people. Hello to anyone from Virginia reading this, we will be sending her back with a bag full of goodies from Dani’s desk and at least one pair of hand made shoes.

The shop is now 90% done, just a few details to iron out and then we fill it up with stock and open the doors around the first week of July. YESSSSSSSS.

Shoes are in all sorts of stages of completion, no photos because I keep leaving the damn camera at home. Will take some soon.

We still need another studio member… ^^^^^^^ KNOW ANYONE GOOD? TELL THEM TO CALL US.

Back with photos and shoes and photos and jokes later in the week.

ps. I’m on Pinterest now posting pics of girls, shoes and art. Look me up >  Steven Phillips.

Mini update

It’s monday morning and I really should be out of the house already, but a bit of overthinking-planning-excitement-nervousness insomnia set in last night, so after 3 episodes of Project Runway at 2am I finally fell asleep.

Here’s where we’re at this week, in case anyone is interested….

– I have painted a mega bright coloured mural on the blank wall of our shop space, and with a little more fluro paint and some gold leaf it will be ready to dazzle ye eyes upon your next visit.

– We’ve reshuffled the shop fittings (well, I did all day yesterday) and we’re now almost ready to fill up the shelves with stock.

– The mural has given me some renewed enthusiasm for setting up our online store, as it sets up a clear difference between the old-world look of the workshop (and the look of this workshop section of our website) and the new, white and bright colours look of the retail space. So expect another revamp to the look of this site in the next few weeks to tie EVERYTHING together.

– Audrey is making some great progress on her shoes, and she is also about to work on some electronic-musical-instrument integrated shoes for Bern’s final year collection, so that should be fun to see develop.

– Madeline arrives today from the USA, so we’ll get to work on some Desert Boots and as many other interesting things as I can think of to show her

– I have too many ideas for shoes and am trying to focus and get one thing done  at a time for once… we’ll see how that goes. It has also been noted that shoe making photos is why a lot of people come here, so I better pick up the pace on the shoe making posts and stop promising they’re ‘coming soon’.

– Dani is working on new designs, homewares and pondering the idea of setting up another brand / diffusion line for those fans who can’t always afford her 100% silver and gold work. More on that soon.

– Emily has CRAZY GOOD scarves arriving in the studio lately. Made in Melbourne, fluro and neutrals, eye-meltingly bright. You’ll see em in our shop after her launch in a few weeks.

– We still need another jeweller / maker in the house, so pass the word on, there’s a lonely desk that needs some attention…. make it yours! ^^^^

– We’re also working on an idea for the store / workshop that might necessitate us going BACK TO NEW YORK! Yessssss, that is always a good thing.

Oh and I’m reading Sun Tzu’s “The art of war” and am learning little nuggets of battle plan wisdom all over the place that I hope to apply to this overwhelmingly long and complicated plan that Dani and I are in the midst of.
5 year plans seem like a good idea until you’re 2 years into them and are all “fuck off, I have 3 more years to go? I should have aimed lower”.

So, prepare your armies kids, we’re coming to take over the world (or just for a pop in and a cup of tea, depending on who you are)


Why hello there idea-for-bags-that-will-catch-the-eye-of-people-on-the-street, now I know how to get some free advertising out of something as simple as a bag – MAKE THEM STUPID BIG.

image stolen from where it appears the coolest cats in Melbourne are on show.

ps. the title of this post should be read out loud, like this :

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.

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.

New shoe(s)

Hey peoples, another week has passed and as I hoped for, my mood has lifted significantly since last week’s grumpiness. Watching some stuff online, achieving some minor milestones and the cyclical retreat of bad moods/depressive thoughts has put me back in the zone somewhat.

Katia posted this bit of awesome recently and it got me reinvigorated…

I decided that I should get back to the bench and make a pair of shoes this week instead of living in theoretical / design / pricepoint land, in the hope it would spark a bit of “oh yeahhh, thats why I wanted to make shoes”, and it worked.

Although, I will also note that from now on my posts about shoemaking will become a little bit more guarded, not too much, but as my shoes start to really LOOK like what I will be launching as a range, I think it will ruin the suprise for everyone if half finished mockups are on here every 2 days. I’ll still post about the processes, just not the finished shapes and designs as much.

So, here’s some quick pictures from the last week’s worth of work :

working on more resin parts with my trusty new digital scales

seems there is lots of maths involved in designing super-heels.
Note that this geometry is wrong, I was testing out some ideas, the real shoes wont kick up that much at the front (if any shoemakers are out there reading and going “what the hell is he doing?”)

tricky stuff, getting a silicone mould of a locking part, then recasting it in resin. perfect accuracy!

a fresh batch of castings

steamed and pressed insole unit. 100% handmade. With cushioning allowances.

underside of my resin insole unit. Will be neater when I get the 3D printed ones made.

a quick bit of relief casting for some test run ball-of-the-foot soft rubber padding inserts.

… and my newest all-made-in-house shoe! Cant show any pics of it until i’m ready to shoot it properly / or launch the range.
It has a 130mm heel, a 30mm platform, and looks beautiful, look out Kirkwood and Louboutin, I’m on my way.

Listening to : Random songs, getting ready for the road trip to Sydney, burning mix-tape cds for the non-ipod car trip!

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.

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

Site Updates

Hey gang, just letting you know that I’ve been tinkering with the site layout and it seems that adding “Artists” to our site = them also showing up in the RSS feed, so just ignore any weird crapola that comes through over the next week or so. It’s allllll under control (James, don’t stress, and stop rolling your eyes, I have it sorted now. haha)

Shop renovations start this week! Woooo! Opening night here we come!!

