Do you have a vision or a philosophy ?
"Absolutely, I want to make things that last. They should be able to hold up over time and be repairable if needed. Most of all, I want the design to last. I try to make things that will go on for generations, classics that will never go out of style. I really dislike the idea of a throw away society."
What about quality?
"Quality objects are touchstones in an uncertain and changing world. I'm talking about handcrafted items, the real deal, not manufactured facsimiles. It's a distinction not widely understood. There is certainly a strong element of status involved but high quality is about validating what you believe to be true and substantial about the world. Whenever I start to get overloaded by life, I can go to the studio, start working and feel a sense of being centered and tranquil. Handmade items have a power to transport you. It doesn't matter if it's shoes, a rod and reel or a painting. It's poetry. Isn't this what craft is about?"
So why belts?
" I also make cuff links, earrings, money clips, not just belts. I also have an interest in lighting and interior furnishings. I've been working full time at this since 1970. Buckles have been my specialty since 1995. I very much like the idea of utilitarian design and belts are totally utilitarian, so much so that most men are unaware of the idea of a belt being an accessory. Look in any magazine and find a photo of a man standing. 99.9% of the time he'll be wearing an inexpensive imported generic belt. Even in men's fashion magazines, expensive suits will be shown with very poor quality belts. Men are being taught that this is the right way to look. I set out to make a classic belt. It's hard for me to tell if I've succeeded. I'm too close to it. I have to rely on the individuals who are willing to invest in the buckles to give me the validation that I've hit the mark. I'm gratified that so many have expressed their confidence in me by buying my work."
Are you an artist or a designer?
"I've made things since I was a child. My uncle was a coppersmith. My older brother taught industrial arts. We had a darkroom in the basement. There were lots of tools and materials around the house. It made the creative process seem very natural. I really am fortunate to be able to do what I do. I don't feel comfortable referring to myself as an artist, I'm a craftsman. I'm not just designing something and then sending it off to have it made by someone else. I design and make the actual item. I have total control and responsibility of the creative process from beginning to end. I make things that are beautiful. How lucky is that? It gives me a feeling of being one with the world. I feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do."