18 May, 2010

The Last of Formspring

Formspring is a bit dull.... well no, it is VERY dull. So I'm closing my account. But there have been a number of questions that I'd like to remember. It's always interesting to have something to look back on to see what your mindset was a few years back. So here are a few:

What message would you want to put in a fortune cookie?
The truth that I always need to be reminded of: Don't discount things just because they are easy.

If you could go back in time 10 years and tell your younger self something, what would it be?
Stay in dance class and keep playing cello.

If you could make one person fall in love with you who would it be?
He already has.

What do you consider to be your best quality?
My best quality is also my downfall: I never take the easy route. I don't feel that something is worthwhile unless I've nearly died for it. You can see how this would make me push myself very hard, but also discount every success along the way, always sure that I didn't work hard enough for it to really count.

More or less ?
Tough question. I tend to say "more". More sequins. More hairspray. Longer lashes, higher heels, brighter hues, spicier foods, redder reds, and chromed silvers. Moderation can go to hell. Ridiculous is always better than boring.

When was the last time you had a fight? A physical dust up.
I've never had one! Which is a shame because I'd really like to see if I can handle myself in a fight.

Everyone knows the internet is fabulous. what's the best thing you can do with it?
Pretend until it's real.

What would you do if a man slapped your bum and gave you a wink? In this instance he's extremely handsome. Smack his ass right back, and possibly his face. I don't care how attractive you are, you don't start the conversation by manhandling.

What's your earliest memory?
I lost a lot of memories of my childhood after my dad died when I was nine. But little snippets of my life come back every now and then. I remember making puppets at my 8th or 9th birthday, and before that I remember playing with dolls at my friend Kim's house. I remember the spaghetti Brianna's mom used to make (it had peanut butter in it). I remember watching Xmen and Spiderman cartoons with my older brother. I remember my first computer- DOS, black and gold screen, floppy disks. And I remember being obsessed with Labyrinth and trying to dress like David Bowie's character through most of elementary school.

What's the most you've paid for a meal?
I don't remember money, I remember experiences. I've had a lot of amazing, incredible food with my friends. We've gone out to ridiculous restaurants and had delicious drinks with decadent meals and discussed nerdy things over rich desserts. Sure, these experiences weren't cheap, but I'd be a fool if the amount of money I spent was the memory I took away from those evenings.

Why is your worth tied to a large boatload of success?
Not a boatload. I don't need to be rich and famous, if that's what you mean. I just want to feel a sense of accomplishment within myself.

What would your dream job look like?
Dream job? I'd work in an ex-industrial warehouse with amazing windows. Open plan seating, large tables, and a small team of people working with me. I'd have a workshop full of the tools that one needs to make and design shoes (industrial machines, belt sander, vacuum moulding, etc etc) and a windowless, but bright room where latex is stored/made.

At all times our fridge would have champagne and Hendricks in it.

What would the you-of-five-years-ago make of you now?

Five years ago I was 19 years old. I was in my first year of art school, living in my first apartment in San Francisco (which was a disaster), neurotic, confused, needy, unsure, in a difficult relationship situation, and probably more than a little depressed. I was also on the tail end of being goth. I didn't know what I wanted, and was easily influenced by others.

I still face a lot of the same issues, but with a certain grounding in myself now. And although I am easily intimidated by people, 19 year old me would have been terrified of 24 year old me. I'm a very different person. A lot stronger, a lot more together. And when I'm not, I'm a lot better at faking it.

24 is way better than 19

What's the secret to happiness?
Paying attention to the little things and not just the long term big picture future stuff.
(I need to remember this)

If you had a friend moving from the US to the UK, what bit of "culture shock" would you warn them about?
I didn't experience much culture shock moving here. What's funny is going back to the US after being here for a long time. You notice how loud Americans are, and how dirty and under-dressed most of us look in public. You also notice how much more aggressive Americans are, and not always in a bad way.

