I like making mistakes with sewing, I’m honing my skills. I’m razor sharp, boss of the machines.

Mistakes are a big part of any creative process. People have waxed lyrical about the importance of mistakes, and yes, it’s important to try many things out when making stuff – you never know what’s going to work. Another way to look at mistakes, though, is that we only really get 2 things right in this life – birth and death. The rest of the time it’s one inevitable screw up after another.

R&D is all about mistakes/ iterations/ “well shit, that didn’t work”/ “oops I forgot to do something” (such as stitching the tongue together before setting it in place). Even when I think a design is viable, the actual construction process shows me again and again where it can be improved (such as adding a few mms more to the lining topline so that it doesn’t get caught up in the stitching). It’s totally ok that this boot has a few bits that are bollocksed up; though the leather is fancy, the boot is a test and just has to get on the foot and prove that both design and construction are workable.


Remember to stitch tongue and tongue lining together _before_ cementing into place.
Remember to stitch tongue and tongue lining together _before_ cementing into place.


My mind is freaking out that things aren’t perfect** (“they’ll think I can’t sew and won’t trust my work!), but I can’t really fix shitty stitching in leather, I need to just move on. It’s taken me 5 years to get to this point. I am not even pausing because of dodgy stitches.

** This is normal for ASD folk.


Get happy? No, and fuck you.

Near to my home is a billboard advertising a local radio station. Big, big ultrabright smiles and wide eyes of the three hosts*, the phrase “GET HAPPY” emblazoned.

That phrase, and the billboard in general, makes my eye twitch just thinking about it. Every time I see it I mutter “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

I will not get happy because you tell me to. I cannot get happy. NO-ONE can get happy. “Happy” is not another thing to acquire, you consumerist capitalist pigs.**

Feelings/ emotions are cultivated within us. Although they fundamentally depend on external factors – are you eating/ sleeping well? Do you live in a stressful environment? – all emotional states are an aspect of a person’s worldview. Emotional states don’t just happen; they arise through complex perceptions of how the world works, often simplified to the question “is the cup half-full or half-empty?” Clichéd, yes, but still valid. If someone believes the world is out to get them, it’s very difficult for them to feel happy. Myself? “Dude! I’ve got a CUP!/ There is no cup.”

Also, feelings are fleeting. They wax and wane each minute/ hour/ day. This is both the nature of your brain, and impermanent nature of reality. To “get” a feeling and hold on to it is impossible. And stupid. I’d rather be present in whatever I feel at any given moment, from eye-twitching rage to joy that I’ve got a cup of coffee at my side.


* 2 male, 1 female = dear lord forbid that female voices should dominate the conversation.

** Really, stop telling me what to do or how to think. You’ve no business at all doing that.

Image: Journalist Malcolm Browne’s photograph of Quang Duc during his self-immolation.

This little line is A Big Thing

revision crop

This line is the final revision for the Leviathan last. A sample master last will now be produced, I’ll make the sample boot and put on to someone’s foot for fit testing. This little line is a long, long road.

When I started out in November _2011_ I thought it would be a fairly quick process to have lasts manufactured, boots made and on feet. A few months, six at the most.

Apparently not.

Clear communication with manufacturers is vital, but not the lynchpin to getting a product out. The lynchpin is … Do Not Fucking Give Up.

Rant and rave. Talk to people. Think about where things are going. Worry about finances. But don’t give up. You’ve got an idea, and you will find a hundred ways it doesn’t work before you can take a step forward. Then you’ll find another hundred sucky things. Keep on going. Big Things are made of Small Steps.