Bucking Trends and Cutting new Paths

Whether you're riding a hot-blooded bronco or a cold-blooded draft-horse off the old family farm, these will get your horse up to speed.

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I made these custom spurs as a gift to an interior designer client/friend of mine, because, well, why not? 

The jinglebobs (the actual technical term for the spur part of the spur) are the knobs from the tap on a salvaged claw-foot tub, and the rest is made out of scrap steel and leather I had at my studio. The welds aren't much to look at and tub spurs serve no actual practical purpose, but it was nice to make a friend and client laugh.

The Steady March of Progress.

So you have your idea, you have your provisional patent, and I, your illustrious fabricator has made the first couple iterations of your new shoes. What now?

Step three:

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Make the next version of your vision, shaped by all the insights garnered thus far.

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Molds made of cut chip board, glued and shellaced to plywood. Soles cast in urethane rubber, carefully selected to meet the specific demands at hand. Or, well, at foot. 

Pedestal for Jessica, Pedestal as Metaphor.

Between her drawing and her Instagram post, I was happy to help out Jessica Burnam http://jessicaburnam.com/ make a pedestal for one of her works out of wood and steel.

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She drew out what she needed, and I made it with wood and steel I had on hand at my studio.

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I enjoy being there for fellow artists and creatives, giving them the support they need when they need it. It may be a cheesy metaphor, but there's sincerity to it. I enjoy making things that elevate the work of others. 

Breaking the Mold of Sports Shoes. Literally.

I understand if you feel the need to punch my face for the pun in the title. I'm sorry, I had the compulsion and just couldn't fight it.

Anyhow, step two: making molds and casting soles. Knowing that these soles would be the first stop on an iterative design journey, I made them happen as quickly and cheaply as possible. So long as they could shed light on the unknowns in our quest for better athletic footwear, then they were doing what we needed.

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And what makes quick, cheap molds for prototyping? 

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Scrap wood and homemade play-doh, that's what. 

Here you can see clear rubber left over from another project that I used in the plywood and play-doh mold, breaking it upon removal.

 

Band Saw or Electric Planer- which removes the sole of an athletic shoe quicker?

I've been asked to prototype some custom athletic footwear with a unique sole. The client's patent application depends on it. Where to begin?

Step one: remove the sole from generic store bought athletic shoes.

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Maybe not surprisingly, rubber that stands up to daily wear on pavement also stands up to to most efforts to remove it intentionally.

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So, what does the trick? I found that both the electric hand planer and the band saw work, but a bandsaw with a fresh, fine-toothed blade is much quicker. The electric planer on the other hand did well at evening out the cut surface, better readying the footwear for its new sole.

Look for step two in a minute. 

Saxelby, Halcyon, Hillyer, etc.

It has been a real pleasure helping Georgia Saxelby with her To Future Women project the last few weeks. 

I first met Saxelby while helping Gayle Friedman install her (amazing!) show at the Hillyer in June. Saxelby needed an extra hand with a couple of things installing her show at the Hillyer also, and she brought me on board for the next steps after I made her a couple custom tools out of materials available in the gallery.

Over the next few weeks, I helped Saxelby fabricate and install her work at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries building for the By the People Festival.

 Saxelby on the cover of the  city paper , working on the arch we fabricated.

Saxelby on the cover of the city paper, working on the arch we fabricated.

While it may or may not be too late to contribute a letter to be archived at the Phillips Collection as part of this project, taking the time to have a moment of reflection, of introspection- it feels right and necessary.

The Business of Bringing Joy

The work that goes into the magic of Easter is intense- global in reach, exacting timelines and quality controls, distribution networks and decision trees. The millions of bunny-hours that go into basket weaving alone...

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Long story short, there are a lot of bunnies doing a lot of things to make Easter happen on time every year. There are business bunnies and farmer bunnies, chocolatier bunnies and delivery bunnies. Bunnies have been at this for at least a dozen, if not a thousand years or more. 

In that context it was a real honor to be asked by the Easter Bunny in Chief to  sculpt the busts of dedicated, hard working bunnies from across time and nations.

Look for chocolate busts of great bunnies in the near future!

Osage... Purple?

If you ever wondered what a purple rubber osage orange would look like, well, here you go.

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 Osage oranges have become a trendy table decoration in the last few years. Since I had one sitting around when I also had some plaster gauze and purple tin-cure silicone handy, this next logical step presented itself. We live in the future.