Say hello to the creators
Nathan & Ali
1888 design is a duo of nomadic artists that share a loving partnership in both life and business. They travel North America together in their renovated 1988 Chevy campervan and have a secondary studio space tucked away in the green mountains of Vermont. As they wander the world in search of treasures to utilize in their art, they also collect a great amount of inspiration and new perspectives that are reflected in their creative endeavors.
Nathan primarily grew up in central Vermont, with the rest of New England serving as his home throughout different points of his formative years. Spending most of his childhood exploring and creating with the natural beauty of the woods, Nathan has always been enthralled by the magic materials of the earth- stone, bone, fossils, wood... This can be seen clearly throughout his artwork and the types of environments he's drawn towards while searching for his next bit of treasure. Being the truly multi-faceted man that he is, Nathan has pursued the arts of stone sculpture, singing and songwriting, creating menus for cafes, storytelling- always leading a highly expressive and creative life. Jewelry design followed him shortly after putting music down in a professional sense, which allowed him to take his passions for historical items as well as fossil/mineral hunting and turn them into a viable art business, which he would later call 1888 Design.
Out in the suburbs of Chicago, everyone in Ali's life had been calling her "the artist" since she was old enough to hold a paint brush. Throughout her life she has challenged herself to take on new artistic mediums including collaging, painting, drawing, ceramics, stained glass, etc. After deciding to leave school, Ali ditched the idea of finding a traditional career to instead embark on a journey of finding herself. She wound up in Los Angeles CA where she prioritized travel and the further development of her art. Interestingly, Ali found jewelry making when the importance of taking care of our planet became overwhelmingly prevalent to her. Ali started upcycling found objects into jewelry as a means of carrying sustainability into her creative world.
Upon meeting one another in southern California, it was no surprise that Ali and Nathan would have an immediate artistic connection through their shared medium. This very soon (like over the course of 6 weeks soon) blossomed into a passionate romance and a fully immersed partnership. They moved in together into a tiny 100 sqft apartment in Manhattan Beach and started mapping out travel plans, quitting their jobs, and joining forces on a well-intentioned jewelry business together.
The two artists are now tearing down conventional business methodologies and paving a new path for creative entrepreneurs by weaving travel and locational freedom into the fabric of their business. Through their fully functional off-grid vehicle, Ali and Nathan have created the ability to hunt down their materials, set up a mobile metal smithing studio and pop up shop, and send out online orders from all corners of the country while enjoying life on the road in the moments spent in between. They strive to not only inspire others through the beauty and uniqueness in their craft, but also to inspire others to follow their wildest dreams and innovate new ways to live life on their own terms.
The name, explained
The name 1888 Design originates from the first necklace that was made that inspired the creation of the company. During Nathan's time as a professional musician, he wanted to wear jewelry pieces that emanated that special, unique flare he carried with him on stage, yet struggled to find pieces that really spoke to him. Upon visiting his favorite flea market in Nashville, which had always been a personal hobby of his, he found an 1888 dated penny and decided to take matters into his own hands by creating his first necklace with it. After countless amounts of "where did you get that?", he started creating similar one of a kind pieces for fellow musicians and decided to give a name to the operation- 1888 Design.