Friday, August 22, 2014

Thanks a million...


First off, I’d like to thank everyone for their interest in my work. I started thinking of creating this website after having a difficult time finding any information about leather crafting for BD/SM gear online a number of years ago. I decided if no one else had done it, why not do it yourself?  

It turns out that many people who do leather work professionally protect their methods and techniques as shop secrets, which I totally understand and respect. Unfortunately, that leaves us amateurs to figure out everything from scratch for ourselves. It’s getting a little better now, with more leathercrafters sharing their knowledge on forums or youtube. But it can still be hard to find people sharing perv-specific designs, patterns and techniques.

When I began the blog in 2010, I figured if I had about 5 regular visitors I would consider the experiment a success. 1.4 million page views later, the audience for the blog has far exceeded my expectations. The best part has been meeting pervy and creative people of all stripes from all over the world. If you have ever wondered if you’re alone in your interests, I can assure you that you’re not, and most pervs I’ve met in person have been kind, intelligent and otherwise normal-acting, fully-functional folks. It's been a blast. 

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING:
I wanted to thank a bunch of people who have been longtime friends and supporters, including a few that aren’t with us anymore. I have to start off here with Mark at SeriousBondage.com, without whom this blog would never have happened at all. His site inspired me to do something to share this odd passion with others, and the fact that he linked to me with a banner on his homepage was the primary source of traffic to my blog for many years. Thanks Mark, for the support and inspiration! It wouldn't have happened without you.

Also, thanks to other friends, artists and inspiring people I’ve met along the way:
sammy, thisgirl, Meguca, -EM-, Elizabeth and Dave Andrews, Jeff Gord (RIP), Lew Rubens, Mumman, Dalton Ott, Karen Hsiao, PJW, Serene Isley, cyaneyedinbarclay, Londonropetop, Bob Bassett, Captive Kink, Kevin at Straitjacketed.com, JustJimAndWendy, Kate O'Brien, Le_Cordonnier, Fragileslave, Restricted Senses, and all my wonderful previous clients.

CUSTOM WORK
If you are interested in having something custom-made, I do apologize, but I could never find a way to make that whole process work. The reasons (in case you’re interested) break down into 4 categories:

FINANCIAL - It’s difficult to produce custom-items at a price point people are willing (or able) to pay. There is great amount of risk in making one-off pieces: a single mistake on the last step can result in a ruined piece, meaning I have to eat the entire cost of the raw materials - which is very high when it comes to leather. 

People are used to the cost of mass-produced items, so their frame of reference is often skewed. And for almost everything I make I’ve seen knockoffs (for less that my own cost of raw materials) for sale on eBay. People who appreciate quality and have the means to pay for it are as rare as hens teeth. 

Finally, I have a day job, and the prospect of making enough to replace that income from leathercraft is so remote as to be laughable.

Doing this has made me understand why quality leather gear costs so much, and why people who do custom work are so rare. It takes a lot of time, effort and an appetite for risk to make a go at it. 

TIME - I get a ton of requests for gear, but I don’t have the capacity to do them in a timely manner, so I mostly have to turn people down. I hate saying no, and it becomes a constant, ongoing bummer to answer my email or FetLife messages. At this stage in my life, I’m ready to shut the door on the whole thing. A “no” can set you free, and I need that freedom right now.  

DIFFICULTY - Dealing with clients and making a custom item based on their supplied measurements is a procedure fraught with risk. Even with the added step of making test-fit prototypes, there is a possibility for errors and problems in the final result. Creating custom patterns, then making prototypes is time-consuming and expensive, and in the end I may end up working for just a couple of dollars an hour. It’s just not worth the risk, and the expense/payoff ratio just doesn't work out. 

CREATIVE - I hate limitations, and when you’re working on a custom piece for a paid client, you have to do their bidding. That makes total sense, (it is for them, after all) but the thing I enjoy most is being able to follow my own ideas, wherever they may lead. The best-case-scenario is when my desire to make something aligns with the client’s vision, but that doesn’t always happen. 

