Saturday, January 30, 2010

Days 151 and 152 - new rules comments

When I first started the makeshift project I said that the only 'rule' I had was that I would make everything in my wardrobe including my shoes and that I was hoping to define the rules along the way based on public discussion and dialogue. There was quite a bit of discussion in the beginning and some rules were developed but then the discussion kind of petered off so in the last makeshift newsletter I asked for comments on developing some new rules. Here’s the request for feedback that was in the newsletter:

It's been a while since I've had any 'rules' feedback so I'd like to throw a couple out there to hear what you have to say about them.

I recently went by Zodiac to Gambier Island (see Day 122) and I was the only person in the boat not wearing a life-jacket. I was adamant about it but in retrospect it seems a bit dumb. For one thing, it was pretty stormy out that day and for another thing, the zodiac is a very fast moving vehicle with no 'seats' or 'handles'. So I would like to introduce the new rule of considering wearable safety gear to be a form of tool that could thus be excluded from the handmade list. What do you think about that?

Also, in the past month alone I've turned down offers to go snow-shoeing, skating, on a ski trip and cross-country skiing all because I'm not able to make the associated sporting equipment. What is your opinion about allowing for sports equipment to be excluded from the handmade list? I'll be honest, I'm going to a scuba-diving and snorkeling hotspot in a couple of weeks and I don't want to miss out.

I had a lot of email responses so I won’t post them all, but here are a few. (A complete list will be included in the next newsletter.) They are overwhelmingly in favour of excluding safety gear and sports equipment from the handmade list. Though almost everyone said yes to both, a few people said it was OK to "bend" or "break" my own rules. I found this interesting since a rule hadn't been established about it and the whole point was to create a rule. Only one person thought I should keep going the way I had been in order to work "with and beyond the real and perceived "limits". I enjoyed this comment because it was the only one suggesting I truly go all the way with the project. In the end, though, I opted to wear the snorkel gear in Mexico.

Hi Natalie,
regarding safety equipment-my 14 year old daughter said "if you don't use it, you could end up in a hospital gown you didn't make."
I've worn the same basic clothing in a zodiac and using an angle grinder, but I wouldn't give up goggles and ear protection or a lifejacket.
I admire your commitment to your project, but it shouldn't involve putting yourself at risk.
For sports equipment, it's still your project and you get to make up your own rules as you go along, as you said in the beginning. Sure, you can have a fulfilling life without doing some of those activities. If you are going to do them, you will need to 'wear' the equipment. Or is that 'use' the equipment?
It's your life, you get to decide, regardless of what other people think.

Safety gear and sporting equipment are fair game - we want you to be safe *and* have FUN!

Natalie, you have my permission to use ready made equipment . . .
equipment is not clothing or footwear. Safety vests, eyeglasses etc are
not what I think should be ignored. Carry on with your project, what a
joy to see your creations. Marnie, Victoria

... i say safety equipment is not clothing. it's important. wear the life jacket - and go diving and skiing.

Feedback on the rules: equipment is NOT apparel (despite what wikipedians may erroneously think).
Do not torture yourself out of misplaced semantics.
Life's too short to not have fun while you're proving a point!
Besides, if you opt out of all sports activities, by Spring you may be making everything again...1 size bigger!
have fun.
xxo W

My vote for the scuba-diving dilemma: I don't think the tools to do something need to be considered clothing. It's like an umbrella. But I'm glad you're being thorough about this -- it keeps the project pure.
bye for now,

I say sporting equipment is a tool not clothing. Certainly it looks like clothing in some cases, but as long as it has a sporting or safety purpose, it is a tool. No need to become a flabby hermit for Art. Love the project Nat!
Love Goo

too good to be true, wasn't it? i don't think you should be deprived of snorkeling...again, this might be a once-in-a lifetime and/or life-altering experience. whereas snowshoeing and skiing can be done fairly regularly here, snorkeling not-so-much. i think if you bend the rules for a unique once in a lifetime activity, then you need to make a piece inspired by said activity, to pay homage and to 'put it on the books'.

Hi Natalie,

... I think that you made an interesting decision in refusing to wear a life jacket - however dumb or risky it was. . .

Where did that decision come from?

In my mind, I imagine it came from a sense of conviction.

I think you should stick with your original rules.

Does this mean you don't wear a seat belt when you are in a motor vehicle?

I think your project is very exciting.

Working with and beyond the real and perceived "limits" is what it's about, is it not?

I would love to know your thoughts


I don't see any problem with renting/borrowing/using sports equipment. Keeping the project manageable while living a full life would seem (to me) to be a more useful goal than strictness or extremism.
Who needs more rules?
take care,

Friday, January 29, 2010

Days 147 to ? - I'm back

Woo, you thought I was going to Mexico but it was more like i dropped off the face of the earth, wasn't it? Sorry about that. It started out as a 'relaxed approach' to blogging and then suddenly, I was hit by a nasty flu. In fact I did drop off the earth for a while. Here's a quick recap though.

my niece, Coco - new to snorkeling at age 3.5

the sandals that I finished while I was there - I wore them almost everyday and they are now done.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Days 143 to 146 - Mexico

Ahh, sunny, breezy Cozumel...

