Tell us about your business.Mystic Knotwork has been making traditional knotwork since 1957 Matt's grandfather Alton Beaudoin, while a bosun's mate in the merchant marines, started it all. Staying at the Seaman's Church Institute while stateside, retired sailors from the 1800's instilled a desire for perfection in young Alton. That same commitment was passed on in his family. Matt was raised with that commitment. Matt and Jill of Mystic Knotwork continue to respect their heritage and environment by only buying American grown cotton. They are careful to ensure the materials they use match their demand for quality. At the Newport Boat Show, Matt was even asked to recycle rope to make personal momentos for a sailor. Until he met Jill, knots were made in any color as long as it was white. She was the inspiration to add color. It was a couple in Stonington that taught Matt to take the knots from the docks and use them to decorate homes and events. Connection to the sea can be seen in their work
What makes your business stand out?There is a depth of understanding of the nautical and maritime trades here in Mystic and Stonington that is hard to duplicate. Combine that with a family tradition of seamanship that carries back nearly 100 years, nothing is done halfway. If Matt and Jill don't feel the task can be done in a ship shape manner, they'd rather walk away than misrepresent their heritage. Because of their commitment to the nautical marlinespike arts, they take every opportunity to teach what they do. Matt says that his passion is not letting this craft pass into obscurity and takes pride in its recent resurgence. This dedication and passion is felt the first time you talk to them about the sea, sailing, or especially knot work.
What's the best business advice you've received?Always follow through on your promises. Better to under-commit and over deliver than to over commit and fail to deliver. Don't skimp on materials or workmanship just to chase a sale. Make sure you love what you do, and that passion can be seen in everything you make.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.