I have many ideas for projects in the works that I haven’t seen anyone do before, and if I don’t make them, I don’t think anyone will. People can point to something once you make it, and say “I want one”, but I’m more interested in making things from my imagination that I haven't seen before, and without limitation of cost, functionality or aesthetics. 

Collaborating with like-minded artists and photographers has been profoundly rewarding for me, so it’s where I hope to focus my efforts in the future. I still plan to share projects and techniques along the way, and welcome feedback and questions anyone may have. Thanks for your time, the comments, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. 


22 comments:

  1. FINALLY, A MILLION!

    You deserve all of it! You're hardworking and passionate in your works. Every seams are sewn together with love. I'd also love to get to your level of actually creating bondage gear in real life...someday. Thanks for sharing your designs and patterns and I hop you'll get to realize all of your designs.

    Oh and, that's a beautiful web banner you have. I like it.

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    1. Thanks Meguca, your work is a constant source of inspiration. You make me wish I could work in metal too! I'll get to every on of them eventually...

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  2. Even though you make items for all of us, regardless of the reasons, thank you for sharing your ideas, processes, and patterns with us! I started leatherworking because of your blog and hope to be at least half as proficient as you are someday. Although I don't comment much, I do come here frequently and enjoy everything I see and read! Thanks for taking the time and effort to post all the things.

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    1. Hang in there. Getting better is an ongoing process, and at least for me, I often feel like a student just staring out. You can't get discouraged with the inevitable setbacks and mistakes. Thanks for letting me know!

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  3. thanks for your ongoing sharing of inspirations of workpieces! some of oyur publications have really helped me finding motivation and guidance on my way to leather and creation!

    should you ever get swept to germany, feel invited to a little tour of nice places and people in berlin and potsdam as well as my place in potsdam, just outside berlin. and if i ever get to california, you'll have to deal with me finding you out and fanboying for a bit : P

    your sharing and work does neither go unnoticed nor unappreciated! for now, i just have to find ways of proving it.

    best regards,
    gregor

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    1. Thanks for your comment, gregor, and the offer as well! I would love to meet you if you ever make it out here to CA...

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  4. Christopher, I just discovered your blog. I have done some custom work myself and am blown away by your achievements and brilliance. Thanks for sharing your genius.

    whumpis

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, whumpis!

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  5. super congratulations!

    so.

    a) i really thought you made a living from this. kind of the "wow, this is so perfectly done, he's probably making stuff for piles of people." but yeah, now that you explain it, it does make sense that that would probably be hard.

    b) i wish this was something regular people would consider art, because that's really what i see it as. then, it wouldn't be something that is in the commodity range, but in the fine art range. so, more expensive.

    c) could you link to some of the people in the thanks list? not me. don't do that. everyone else. i recognize a lot of the names, but then i see other ones, and i'm all "whoa, who am i missing out on?" i mean, i didn't know Meguca until i clicked the comment linky thing. "oh! pswdua! yeah!"

    in any case, i hope you keep making lots of super cool things for me to drool over! other people too. drool for everyone.

    ok, that just sounds stupid, so i'm going to end with another congratulations.

    :)

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  6. Thanks sammy!
    a) Not even close, it's mostly cost me money to do this type of work! Everything I see about being more profitable (standardizing sizes, mass-producing parts, using less expensive materials) takes me away from what I want to do.

    b) I'm more into the artistic/expressive side of it than the "make money doing it" aspect. I want to push the boundaries of what I can do, and not always have to be thinking about making a profit.

    c) I can link to some folks if they don't mind: a lot of them can be found on fetlife... And I never know what to call "PSWKUA/Meguca", although I love her and her work. What noise do you hear in your head when you say that? I think she did that on purpose.

    I'm not stopping any time soon when it comes to production. I have some current projects that have to be kept secret, unfortunately, but definitely have more projects in the pipeline I think you will like. Drool-worthy, I assure you!

