Monday, December 27, 2010

Pattern Magic

I made my first pattern from the Pattern Magic book series a few days ago and I am pleased with how it turned out. Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pixel Shelf

I made this little icon of Carlton as a potential knitting stitch pattern. It was the only really odd thing that I could think to put on the sweater that I am working on right now. It makes a really nice Memphis Group icon or avatar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cowl-hood Pattern Now on Etsy

Due to popular demand, I have now posted my first PDF knitting pattern on Etsy. The pattern has now been made by many women from my synagogue and is ready to be shared. If you are a knitter and you are interested you can find the pattern here.

Final Review, Fall 2010

It is nearing the end of the semester and though there is still a lot of work to be done,  I have finished my design work for the semester. There is a lot to be said about how the project went, but it is easier to just refer everyone to the blog of my professor, Matthew  Burger, who has done a great job posting the coursework.

This is the tent which I made with my partner, Adam Miller. The project will be continued after the winter break.

It is now time for a nap.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

These shoes are finished

These are the shoes that are now finished and wearable. They make me very happy because they look a lot like the drawings that I did. I will be using  the process that my teacher, Emily Putterman, taught me to make more shoes in the future. I honestly never thought of shoes as something that could be handmade in only a short time. Though these took a lot more steps than the felt slippers which I have been making recently, they were not necessarily harder. the process is a lot easier to control than felting as long as you can sew decently.

It was also a lot of fun to make myself the fake wax seal medallions for the shoe clips. I like the red color on the brown and recently realized that these would make really nice brooches for non shoe use. Maybe they will soon show up on Etsy.

Better photos will follow.

Also a short and abbreviated guide on how to make a pair of shoes. I am no expert, but the general process is quite interesting and should be documented.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


My shoes are lasted, and tomorrow they will be going to the shoe repair shop to be soled. I like how they turned out so far, they look a little more like moccasins than i would have expected but that is definitely a good thing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pleated Leather

Did you know that instead of ironing leather, you hammer creases into it? I did not until last week when I made some intricately folded leather frills for my 1776 mules.

Here are the pictures of the leather pieces wrapped around my foot. They are surprisingly close to the original sketches. I am very pleased with how they are turning out even though they are a different color than I had anticipated.

More Fortunes

This is what I do when I get bored in class, I make fortune cookies  out of horse belly. They are just very cute, and they smell like leather.
They are made the same way that I make my other cookies, with a circle of flexible material and a bit of heat. Very cute and realistic. So realistic that they keep fooling me. I see edible cookies instead of leather charms.

Monday, November 15, 2010

There was a party with shoes and vegan cupcakes

Farm Sanctuary's Gene Baur, Olsenhaus' Elizabeth Olsen and Russell Simmons, a famous dude who I have not heard of before. Photo: Getty.
There was a party on November 11th which featured the shoes of Pratt students which were designed for the OlsenHaus global shoe competition.  There were famous people there,  like Russell Simmons and Moby and there was also a lot of vegan food.

My shoes, my real name is actually Alexandra. 
Photo: Emma Grady
The view from the sky lounge of the Atelier was pretty cool, though you cannot tell from the pictures that I took at the event. They seem to light these events in a way which discourages amateur photography. I therefore refer you to the writeup over on TreeHugger, they took some good pictures of the student work. They even took a picture of my shoes, which feature a platform made of recycled tires and a big purple spat.

This is the first pair of heels that I have ever made. Their realness amazes me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can you spot me?

This is a picture of my midterm presentation for Making Meaning, my senior studio class.

I have not really been following the progression of my project because not a lot was happening up to the midterm. So far I think this project has taught me more about time management than anything else. This project is unique from other things which I have done before in so many ways that it was overwhelming at first. Writing my own brief was difficult because though the outcome is unknown, it must be defined. My partner and I were completely unprepared for the initial organization of such a large project. At the time of the midterm, we were weeks behind schedule.
Though there are two of us, the work does not seem to go faster just because we have more brain power. Working with a partner is difficult for reasons that I had not anticipated. There are few times when we have disagreements which cause tension. The problem with working as a team is that we are slow to move forward. When there is always someone to bounce ideas off of, ideas keep bouncing and decisions are never permanent.
I wonder whether this is a problem for other people.
The project is now progressing a lot faster, and bu the time the final is due, there will be something to build. I hope it stands up.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This lovely new background

This lovely new background is a picture of the Brooklyn skyline. I hope you like the view from here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rococo Shoes

 I have decided to make some rococo mules for my next shoe making project. They are a bit of a combination of french 1700s fashion and Native American headdresses.

 There is one with a ribbon and one with a cabochon, I think the ribbon is more trendy while the cabochon looks a bit too costumy. Here are some of my inspiration images.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hat Challenge: The funky astronaut

This is an "artistic" shot of my newest hat challenge results. This is the funky astronaut, inspired by vintage illustrations of space men. Friends say to me "Where do you plan to wear that?", "You look like an odd robot," and "What!?" I think what they are really trying to tell me is that they like it.

