The oldest piece of steel is approximately 4000 years old and there have been found treasures from Sparta, China, East Africa and more. What most see as a cold heavy ore, Jon and Mary, the husband and wife creative team behind WATTO have turned into an art. This talented duo has a studio in Tucson, Arizona and they kindly took time to answer some questions for me to share with you.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
“Jon WATTO Watson & Mary Spencer- We are a husband and wife team and have several things going on. We started with “The Metal Gardener.” www.themetalgadener.com which is functional and custom metal sculptures. We then began WATTO Distinctive Metal Wear with metal accessories www.wattoonline.etsy.com. Outlaw Kritters www.outlawkritters.com developed due to the success of our animal icons. Mary also has an assembled jewelry line called WATTO’s Wife.”
2. How has your Art changed over time?
“The Metal Gardener began in 2007 with metal sculptures based on nature and organic shapes. In 2009 we started WATTO Distinctive Metal Wear with belt buckles based on the tattoo and music culture. We were doing a lot of art shows then and to make our items more accessible price wise we added key chains and money clips. We thought we were designing for guys, but woman liked the rugged look too and soon Mary was adding bling and making jewelry for WATTO as well. WATTO’s Wife developed as an outlet for Mary to have a little creativity on her own.”
3. What inspires you?
“Nature, motorcycles (Jon), animals (our two dogs Nipper and Tucker), raw materials like metal and wood, tattoo imagery and fashion.”
4. What’s your strongest memory of childhood?
“Jon- Playing hide-and-seek in the cornfield.”
“Mary- spending hours reading, painting or drawing and making things. I enjoyed spent a lot of time alone.”
Wattos Wife Jewelry
5.What was the first thing you ever made?
“Jon- Made his bicycle into a chopper by extending the forks and added a big sissy bar and whip flag. Even then he loved motorcycles.”
“Mary- Can’t remember that far back as I was making things and drawing like most children from the time I was a toddler. I took private drawing and painting classes in high school and I made miniatures such as mini framed paintings and baked goods with tiny little grocery sacks which I sold at a local miniature store.”
6. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
“Jon worked on helicopter weapon systems in the army for 4 years then worked as a Graphic designer for many years. Finally he apprenticed at a metal shop while working as an exhibit tech at the Children’s Museum before creating our own company.”
“Mary worked as a product planner for several social expression, puzzle and craft companies as well as a prop artist and floral designer.
7. What is your dream project?
“Jon-Working on custom Japanese sport bikes.”
“Mary-Not really any one project, but I would love to have indefinite time and funds to work more on developing my painting skills and other creations.”
8. What is the one thing in your studio you could not live without?
“Jon- Angle grinder I use it for cutting grinding and sanding.”
“Mary- My computer as it has all of my files for the business.”
9. Do you collect anything?
“Mary- Mexican pottery- I love the decorative paint and the handmade nature.”
10. What is your favorite word and why?
“Jon- ‘Yes.’ Love it when people say yes to me.”
“Mary- chocolate! – Need I explain?!”
11. What is your favorite recipe?
“Jon-Pancakes we eat Pamela gluten-free with agave syrup.”
“Mary- chocolate chip cookies made with Garbanzo beans, nut butter, honey and “Enjoy” brand chocolate chips. I am gluten free so these are my indulgence.”
Craving 4 More Chickpea Cookies
12. Do you “Give Back” to any organizations?
“We have several organizations that we give to annually including Seeing Eye Dogs and The Elephant Sanctuary. We have also donated many of our items to charity events over the years. We are particularly interested in animal welfare causes. Through our new website Outlawkritters.com we will be donating to a different animal welfare organization every quarter.”
Tucker, Nipper, Mary and Jon
Jon and Mary have so much going on and I think it is all terrific! Please check out the links below to see more of their work!
Facebook WATTO: https://www.facebook.com/wattoonline
Facebook Outlaw Krtitters: https://www.facebook.com/OutlawKritters
Pinterest WATTO: http://www.pinterest.com/wattoonline/
Pinterest Outlaw Kritters: http://www.pinterest.com/outlawkritters/