But, moving here I noticed a few things right off the bat. If you don't already know how to use two pieces of cutlery at once, learn. Whatever is your normal speaking volume, turn it down two notches. If you don't like cream on everything sweet, you're in trouble. Workout culture isn't as prominent here, but there are more skinny long legs in London than I've ever seen in one place before. Pubs close at 11, but bars and clubs are open much later. You can go to the pub at 2 though, and afternoon pub culture is like American coffee shop culture- you go there, have a drink, read, hang out. The sausages you get at any grocery here are yummier than some of the expensive sausages in the US. Londoners aren't a terribly friendly group, but don't be afraid to stop and ask someone for directions- they are British after all, and too polite to do anything but answer. And on that note, the Brits are a reserved group, but get them alone and they are the all big nasty pervs- it's fantastic! If you've never been to England, you should know that people aren't all like John Cleese. Pure silliness isn't common in the culture, but self-deprecating humour is. There is a big difference between the two. Also, make sure you have tea, scones with clotted cream and jam. It's delicious.

Lastly, it has come to my attention that many people seem to think The Full Monty means naked. If you've seen the film, and make that association, you might be surprised by some of the menu items at breakfast joints here in the UK. So let me clarify that for you all- it means "everything".

Are you a man-hater?
What? No, not at all. I'm a stupid jackass hater, and that applies to all genders.

What is your experience of England?

Which bothers you more - that you can't take a compliment, or that someone YOU compliment can't take one? 
Both. But I'm very bothered by people who can't take compliments. And then I feel like an idiot because I do the same thing. But I am trying very hard to learn how to say thank you and really hear what they are saying, and not discount it.

Would you agree you're hot?
In my opinion I am average with a few quirks in my looks that make people pay attention.

Spooning or Spoonerisms?
There is no spoon. Try and realize that it is not the spoon you are asking about, but yourself.

What is your ideal day out?
One that starts with brunch and mimosas, involves something ridiculous, something educational, something challenging, something inspiring, and ends with marathon sex. (you know I'm talking about you, @astra)

What's worse, lack of stability or sacrifice of ambition?
Sacrifice of ambition, no question about it. I'd rather risk it all for something than spend the rest of my life in relative comfort wondering and wishing and regretting. I never want to look back on my life and say "if only I had done what I wanted to do, instead of what I thought I should do..."

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time? 
I would like to be living with my Boy, in a flat near my working studio. I'd like to either share a workspace with a few designers, or have teamed up with someone to start a label. I would like to travel a lot, to London and to my manufacturers (which will most likely be in Spain or Italy). I want decadent friends, a decadent arty life, and uh, a good ass. Also, good dresses and shoes. ;)

If you were to become famous what would you like to be known for?
Making fabulous things and being fabulous in them alongside other fabulous people. Essentially, I would like to earn the title Emperor Fabulous!

17 May, 2010

I Don't Know How I Do It, But...

There are very few books on shoemaking and pattern cutting for shoes. It's a dying art, as most shoes are designed by someone with no knowledge of production, and handed to someone else to make. But I feel I need a more in-depth understanding of shoes, and I also really enjoy the process of making them.

I have found one book that has been immensely helpful. Of course it is also immensely expensive. So I did some price shopping around the intarwebs, and I found that I could order the book directly from the publisher for half the price. I email them, requesting an order form, and not ten minutes later I get an email from the author of the book! It seems he works for this publishing company as well! He invoiced me and said he could send the book this morning!

But that's not the really interesting part. That's just the lead up. So, of course I sign all professional-ish emails with my phone number. I hate getting phone calls, but when it comes to my design work, I want people to contact me! But no one ever does. So you can imagine my surprise when at noon I receive a phone call from the author, letting me know he mailed my book. He asked if I was a student and we get to chatting. He is a lovely chap. It turns out he used to teach at Cordwainers (back when it was a good school) and has been in bespoke shoemaking for over 45 years! We talked about schools and how hard it is to find a real education in footwear. And then he did something amazing. He offered me two things- first, that I may email him with any technical questions I may have about shoemaking. Secondly, he said he teaches in the US and knows a lot of suppliers, shoemakers and other people he would happily put me in contact with.