It is the first of my designs that has been incredibly close to my original sketch, I will post that later when i retrieve my sketchbook from my studio.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This should be labeled dipped shoe project 2.0 because I used the same process to make myself a pair of slippers. I used a beige-ish natural wool paired with a blue rubber sole. I like the way the colors turned out, but some are not too keen on them.

I would like to post more pictures, but for some reason the new upload system is not letting me...

.. maybe this will be resolved later.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I am far along in the process of making a pair of shoes. This week I finally got the confidence to try sewing my own pieces on the industrial machines in the fashion department. I am not great at sewing straight lines, but it got to be too hard to explain my pattern to the professor and sewing for me was taking up a lot of her time. All pieces have to be sewn with a 1/16" seam, so I was a bit nervous about the precision in combination with the high speed of the machines. It turned out that the fashion machines are a lot easier to use than I was led to believe.

I do not want to show the patterns for the shoes quite yet, but I would like to share my color dilemma. I need to choose a color that goes well with periwinkle and gray, not that periwinkle and gray go well together. Here are my options:



Please help me out and leave some input, I will not reveal my opinion until there is some feedback.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This is hat is cool

This hat is cool.
That is all.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why Design Now Conference

Today I went to an interesting conference at Lincoln Center. It was related to the design triennial exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt. All of the speakers were very interesting and relevent, it was really too much information to convey in only one post so I will try to discuss the issues that were brought up over the next few days.
There was a theme to the speakers. Every one of them was dedicated to the idea of design for the greater good, in other words, the panelists were all selflessly dedicated to the needs of human kind. Nobody was speaking about their artistic vision, and the term "design," whether industrial, graphic, or interface, was used to describe a process of creative problem solving rather than aesthetics. In fact, there was a distinctive lack of pretension and ego. Solutions were judged by their actual effect, not just on research and styling.
The themes that stood out were the importance of "empathy," a term used to describe not only understanding the emotion of the client or user, but their lifestyle and culture. This was not just a buzzword or a trend, it was a fully implemented philosophy which helps keep the designer from designing irrelevant solutions.

More about this when I can organize my thoughts better...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I have chosen

I was approached with an offer that I cannot refuse: collaborate with a friend on a burning man shelter which is collapsible and leaves no trace in the environment. By the end of the year we will have a functioning structure built, and it will go to the desert for use.
Though I have little interest in camping in the heat and dust, I have been fascinated with the idea of burning man for a while. It is a very interesting concept to set up a city for a week and then leave without a trace at the end. This is the perfect opportunity to participate but not get all dirty and crabby in the middle of a desert.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Making Meaning of my design brief

It is time to write my design brief for my studio class and last week I could have done it on time. I was set on the idea of making an item which either collapsed, transformed, or was just mechanically superior to its predecessor. Yet, as the deadline approaches, this idea no longer seems like the only interest which occupies my thoughts.

Dedication to function over form has always been my way of overcoming many of the stylistic decisions that must be made during the design process. First the basic needs must be addressed, then the form can be determined by a combination of mechanics, style, target market, and the ever present teachings of the Pratt 3D department. There is a certain emptyness to this process though, something is left unsatisfied by design which accepts the traditional assumption that the styling of an object is better determined by designers than by the consumer.

Every day inventors make useful items, and every day designers produce sleek renderings which epitomize form and function in harmony. I cannot help but wonder what the role of the designer has become. Is it our job to create something that does good, or is it similar to the role of a fashion designer who relies on changing trends in order to sell clothes each season.

In any case, I am struggling to figure out what is more practical, important and interesting. Designing one object which is a significant improvement over the last is good. It shows that I can define and solve problems, and probably make them look pretty. But if I am to complete this task, I must first find a starting point, and that is where I am floundering. If I am unable to find area for improvement in the world, then do I have the skill to solve such a problem?

The alternative is to turn to a research based exploration of the role of the designer in the world. It concerns me that my education focuses so much energy on my visual literacy, yet ignores the fact that most people are ignorant or indifferent to the forms which we create. The designer should not pass judgment on the tastes of those less educated than they, rather they should examine what is most loved. There is a validity to all stylistic preferences outside of those that are taught in school, to say otherwise is outdated, pre-postmodernist thinking which does not acknowledge the polyvocality which pervades other areas of academia.

We live in a time when the mass media is severely undermined by the new social media (twitter, reddit, op-ed bloggers) which gives the individual an opportunity to be heard. It is possible that the DIY and craft movements are growing for no reason other than a desire for individuality and freedom from impersonal industrial design. Sometimes it is just too easy to look at the portfolios on design websites and find a lack of individuality and a dedication to the idea of the designer as the sole creator of beauty. In the scheme of things, those of us who consider ourselves to be visually literate are just another group of people with similar taste.

As you can see from my passionate writing, I am pretty opinionated on the role of design and beauty in relation to society. I am sure that my comments can be refuted with all sorts of arguments, and those are very welcome.