The first day was almost like torture without sunglasses. I had made a visor but it didn't quite cut it. Luckily, I brought some lenses and some adhesive backed foam to make a pair of temporary funglasses since the wooden frames that I was working on snapped the day before I left.

Then, later, I found this single lens on some rocks! I looked for the other one so I could make a pair of back up glasses but alas, its twin was nowhere to be found. I did briefly consider smashing the bottle that was lying next to it to make the other lens from the bottom but it seemed a bit dangerous and unnecessary.

This is my clan while I'm here (in order from left to right Tedi (in background), Stuart (in Steak t-shirt), Coco (upside-down), Anne Marie (my sister) - And Bill (kite-boarding in the video below)

Otherwise, still trying to finish my clogs. But with sunburned feet, flip flops are my only real shoe option right now anyways.

See you soon!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 142 - heading south

See you on the sunny side...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 141 - new shoes

You will be happy to know that I finally have a new pair of shoes. They were made in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Mexico. I thought I would share my process since they were pretty easy.

I started by cutting the foam soles off of a thrifted pair of shoes. I looked into buying foam but it wasn't the right density and it was kind of expensive. In the end I didn't feel bad about taking apart a very ugly pair of shoes in order to give them a new and improved life.

I sanded them down and added a nice smooth new piece of foam as a comfort layer.

I cut thin leather strips and stitched them together to make the straps and then cut holes through the foam with a knife and squished the leather through. I tied the long ends into a knot and the ends under the toe are glued down with the ends squished and glued into new slots.

Et Voila!

Oh yeah, and then I had to make toe-socks so that I could wear them right away.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 139 & 140

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 138

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 137

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 136

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 135 & Amorphous Amoeba

The other evening I went to an opening reception at Every Letter In The Alphabet, a new space on Powell St. (that is truly a joy to behold, I might add) opened by artist Geoffrey Farmer.* As I was arriving, a few friends started to notice that there were quite a few people present wearing clothing that I had made. And since I am a BIG fan of snaps and tend to use the same kind on everything we began to wonder if we could somehow become one large amorphous, snapped-together amoeba. It worked!

*The reception was for a show curated by Michael turner called, to show, to give, to make it be there: Expanded Literary Practices in Vancouver: 1954 – 1969, which is up until March at SFU Gallery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 134

Monday, January 11, 2010

Days 132 & 133

You may have noticed that I recently started taking my daily photos outside since I am only using available daylight for my photos and it's often too dark inside even standing next to a window. It was going pretty well until today - rain. And it looks like the kind of rain that might be here for a while - maybe until May. So I'm back to poorly lit indoor photos. As a result, you can't really see that the shirt I'm wearing has felted wool patches and you'll just have to trust me when I say, "it's awesome".

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 131

Yesterday on Global News

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 130

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 129

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 128 - baby needs new shoes

For some reason, making a new pair of shoes has proven to be really difficult. Pictured above are my only secondary pair of shoes, the infamously stapled together Clog Boots. While they do have a certain appeal to them, they are not the most practical shoes for everyday wear. One major hindrance is that I can't go up steep inclines when I'm wearing them. We have a very steep driveway leading into/out of the parking garage in my apartment building and one day as I was trying to take a short cut to the trash (while wearing the Clog Boots), I decided to take the ramp. Much to my embarrassment/chagrin, I couldn't make it up the hill. Not even sideways using the cross-country ski hill-climbing technique! The thing that I don't understand is that before I started this project I was able to climb hills, run, jump, skip and dance in a regular pair of Dansko clogs. I am actually quite determined to make a pair of funtional clogs so I've started another pair (pictured below).

Thanks to my friend Vince's gift of exceptional fir (not to mention woodshop time) I've made new wooden soles. They are a bit rounded on the bottom for a more rolling step and with a slight heel they actually have a bit of arch support as well. While the first soles were made using an angle grinder with a carving attachment to mash into a 2 x 4 that had been kicking around the deck for a few years,

the new ones are much more refined, having used a band saw and a belt sander. Though not perfectly finished (to Vince's dismay - Hey, fashion doesn't have all day, Vince), I'm confident that these soles, once I've added the rubber car tire treads, will have much more mobilty potential. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 127

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 126 -Schedule for January

I have just posted the January schedule for the makeshift space in Gastown. This month I will be there on Saturday the 9th from noon till 6pm, Saturday the 16th from noon till 6pm and Saturday the 30th from noon till 5pm. So please stop by if you're in the neighborhood. I will be there a lot more in February and March since I'm doing a project as a part of Bright Light. (You'll be hearing more about it in the near future.)

PS: check out Saturday's Globe and Mail article!