HOW did that just happen? I order a book and somehow get a phone call from the author who offers me his shoemaking contacts in another country?? I think he sussed out that I wanted to do more than make Manolos and was happy to meet someone who appreciated the knowledge he has to share. But still... WHAT? HOW?

15 May, 2010

A Parting Thought

"In Russia, batmobile drives you."



Another needley day- I patterned and sewed these boot mock-ups for my internship today. It was a quick job- just basic uppers and lining which we'll turn into shoes tomorrow. I would like to say that except for a few very visible parts where the leather didn't agree with the machine, it was refreshing to see that I CAN in fact sew pretty well when left to my own devices.

But yeah, I can't get away from needles it seems.

14 May, 2010

Needleful Day

"I'd like to say you were brave about getting pierced today...." 
"But I really wasn't."
"Yeah, you really weren't..."

Today has been a needle-heavy day for me. Piercing needles, knitting needles, and suture needles. It began at Cold Steel in Camden (where my "FUUUUCK" exclamation of pain shocked the piercer), and ended at the Hunterian Museum for a late night crafty evening with two of my favourite girls. 

The little medical museum was full of people learning to knit, weave, spin, and sew sutures. Surrounded by tumorous duck heads in jars and hundred year old surgical equipment a giant group of crafty fools giggled and knitted away from 6-10pm. Quite a lovely way to spend a Friday night, actually.

I got an introduction to knitting ("Mr T. on knitting: 'I knitty the fool!'") and then had a glass of wine while we learned how to sew sutures onto fake arms.

For someone with a fear of needles, I had a pretty needleful day.

13 May, 2010

12 May, 2010

Christmas coming early!

I feel like someone just told me it's Christmas. Two of my favourite people in San Francisco have informed that that they want to work with me. As if that wasn't awesome enough these friends also happen to have an outfitted workshop, space to make stuff, tools, knowledge, and have asked me to collaborate on some projects and events when I move back!


I have awesome friends :)

My Sandbox. Or, Sex Party Etiquette for the Socially Ham-Handed.

Speaking as someone who organises sex parties, I find it very important to have clear boundaries and rules about behavior at these events. That is not to say we are restrictive about personal interaction, but a certain level of mutual respect is required of our members.

Despite what some may think, a good sex party is not a free-for-all faceless orgy full of naked girls ready to take a cock in any which way it becomes available. (Of course some parties ARE like that, and trust me there is definitely a time and place for that sort of mindless fucking. ) Kinky Salon London is not that place. We aim to develop a group of like-minded pervs and sluts of every orientation and gender who chat, drink, fuck, and dance around in silly costumes. I hate using the word "community" because it sounds a bit too hippy, but I guess it's the most appropriate word for what Kinky Salon is. It's a community of sluts with taste and tact and charm.

In a sexual environment, etiquette and mutual respect become VERY important. While being direct is encouraged, it seems that many people don't know how to be direct while still showing respect for the other person in the exchange. 

I got a lot of shit today for saying that I find it offensive when someone approaches me (even at a sex party) and says, "you're hot, let's fuck." Now, some people said that the offer was made by someone being direct about what he wanted in an environment where sex is encouraged. That is true. However, the thing about a "you're hot, let's fuck" statement is that it completely disregards me and my wants. By approaching me with that line, you are telling me that I fulfill your requirements for sexual attractiveness, and that my own requirements should only be that I am hot enough to fulfill yours. A line like "you're hot, let's fuck" completely disregards the importance of chemistry and mutual attraction. And on top of that, it's just plain insulting. There are a million other ways to be direct about being interested in someone without also reducing them down to a pair of tits. (And while objectifying people in a sexual situation is sexy or fun, you NEVER open a conversation by doing it.)  My point is simply that saying, "you fill my required hotness factor, now let's fuck" is disrespectful and unacceptable, even at a sex party.

