Shawn and I are artists first, and we met over a dozen years ago through our art.
I preferred natural elements and organic forms, while Shawn was enamored of gears, machinery, function, and building. So it was ying meets yang at first sight, and we were seamless collaborators, creating mountains of art in our early days.
And we weren’t quite starving artists either. We sold a lot of our work and saw much opportunity on the horizon.
But that opportunity involved moving far from home to the Big Art Metropoli of San Francisco or New York City. And that wasn’t something we were prepared to do. We are not anti-worldliness, but we balance our ambitions ruthlessly with our values. And one of the values we protect most strongly is home, hearth, family, and community. And San Diego is where we have the strongest ties.
So in 2013, we needed to strike a new balance between our values and our careers. We needed to find a way to nurture our artistic ambitions with the constrained financial opportunities of “small town” San Diego.
Around this time, we were introduced to the maturing wave of cocktail culture. We were basically just wine people then, until a friend introduced us to the Old Fashioned. We started sitting at cocktail bars, interacting with bartenders, and feeling our way ever more deeply into the ritual and culture of this craft.
We were drawn in to the refinement, the art, the commitment of the bartenders, and we gradually realized that we were witnessing the birth of the first generations of bartenders who treated bartending as a serious career, not just something to pay the bills through college.
And as we sat, night after night, omakase style, interacting with our favorite bartenders, we realized that these forward thinking pioneers were using tools that hadn’t been improved since the “dark ages” of 1970s Lemon Drop Martini “culture.”
So we listened, we watched, and we plotted a new direction for our art.
As artists, we had experience with fabricators and industrial manufacturing. And even as children, we were using tools. Old tools that our grandparents had used.
And that spoke to us. Durability. Quality, Community. Ritual. Culture. Isn’t that what art is all about?
Even “found object” art, a particular favorite of mine - transforming base objects into fine art - informed our path, since cocktail ritual turned the “base art” of getting drunk with the boys into a refined, sometime sublime experience.
And because of our perfectly complementary blend of talents, Shawn and I saw a way for us to bring our artistry and craftsmanship to bear on a burgeoning industry in a way that satisfied our artistic requirements as well as our deeply held uncompromisable values.
And out of that perfect fusion, Standard Spoon was born. Our first mission was to replace the garbage, ever-breaking “spoons” that bartenders were using to stir 100 drinks a night, often coming home with bloody fingers from the cheaply fabricated, twisty junk steel they were using for their craft.
Next we would move on to elegant, classic, ageless jiggers.
And when we designed our Ebony Muddler, we collaborated not just with Taylor Guitars, but with one of the greatest tool smiths in the world. The handle design was modeled on the classic ergonomic utility of classic shop tools, which we were the first to transfer to the art of craft cocktails.
And our Hammered Mixing Glass reflects - and reflects and reflects - all of our values superbly.
We love beauty, sublime beauty, and transformative but intimate experience. We celebrate ritual, friends, place, slowness, and attention to what is important and lasting. We sought to create the finest, most beautiful barware in the world, and if some of our customers can be trusted, we succeeded.
But we are not snobs. Our feet are planted firmly on the ground, but our imaginations swirl with possibilities as our hands perform the necessary tasks to bring those dreams to life.
Art & Function are what brought me and Shawn together as collaborators over a decade ago. And they are what inform every aspect of Standard Spoon to this day.