Spring 2016 Playday at the Soft Star Workshop

Spring 2016 Playday at the Soft Star Workshop



It's that time again! Once or twice a year, we set aside a day to pause our serious work and let our staff delve into the creative projects of their choosing. The projects don't have be related to shoes in any way (though often they are, just because that's what we like) and our staff is allowed to use any of the tools or scrap materials in the Soft Star workshop.

At the end of the day, we have a show and tell to share what we did. Sometimes we develop new product to sell (like our tassels), sometimes we learn new ways to work with our tools and materials and sometimes—most often—the only result is that we have a lot of fun.

The purpose of our Playdays is to increase creativity and morale in the workplace. We've been doing it for several years now and have found it to be very successful. Kudos to Soft Star owners Tricia and Larkin for continuously seeking ways to make our jobs more fun!

Here are the projects our staff came up with for our Spring 2016 Playday. Let us know in the comments below which ones you like best! And sorry, but none of these are available for sale (yet):



Elf Brad made a hunting pouch, which he decorated by hand with a leather burning tool.



Elf Casey began working on a basket made of chicken wire and leather scraps.



Elf Charlie made a leather tray for holding, as he puts it, "anything you can imagine."



Elf Emily found a book titled Craft Manual of North American Indian Footwear and decided to try her hand at duplicating traditional Winnebago moccasins.



Elf Tesla has said for a long time that she would like a scooter to navigate the large floor of our new building after we move. Elf Hava just happened to find two that a neighbor was giving away for free, so she and Elf Heather spent their Playday painting and decorating them. Tesla was thoroughly surprised. We may never see her walking again!



Elf Jana was inspired by a shoe she saw online to create this one-piece leather moccasin.



Elf Karen made leather flowers for our showroom! The green squares are made from our sizing tags.



The very artistically talented Elf Katie burned designs into leather scraps by hand to make jewelry.



Elf Katie also worked on a new sandal design.



Elf Martin painted plastic containers to make a pair of steampunk goggles.



Elf Patty won the award for most projects! Clockwise from top left: a leather corner-page bookmark, an earphone organizer made of rubber soling scraps, a suede leather ring,  a hair tie/ponytail wrap thingy and a leather pencil case.



Elf Rob made some creative leather bracelets. The yellow one on the left doubles as a wrist bracelet (or Wonder Woman costume prop) AND a hot coffee cozy. The orange/white one on the right is a reflective ankle bracelet for cyclists.



Elf Rob also made... this.



Elf Sara spent most of her Playday reorganizing our filing system, but she also found time to make earrings out of our leather scraps.



Founder Elf Tim made... well, it started as a sheepskin-lined mitten for riding a bicycle in cold weather, but it turned into an oven mitt by the time he was done.



C.Elf.O. Tricia used zipper scraps to replicate a design for a pencil bag. When zipped up, it's an enclosed bag, but it can be completely unzipped into one long strip!


Click here to see more of our Playday projects



There you have it. Spring 2016 Playday was a blast!

Is there anything you'd like to see us work on at our next playday? Let us know!

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  1. Temberley Rinker
    Temberley Rinker
    I love the one piece moccasin and new sandal design! I want a pair of each!!!!!!
  2. Erica
    My favorite is the hunting pouch. I love pouches of all kinds, and have one made for me of deerskin (I bought the small hide at a Tandy Leather shop in the 90s. I like the pencil case, too, but it's way too small for my pen collection! I'd love to have a leather oven mitt, but I use a lot of oil and fear it would be stained beyond anything in short order. And earrings! I have quite a collection, but no leather ones yet.
  3. Becky L.
    I always love seeing what the Elves will make on Playdays...what a bunch of creative and fun people! I used to be an art teacher, so I love that a workplace allows time for its team members to be creative. I can totally relate to Sara reorganizing the files since I'm that person at my current job who is a little obsessive about organization! I love Karen's leather flowers, Katie's new sandal design, and Rob's little purple guy (would make a cute glasses case!). But really, you all did some super things! Thanks for sharing.
  4. Christine
    I agree, the one piece moccasin and the new sandal designs are awesome! Please, please consider selling these styles!
  5. Mary Jo Ramsey
    Mary Jo Ramsey
    I LOVE the sandals!!! I hope they weill be available next spring.!
  6. Suzanne
    Love the new one-piece leather moccasin! I saw that a few months ago on another site and was hoping that one day the elves would make something similar!!! And, love the new sandal design, too! Hoping these come to fruition in the near future, with the bullhide leather sole!! Soft Star Shoe elves are the best!!!
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