Even in the world of kink and sex, basic etiquette applies. If you want to play in the sandbox, learn the damn rules. 

11 May, 2010


After years of exercising in one form or another, I had a realization today. Gym class teachers don't yell at you to keep going because they are disappointed in you, they do it to motivate you to push yourself.

That seems pretty simple and basic, but somehow I never quite figured that out. In my head, every time a trainer, a dance teacher, or anyone else yelled at me to keep going I felt I was falling short of their expectations, disappointing them, or making them angry.

My brain is a weird and twisted place to live sometimes.

09 May, 2010

Old Photos

I recently organized all the photos I've taken during the last year and a half I've spent in London. I divided them up into the CSM era, and everything that came afterward. Looking over the photos I've come to a couple conclusions.

First, I was a lot thinner when I first moved to London. I was also absolutely miserable.

Secondly, though I produce less art now than I did during my time at CSM, the quality of my designs has raised significantly. There is not one piece of CSM work that I am proud of. Yet in the months that followed, I began designing shoes and things that I love. I've never before produced ideas that I fall in love with.

I must be doing something right.

06 May, 2010

Today's Haul

Today's haul included patent leather and tweed to make my shoes out of. Blue metallic spandex to make hotpants out of to go with a certain pair of shoes I have. Purple micronet stockings to help complete my fetish Joker costume. An always-useful gold purse gun, a "Belgium Detective" fake moustache (in case I need to be in cognito) and two sets of silver lashes (for a project which I will reveal soon!)

Project Update

Not much to say these days. Mostly I run around every day either sawing/gluing/ruining things, tying stuff up, sewing things, running errands, or meeting people about Kinky Salon London stuff...

This morning I met with my KSL co-head of decor and we worked out how to build a Barbarella-spaceship-inspired seating area. At the moment it's a big ol' mess as we try out everything from stacked pallets to high density polystyrene to staging, covered in foam, cut down to size, covered in monster fur. It's turning into quite a debacle, but I am determined to make it work. I might have found the perfect solution though- I just got some price quotes back from a company in Leicester and things might be looking up.

I've been taking an evening shoemaking course and although I'm using a last I hate, I decided to challenge myself and do some brogue-type lace ups. Currently I'm only as far as patterning and cutting the fabric and leather, but I'm kind of loving the Old Man Chic I'm working with. I've always had a thing for tweed and elbow patches, so I've sort of incorporated that aesthetic on my new shoes. Here's a sneak preview for anyone who is curious.

I've also been working at my internship most days doing everything BUT shoes. We're currently working on some furniture for an exhibition (which I obviously can't show you), and I've spent my days becoming reacquainted with every kind of finger-chopping saw in the workshop and making a fool of myself as I tie things up, glue stuff, break stuff, trip over stuff, and make a huge mess. That said, I'm having an amazing fucking time.

Now I just need to schedule in some sleep.

01 May, 2010

Night of the Senses

I found myself as Kitty Stryker's +2 last night at the follow up Erotic Awards Ceremony where she was nominated and WON in the Innovation category. It was an interesting event, gave me lots of think about in terms of how I approach our next Kinky Salon event at the end of this month.

Anyhow, I don't have much else to say here except that I ran into many sexy people I knew, got lots of kisses and hugs, and left early like a rockstar. Oh yeah.

Oh, I wish I had a full length photo, but you can imagine- this skirt reached the floor and has a bustle in the back. I wore it with black fluevog shoes.

Victor? Victoria?

An actual conversation between myself and a girl I met today:

     Me: "I love the sequins on your sweater." 
     Her: "You're just a human magpie aren't you?" 
     Me: "I prefer the term 'drag queen' actually, thank you..."