Riley Stauss


For this nameplate project, I wanted to create something that is completely unique to me. I also wanted it to have multiple deeper meanings that make it very personal. My inspiration follows the same guidelines as these historic buildings with modern additions; creating something new from history. Choosing to work with my old and dirty boots means that the history is personal to me. 

My old and dirty boots hold a lot of meaning about me as well. As a cultural icon from my home state of New York, they represent where I am from. I also view my boots as a second fingerprint, since the way I have worn them and stained them through use is completely unique and can never be replicated. 


After more ideation, this is the final design I chose, featuring the sole of my right boot with my initials and a smoothbore nozzle on the bottom. This sole is also stepping through a rock texture, giving it some more context. This was later changed to the vacuum former metal grid. This is much more appropriate for me as I have never hiked in these boots and they have only stepped on concrete. The sole of my right boot is just like another type of fingerprint to me as it is cut up with pieces missing that creates a personal timeline of the adventures I have had with it. The nozzle on the bottom represents another huge part of my home town, where I am a firefighter in. This design achieves the personal touch I was looking for as it is my literal and figurative footprint.



In order to make this sole of the boot I opted to use my actual boot instead of recreating a new one. I started by making an acrylic box to house the actual mold. Then, I put four pushpins in the sole of my boot in order to allow the silicone to run underneath. Silicone was poured into the box and set overnight. The pushpins were then removed and sanded flat to protect the plaster. I mixed Plaster of Paris and poured it into the silicone mold to make the copy of my boot’s sole. Finally, I removed any undercuts that would make removal of the plaster from the plastic difficult by sanding and filling gaps with more plaster.


Creating the nozzle for my boot was difficult and took several attempts before it was correct. This bluefoam was sanded and shaped and then used as a template for the more robust wood one. The nozzle placement on my boot’s sole also changed to allow the diamond pattern to look like water spraying as well. The original design called for my initials to cover some of the boot pattern, but I opted to remove those in favor of showing more of sole.

The purpose of shoes is inherently movement and needed to be included in my nameplate. Instead of framing the sole and look very still, I created a wood frame that the shoe could step out of. I also cut the frame so that boot would have an angle which is another characteristic of walking.  

Vacuum Forming

These are my attempts at vacuum forming my nameplates. Starting left to right, my first was just the plaster copy to figure out the vacuum former. Once I had details made I figured out the optimal settings through trial and error.