Now that I have written more of a rant than a contrast of options I will go to bed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

3D class preview

Here is a preview of my work so far for my 3D class. I took these pictures in my dorm room on top of my printer so forgive the poor quality, but they should nonetheless give you an idea of what I have been doing with these CD cases for the last few weeks.
Let's just say I have a wide variety of candy in little bowls all over my room. I even made some public candy bowls. 

People do take candy from strangers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Completing 3D class

I have an incomplete from my 3D class from last semester. This year I will be attending 3D class, or should I say CD class- this is the load of CD cases that I unloaded yesterday and brought to my room:
I get to retake the course with a good friend of mine who should be pretty fun to work with. We did some experiments in class and made this warped surface.
I did a few ot her things that were too hard to take pictures of in my dorm room. there will be many many more pictures of our CD case experiments to come.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Storm King Trip

My class took a trip to Storm King art center and I saw a lot of sculpture.

Then I saw no sculpture.

And then I stared down a deer.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My First Last

I thought that the pez and tictacs made a good heel
On Wednesday morning I got up early to go to Kaufman's Shoe Repair Supply. They helped me find a lot of the supplies that i need to make my first pair of shoes. That is a lie, I made a pair of valenki type boots about a month ago, but those are much less complex than a pair of pumps.

I purchased my first last (good pun, right?) and have already started taping it up to make the pattern for a vegan pair. I think that the 3 inch height will make for a really good somewhat comfortable pumps with a small platform in the front. Once i get this shoe making thing done, I will hopefully no longer have to settle for trends over personal style.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Collapsible plans

Well, my plans to make an umbrella as a senior project seem to be collapsing. There is a lot of doubt whether there is a need for a new type of umbrella when the original is good and the many variations on the theme are even better.

My current design problem is no longer about the mechanics. This week I will be dedicating myself to the challenge of finding something that should be collapsible. Not just for fun or for aesthetics, but for a real improvement in usability.

I want to avoid making another product like my Dot Hat (on the right) because it was not really a mechanical challenge for me. The only thing that I can think to do right now is to read through the "Collapsible" book and make something that is not in it.

For example,  my roommate has a switch blade comb. It is functional, easy to carry and, most importantly, humorous. Maybe later she will let me take a little video of it in action.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A new book and a new project

I have now made it through one week of classes. On Thursday I had my first studio class, and it seems like a good semester is ahead of me. As part of the class that I chose, we were able to pick a project direction as long as it fell into the category of "Making Meaning." For me, Making Meaning and "industrial design" should be the same thing. If something that I design has no meaning and intention, then it just isn't very successful.

Folding and collapsible objects have been an interest of mine for a while now. As a child, the discovery of the Hoberman sphere at the local toy store was a life changing moment of pure awe. It combined my interest in geometry with a new technological twist. The study of leaf and map folding soon followed.

Making something flat 3d, and making something 3d flat- this is something that is both challenging and useful.

I was hoping to focus on the umbrella,  the simple and effective folding device which I have been looking at all summer. Yet today, when I picked up a copy of the book "Collapsible" by Per Mollerup, I was able to see all of the folding objects in my life. The umbrella is on the cover, the archetype of collapsibility.

I wonder if there is a reason to redesign something that is already so well thought out and developed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My new assignment!!

One of my assignments from yesterday was to be an active blogger with good content.

Well, here I am, actively blogging. All that is left is some good content.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

School is beginning tomorrow

There is a possibility that I will be posting less often.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Double Fried Egg Chili Chutney Sandwich

RIMMER crawls unsteadily to the clock and peers at it blearily.  He is
clearly suffering the awful after-effects of drinking.

RIMMER: Saturday.
LISTER: Is that the best you can do?
RIMMER: There are some numbers next to it, but they could be anything.
LISTER: Do you know what I fancy right now?
RIMMER: A big, fat woman with thighs the size of a hippo's.
LISTER: No, I want a triple fried egg butty with chili sauce and chutney.
RIMMER: (Managing to sit down in a chair.) Me too.
LISTER: Well no problem then.  Nothing's too good for the deathday boy.
RIMMER: Correct!  (Punches air.)
A double will do for me.

Coriander chutney and sriracha chili sauce with tomatoes and two fried eggs on bread.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Silly on Coroflot

There is always a risk when you post a ridiculous picture of yourself on the internet. I made the choice to put my silly balaclava picture up in my portfolio. About 12 hours later, I have a letter in my inbox notifying me that my silly balaclava picture has been featured in the coroflot member gallery.

That is me in the upper left wearing by far the stupidest hat that I have ever made. Thank you coroflot for featuring my insanity.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hat Challenge - The Sexy Babushka

A while ago I thought of the sexy babushka project and I think I posted about it. Here are the results of my attempt to knit a sexy babushka.

Though it is not quite "sexy" I think that it does a good job at being less grandmothery than most babushkas. It looks good tied in the back too, and it looks ok worn down. Overall, this was a nice exploration of short-row pattern making. The pattern will be available in the next few weeks if there is an interest.

THE CHALLENGE- out sexy my babushka and link to yours.

You might also like...