    Thanks for the message, and know that I've been thinking about you a lot lately - my brain and I have been battling it out this year, and I can relate to some of your more recent experiences as well. Take care, and be well sammy!

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    1. i am super sad that you're not running kinky leather inc. i really wish i had useful suggestions, but you're pretty much way out of what i know how to do. so. donk.

      like, the idea i had for b was some sort of renaissance commission thing. which probably doesn't exist today, but i can still pretend. i get that doing actual art requires a lot of time. i also see more stuff than i can deal with everyday for free. this doesn't seem fair, but i don't know how to fix it. "give everyone lots of money for free." that may just be socialist sammy ringing in.

      and i'll open up the fetlife profile i never use because fuck hawaii fetlife you jerks, and see how many i can find. it's not a super incestuous popularity contest everywhere, is it?

      i say "pah-swah-coo-ah". like grampa, swahili, cool, arm. not the whole word, just the bit that makes sense there. then again, i do sometimes get confused and call "dole street" "dough-lay".

      and if you read this, PSWKUA/Meguca, i'm a big fan too, and really like your work!

      all your stuff is drool worthy. the "design sketch" stuff looked really cool. i'm going to choose favorites, but they're not really. they're just the most unique things that tingle me today. "boot breather" and "kiss hood". it may be that i just want to wear those forever.

      i hate that you also have a brain nemesis! i wish i knew how to be more supportive than "think good things." i try that, and quickly turn to, "you know? fuck that shit." i hope that you have more "better days" than i feel like i get.

      have a great friday! (because fridays are best)

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  7. Hey sammy,
    I would never say never, and someday maybe it will make sense to try taking orders again. I could picture myself as a wrinkled old man making beautiful leather things for people some time in the distant future. For now, it's just not working out for me.

    It's more important for me to do stuff that expresses an idea, and it might be impractical, uncomfortable or just plain strange, but I have to get some of these things out into the world, and make them real. No limitations, and no clients to satisfy. I need to experiment and to have plenty of room to fail.

    So, fetlife Hawaii not so great? I've met some great people on there, but there do seem to be niches, and sub-niches. I always feel a bit boring because I'm not a "poly-amorous in the house of ***, sub to ****, under the protection of ***. My relationship status is positively boring compared to many! Who knew...

    Thanks for giving me a sound to go with PSWKUA... "pah-swah-coo-ah!" I like the sound of that! =)

    The fact that you like the boot breather and kiss hood, that makes me very happy. I know I'm doing something right if you are groovin' on a project.

    Re: the brain stuff. I had no idea. I don't think you really can unless you experience it yourself. People don't understand that there is more to it than "cheer up." You experience the whole world through your mind, so when it's not working right, it just affects everything. I have so much sympathy for everyone who struggles with this sort of thing now... Thanks for your kind words. And for making my Friday special...

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    1. so i had to break this into two parts, because there's a 4096 character limit i din't know about.

      i also want to minimize my importance on "thing grooving." i looked through the sketches and quickly chose the two that set me off. the rest were only "meh...those would be only great to be locked in for a day or so. whatever." so, it's not like any were bad. i could come up with comments for all of them if i tried. here are two more random comments: "handle heel" yes. i see this on pixiv a lot, and it needs to exist more in real life. locks, chains, whatever connected to the heel of the shoe locked to your feet. more of this everywhere. set 2 is more confining, but set 2 #3, with the loop on the toes? i'm guessing that's suspended? at such a height that the "Removable cover" is conveniently located? ;-P

      really, i could come up with comments for all of them, but i do need to sleep occasionally. i just rank by how much i want to think about them while i go to sleep. :-P


      and brain stuff. :( i know that i've gotten to a better place by thinking about my friend's daughter. they live far away, but i can visit occasionally, and as she develops, we get to be friends, and it's nice to have the zero-judgement association of a 2 year old. and that tie to something keeps me going a lot when it probably wouldn't make sense otherwise.

      that's not a suggestion, it's just a "this is a thing that makes my depression fade away sometimes so it's easier to deal with." it's kind of a narrow topic, so, you know, even less a good suggestion on things.

      i just want you to know that you have my thoughts with you today, and if you ever need a whatever-day to be more special, i will always respond to an email.


      love
      sammy

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    2. Sorry about that limit, I hate it when they don't spell that out up front! It sucks to be told after the fact....