Plastic Fantastic

Hey gang, I’m almost back to life after a pretty exhausting (and a little bit scary) bout of pneumonia. A trip to the emergency ward + a week of solid couch lounging has left another big hole in the production schedule for my now 6-months-overdue shoe label launch, but things are looking up.

Before my health all went to shit I had just managed to get my second plastic component made and I thought I’d share a little of that process with you while I have an afternoon here at home with nothing much else to do.

If you’re just tuning in now for the first time, here’s a quick refresher.
I am finding it increasingly difficult to source ‘traditional’ and/or industrial standard components here in Melbourne, particularly in the sizes and quantities I would need to make full size runs of what are still essentially bespoke shoes. It seems possible to order things by the pallet-load, or one at a time, but when I need 60? That’s where the problem starts.
That coupled with my Industrial Design background and general stubbornness has led me to a point where I’ve decided to batch manufacture my own components. Yep.

So, below is a bit of a peek in to how I have so far gone about creating my own plastic heels, details and insole units. These will serve as prototypes for me to test strength / wear life  / etc / etc before I make some final ones with designed details, logos, leather allowance and all that jazz.


To begin with, I used the wooden heel that I had carved earlier for the buckles-and-straps burgundy prototype. This heel is 5 inches high at the back edge (awesome) and is partnered up with a 1.5 inch platform = mega height, but still some wear-ability. I marked the centre points for a different moulding idea as seen below…

… but this design didnt work. I filled the bottle with silicon, cut out the heel, taped it all back together and filled the cavity with resin.
The problem was that the area needing most detail and accuracy is the top, and this mould always ended up with bubbles and/or not enough plastic filling the mould = too many failed parts.

So I revisited the idea (and YouTube) and decided to go for a more coffin-like mould seeing as my parts have a flat surface. This would still work with curves, it would just mean having to build up some supports from plasticine. To make the most of each resin pour I also snuck in a little crescent shaped detail I hope to use as a heel support.

All clamped up and ready to go.

NOTE! make sure you plug ALL THE LEAKS AROUND THE BASE… one leak like I had = silicon oozing out all afternoon.

The finished mould and recovered master parts.
For this process I used RTV-2 Silicone Rubber from Barnes in Richmond.

Mould detail, showing some locating pilot holes I drilled in to the wood so that I can mount each heel in the same spot with a template rather than having to guess each time. A stitch in time saves nine!

Next step, fillin’ it up! After a quick conversation with the staff at Barnes we decided that a rigid Polyurethane seemed the best option for prototyping. It has a low odour, pours well, is the least toxic of the resins they sell and would give me a strong part that is less brittle than the harder Polyester or Epoxy resins.
Brittle will probably = shattering when pressure is applied.
For these parts I have been using TC-808 78 Shore D Urethane from Barnes

So although these are quite heavy, they are essentially a super-super-hard rubber which means they should bend before they break. The final production run may be from something else once I have refined the process and spoken more to the resin suppliers around town.

I have also purchase a light weight filler, which are tiny tiny hollow balls (like sand) that you can add to resins to reduce their mass, which reduces their weight. The payoff is that the more you add, the more likely to crack apart like compacted sand your part is… I will have to test some varying ratios.

Badly focused detail shot.

So that’s where the heel tests are at. I can mould a new part each hour, and that’s fine for my production levels. Next up is to make a master form for a resin platform.


With some success under my belt with the heels, I decided to try to solve one of my last conundrums, that of how to get hold of insole / shank / shankboard components to match my lasts WITHOUT having to either outsource production (minimum order numbers), go down the path of pressing my own (needing metal moulds, pneumatic pressure, steam etc) or trying to order pre-made ones whenever I needed them and hoping they fit.

A chat with my pal Luke who works in a plastics manufacturing plant got us thinking moulding plastic components might not only answer my short order run needs, but it would allow me to design the heel + insoles as one product. This meant I can design a system for attaching the two (even if it’s just perfectly aligned pilot holes for screws) that would again save me time in the long run.

Step 1 was to attach a metal shank to the last in the place I intend it to be used in the final piece. By thinking a few steps ahead it makes things easier later on.

Next up I wrapped a fat piece of wet veg tanned leather over the last, in the same way that I would go about making an all-leather insole unit.

When the veg tan dried it had formed perfectly to the last bottom, with an indent from the shank pre-formed into the upper surface.

I then coated the veg tan with clear lacquer to give it some surface hardness and to smooth it out as much as possible.

This one I moulded similar to the first (bottle) technique shown at the top, only in a container I had made from foamcore. As recommended by YouTube vids I cut out the leather part using a waving / random carving path to minimise the likelihood of the resin leaking back out.

As you can see, the shank indentation is still there, which will make locating it later dead easy.

This technique requires you to cut out a pouring spout afterwards and most importantly, a vent beside the spout which allows the trapped air to escape as you fill the cavity, rather than needing to escape via bubbles.

Cut out pouring spout on the left, vent on the right.

And there you go… two resin parts fresh out of the mould at 1 hour intervals.

Detail shots. You can see the shank position – the spout and vent will be cut off.

Exact 1:1 replica in Polyurethane.

A quick test of dropping in a shank. I’m not sure yet if the shank will be necessary, and if it is I might look at making one from carbon fibre or something else that is readily obtained, instead of shanks, which I have to get from shoe-specific suppliers.

This part will be glued to a leather or leatherboard (texon) insole, and then the padding foam or gel will be attached to the top of that. Seems a stupid idea to make high-end hand made shoes and NOT fill them with foams and rubber to make them nice and comfortable. You never know, these might actually be comfortable 5″ heels!!

So, that was a lot of typing, but I think it’s worth sharing these ideas. With an industry dying like ours is it would be a shame if future shoe designers weren’t able to make their own things here in Melbourne if they (stupidly) insist on it – like I am.

Listening to : Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep