Hello friends, I’m really excited to announce that I’m hosting my first giveaway! This Pecos Handpainted Leather Bracelet is the prize at hand, how lucky are you! [details on entry below] I’m even more excited to introduce you to the designers, Jessica Tata and William Knopp of Son of a Sailor. Hailing from Austin, Texas, this lovely creative couple was kind enough to co-host this giveaway with me and share a little bit about themselves and what they do.
Tell me a little about yourselves.
Son of a Sailor is a creative collaboration between myself, Jessica Tata, and my husband, William Knopp. Though I am originally from Texas, I had been in the Bay Area for a couple of years. William was living in Austin but was on the tail end of a year-long travel around the world. We met as he passed through San Francisco and made a stop to visit his college friend—my roommate. During his trip we spent some good time together, and pretty quickly ended up doing art projects on the floor! After that trip, we began dating long distance, and we were constantly creating. Whether we were sending artistic packages back and forth or making things together on our visits, we were always making something!
William is educated as a graphic designer and illustrator, and has spent time in the Navy and the oil fields of Odessa, Texas. To say he has had a varied background is a bit of an understatement. He’s always had a passion for exploration–he’s lived on a small island in Greece, walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain (a 500 mile stretch), traveled around the US, and been countless other places while in the navy. While we were dating long-distance, he returned to the oil fields to work as a roughneck. William appreciates physical labour, camaraderie, and the outdoors, which I think adds a very specific quality to his aesthetic sensibilities. The name Son of a Sailor derived very specifically from his naval background and love for nautical imagery.
Prior to Son of a Sailor, I had been working for about 7 years in fine art galleries and museums. I have a degree in photojournalism, and ended up finding my niche in arts administration and curation. I have also worked a great deal in interior design, most notably as a contributing writer for Apartment Therapy. Fine art and design are constantly intersecting, and I have found myself at that intersection point time after time. After spending a fantastic year at a critically acclaimed, groundbreaking photography space in San Francisco, I returned to Austin with William to plant some roots. After dating for 10 months at a distance of 1800 miles, we were excited to start a life in the same city together–so we bought a house, started a business and got married! We sort of like to do things all at once…
What’s the story behind Son of a Sailor?
Our ideas come very organically. We begin by working with materials that resonate with us–the characteristics of each material are important. For example, brass is a metal that has nautical references, a beautiful gold color with a great vintage look to it as it oxidizes, and is not cost prohibitive for most people. Leather, in the ways that we are using it, tends to reference a more rugged, western or native american appeal. We’ve taken these great materials and added a modern touch with handpainted patterns and geometric designs.
With our Geometric Necklaces, one of our first forays into hand-painting, we created designs that are reminiscent of signal flags. They’re not literal translations, but definitely have that flair. I think that my love for geometry and math also plays into our work in some of the patterns and shapes you’ll find in the jewelry and the prints. William’s penchant and talent for illustration is seen throughout many of our designs, as well. We always feel like we’ve got a nice balance of vintage and handmade appeal with clean, geometric lines.
How has working in collaboration with each other enriched your creative process?
When it comes to our aesthetic sensibilities, William and I have a pretty overlapping venn diagram. However, it’s those fringe areas, those areas that we differ that really push Son of a Sailor to be something that neither one of us could do on our own. One of us will begin an idea, but the other will come in, disrupt the creative process a little, and add an element that wouldn’t have happened if the first person were left to their own devices.
Additionally, I tend to work really quickly and efficiently. I’m able to conceive an idea and bring it to fruition in an almost manic way. William works more methodically and thoughtfully. He works an idea like a piece of clay, molding it and finessing it until it’s just right. In the same capacity, I tend to be the one that makes projects happen in a timely fashion, but William ensures that the work is not thoughtlessly and carelessly conceived. We’re always bringing our own strengths to the table, and they happen to complement each other nicely.
If you could see our closet, you might have a better understanding of how difficult this question is for us to answer! We like to joke about the idea that the only thing preventing us from being classified as hoarders is extreme organization…
Really, though, I think that my favorite finds are the two typewriters that I thrifted for $6 and $12. They are both the same portable Royal model, one is the Fiesta and one is the Mariner, both in tones of teal! I love them for decor, but I also actually use them to -gasp- type with! William’s favorite found treasure is a Sonhadora harmonica made in Brazil that he found at a garage sale in high school. It lives in the top drawer of his dresser and he picks it up and plays it every now and then! He would also say his original Chewbacca action figure he found at a little vintage shop, but he didn’t want to sound too nerdy…
As world travelers, where has been your favorite stop along the way and where are you headed to next?
My favorite stop so far was Florence, Italy. With a strong Italian background on my father’s side, there was an element of experiencing the “heartland” that I felt pretty distinctly. Outside of that I simply adored the city, the food, the fashion, and the history!
William’s favorite stop was Paros, the small Greek island where he lived for a few months. Living on top of a mountain, surrounded by the ocean, riding a moped around and meeting the amazing, creative and strange people that decided to make the island their home was a fantastic experience.
I’m trying to get William to go to Iceland for our next trip…I suggested it as a honeymoon venue, but we opted for something a little more tropical and beach-y. So, I’m really gunning for Iceland next!
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
Jammies. We get to work in our jammies. That, and the flexibility in schedule that comes with it. Well, when we’re not working 80 hours a week, there’s flexibility.
Who are your top 5 muses/ sources of inspiration? [ be it a fictional character, a artist of another era, a musician, a favorite color, etc. ]
Outside of one another? For me, geometry is a big one. That derives directly from being a math nerd. The whole DIY movement, to me, is also very inspiring. Making things from other things has always been something I’ve been interested in. My friends tend to be huge inspirations for me, as well. I have so many stylish, talented, beautiful people around me that fuel my creativity!
Billy will site Shel Silverstein as a large influence, as well as space travel. He also loves rocks, and stones, and can be caught scouring the bottom of the river bed for hours if left to his own devices. Ultimately, nature as a whole, especially water and wood, are extreme muses for William.
If you could pick up one skill, whatever you want, what would it be?
Jessica: I wish I could roll my ‘R”s.
William: the Fushigi. Like David Bowie in Labyrinth.
Aren’t they great? Yes, yes they are. Now, to win this bracelet , the rules are pretty simple:
1. Like Son of a Sailor on Facebook
2. Like OOHDEARdesign on Facebook
The winner will be drawn randomly using a random comment generator next Friday, May 18th at noon [ohio-time] — that’s one week from today. Be sure to check back on Friday to see if you’re the winner! GOOD LUCK! — ooh dear