Making another shoe - testing Ideal Husband
checking out a different last with a bright new design for "Ideal Husband"....

I just came back from Victoria, where I was part of the Fibre Arts annual event in Ballarat – teaching a small group of students how to make a pair of shoes. This almost did not happen, as my main occupation has been keeping my hot water bottle a) VERY CLOSE and b) VERY HOT. Needless to say this amounted to something close to a full-time job, and my students just had to fit around this major task. SOMEHOW, IT WORKED! As we’ve been given one of the coldest rooms in that whole place, we simply kept an open fire going while slowly burning all the furniture around us. Every now and then, an unhappy visitor saw his or her cherished belongings going up in flames as well, but sacrifices had to be made by everyone. Here some visual proof of activity around freezing point….

shoe workshop in Ballarat April 2012
Day one shoe workshop - with blue hot water bottle! Lots of furniture still intact...

Please note that Brook, one of my students, is WEARING A WINTER COAT WITH A SCARF…if this feels totally normal to you, you have my condolences. Residing in Darwin in the tropics of Australia, I had to do a bit of refocusing as well as visualizing palm trees and melting ice cream just in order to keep going…but enough of that. I am back home for almost a week, and am happily de-frosted by now – but the likelihood of a cold-induced mental break down  prevents me from visiting Melbourne and all that cold stuff down there for quite a while…also, might be a good idea to stay clear of Ballarat for some time – all that burned furniture – we left only some ashes behind…..

Claire working away on her shoes
A very stylish cobbler...lasting shoes with matching tights...Claire McArdle in action wearing her own (leather!) jewelry

If all this made you want to make a pair of shoes yourself, check out other workshops later this year….contact me at or We’ll be offering new classes in May and June in Darwin, and I am looking into some other locations…one of them being Bali again….so watch this space!

Susan, Miemie, Esther, Katie, myself and Sonya at the Darwin City Council
Becoming a Half-Australian

So far, 2012 has been a VERY eventful year, and so many more months to come…this photo shows a bunch of my colleagues from my part-time job…or does that make them my part-time colleagues? Either way, it’s a mixed bunch, and this little mob features a New Zealanderess, a Burmese Strong Woman, a Fabulous Liberian Grandmother, some VERY enthusiastic Half-Norwegian, a new Half- Australian, and MY BOSS. THE BOSS seems a bit crazy, but then she is the only “real” Australian of that bunch – and we all know what burdens those guys have to drag around. So now I am in possession of a Darwin City Council pencil, a fabulous Darwin City Council plastic fan (very handy here!?!), some brilliant coin, a rather lovely book full of pictures about my Half-New-Mother-or- Fatherland as well as the delightful choice of applying for my very own Australian Passport – while still keeping my stern Germanessness due to Dual Citizenship.

Of course I got a bit of extra (unwanted?!!) attention in the form of “Australiana” kindly gifted to me by my mildly malicious fellow work is a list which I am sure will make you feel for me:

– a pair of SHORT shorts printed with the Australian flag – noice – and a pair of MATCHING thongs, to be worn with ZINK on your face.

– a plastic pool ball with the Australian flag – to go with the paper lamp screaming AUSTRALIA with it’s colors…AND some Australia tattoos..sigh.

– OFF COURSE there was a delightful little kangaroo in there somewhere stashed away in the mini esky…and did I mention the wife beater singlet???

Thank goodness for the little bottle of Eucalyptus oil kindly provided as well – it was good to know I could have ended it all by drinking that!

There have been photos taken that day, when I attempted to wear ALL THAT on top of my other stuff, but sadly I won’t be able to provide it here – simply too hard to stomach, and possibly a little bit un-Australian as worn with a bit of apprehension…

So instead we’re going back TO WORK, which is very much my “Ideal Husband” shoe range right now – spent a lot of time this week thinking over some designs, working out possible heels, contemplating leather…and organizing for my business cards to be printed….here we see my assistant contemplating last placement issues on the logo….Bruno in Darwin, March 2012.

Marlene's cat Bruno
The Cat and The Logo

Now heading off to a “sunset cruise aboard the Charles Darwin” – apparently there is some dinner involved, so something rather nice to do with the rest of my Saturday…before returning to my studio, of course, to keep thinking about THOSE IDEAL HUSBANDS….as they exist!!

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