Eric Watson ♦ Watson’s Hat Shop
Cave Creek, AZ | Website
Like most teenagers at the time, Eric Watson, went to see the latest Indiana Jones movie. Was it the action and adventure that inspired him? Well, maybe, but the one thing that sparked his creative imagination was a hat—specifically, the fedora worn by the main character, Indiana Jones. Soon young Eric was on a quest of his own: to learn the fine art of hat making and restoration.
Later after college, Eric learned from master hat makers from across the country, and today at his shop, he creates high-quality, functional works of art in hats that are designed to last a lifetime. These hats are made on pieces of equipment that are more than a century old. His impressive line of cowboy hats—from everyday work hats to rodeo and historic reenactment hats—pays tribute to the spirit of the Old West. In fact, Watson’s is the official hat maker for the Arizona Quarter Horse Association.
GET TO KNOW ERIC
What drew you to your chosen craft?
As a child, I loved Indiana Jones. Being unable to afford a quality hat I found old vintage ones at antique shops that were in a bit of despair and along the way found hat making blocks at the same antique shop that I bough those old vintage hats. Later, down the road after college the economy went into a recession and it was then my passion for hat making was rekindled.
What do you enjoy most about your craft?
I love creating a piece of functional art with old world tools and equipment that someone will enjoy and use for many years to come. I love watching the customers’ faces light up when they receive their custom hat from Watson’s.
Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?
When someone makes something with their hands and uses high-quality material there is no mistake for flaws. There is a sense of pride when things are made by hand. The attention to detail in our hats is unmistakable when using your hands.
In what ways are handmade goods better than those that are mass-produced?
When something is handmade, you can tell from paying close attention to detail. You can see the artisan has crafted that item and placed his or her own signature detail on the item.
What does the future hold for your type of work?
We have all types of clients. If one thing is true; you can not be everything to everybody.
We make hats for all sorts of ranchers, cowboys, and ladies, to the gentlemen that wear the fedora or bowler.
At Watson’s we have been blessed to have made thousands of hats for our customers over the past five years of the business being started. We have clients all over the world and famous clients as well. There will always be a need for a hat; especially a cowboy! It’s part of whom they are culturally, and their attire.
For other styles of hats such as dress hats. These hats are making a strong comeback especially in the Hollywood sector. Just take a look at the 2016 US Olympians this year. It’s part of their culture and attire.
Cowboy Hats, Pianos, Tin Coffee Pots
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