      Yep, the #3 design with the ring at the toe would be for suspension: not to take the whole body off the bed, but to keep the legs up and out of the way. I want to build the reinforcement into the sack, so it's clean and seamless looking from the outside, but can take the weight.

      Re: brains - Kids are great to have around. They have this wonderfully un-jaded worldview, and just live in the moment. I try to look at life a bit more like that, and not worry too far ahead.

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  8. :( if it's not working, you should look for other things that do work. i say this, fully acknowledging that i'm in a work situation that's totally not working, but i'm holding out for the day that it might start working. i'd do a domestic violence comparison explicitly if i didn't think it was trivializing and out of place.

    (but seriously, i deserve that raise i've been promised for four months.)

    and yeah, i wish everyone could just have the time and money to do what they want, and see how it works. making art for art's sake means that the art is something new and creative, not what someone has seen before and wants a copy of. i guess i would hope clients would want the art, and not just "a big bag of leather, that does bondage sutffs, right?"

    ok, so that stuff you feel boring for? that's what i hate. people who list like 19 people in their relationship, and then when you meet them, it's clear that it's one jerk who has 18 other people as their emotional puppets. "let's set up a committee to sort out meetings" "TUESDAY!" "TOESDAY IS BEST DAY!" "so, tuesday then?"

    and people who are all like "no. you're a sub, so you don't get to speak until you're commanded to. you can sit there and if we invite you, you can come to dinner after the fireworks"

    hawaii is so small that the community is so small, so it's so full of cliques who need to reject and submit, and it's just a bunch of tiring bullshit. like...i go to work and deal with stupid shit all day. i shouldn't have to do the same for a bunch of strangers on a friday evening.

    rant. done.

    i totally sent Ms. PSWKUA/Meguca a message on deviantart, because i felt weird talking about her (even nicely, since we both love her work!) behind her back. it's just a thing i didn't feel right about anymore. but yeah. Pah-swah-coo-ah is how it reads in my brain. any set of letters can be a word if you try hard enough.

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  9. Well, all I can say is that seeing your creations and your how-to's, as well as the wonderful thing of you sharing your patterns, have made me enroll in my first leather workshop.
    Hoping to be able to make some of the items for me playpartner. Fingers crossed and please keep sharing, it is fantastic

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    1. Thanks for your comment, and congrats on the leather workshop. I've got a bunch more stuff in the works, so keep an eye out...

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  10. One more thing to note, about the pageviews - the anonymous members of the /dsg/ bondage threads on 4chan.org's board /d/ also recommends your work and look at your designs and patterns for inspiration.

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    1. I swear you know about these online world I know nothing about... You should offer tours of the hidden areas of the perv internet, Meguca.

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  11. Wow! I think I found my spiritual broth in you! We share the same mentality about the art of bondage kit, once I make something the challenge and not of discovery is satiated. Time to move on to something else. It would be like asking Picasso to paint another painting just like the last one.
    Cheers and keep up the amazing work.
    Kuchi

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    1. Thanks Kuchi! I don't want leather craft to become just routine or a chore. There is so much to explore, and things to make that haven't been seen before.

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  12. Wow! I think I found my spiritual broth in you! We share the same mentality about the art of bondage kit, once I make something the challenge and not of discovery is satiated. Time to move on to something else. It would be like asking Picasso to paint another painting just like the last one.
    Cheers and keep up the amazing work.
    Kuchi

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