It was January 3, 2009. I had just recently finished a solo bicycle trip that spanned over four months and took me about 4,000 miles around the United States. I was exhausted and broke, crashing on a friend’s couch in Los Angeles. Sometime after midnight, in a fit of inspiration, I wrote the following in my notebook:
I have been reminded recently of the importance of understanding the tools and resources of a craft. Every material, as well as any technique, possesses its own advantages and disadvantages, qualities and properties of unique character and application. The choice of material or tool or technique should reflect the characteristics of the element in a way that cohesively reinforces the integrity of the ultimate product. Every decision should logically adhere to the initial inspiration, which, ultimately, is the driving force behind the completion of the project. Form should be the natural by-product of function.
Two months later I was living in Nashville, Tennessee, studying under a tailor, and making my humble beginnings in this craft. I had yet to make a cap or a tie. All I knew was that I had a drive to create with quality, to become a craftsman.