ART COLLECTIVE: Jarred Trantham - Leatherworker
- By Eric Moore
- Published on March 28, 2012
|STS9's David Murphy and Jarred Trantham with his new leather bass strap|
Name: Jarred Trantham
Highlights: Created instrument straps for Phil Lesh, David Murphy, Zach Deputy and Keller Williams.
There’s nothing better than being able to buy art that is not only beautiful but practical in your everyday life. Jarred Trantham has seamlessly blended these characteristics in his artistic endeavors as a leatherworker, creating useful works of art for the likes of Phil Lesh, David Murphy and Zach Deputy.
A fourth-generation leatherworker, Trantham carries on the family legacy, utilizing the skills passed down from great-grandfather to grandfather to his mom. At age eight, Trantham and his mother began with just $800.00 and a box of wallets and purses.
Now, 23 years later, they run two family-owned leather stores in Jacksonville, Florida. Their stores sell all the typical leather goods you might expect – gun holsters, knife sheathes, motorcycle attachments, book and bible covers, leatherwear and more.
Trantham is also a music and festival junky, selling his utilitarian art in lots and at festivals across the country under the name Lost Sailor Designs.
“’Lost Sailor’ is one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs,” Trantham said. “I had a really inspiring moment at a Dark Star [Orchestra] show. As soon as I put the three initials together, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to keep this name forever.’”
The LSD name is definitely an improvement from Trantham’s original label as the “Vegan Nightmare.”
“I’ve had a lot of intense conversations with [vegans] . . . and my answer is, ‘Look, I know where you’re coming from, but if I didn’t do this on this leather it would all get thrown away,” he said. “When I make key chains, I go and pick up big boxes of industrial scraps and cut them into little pieces and give them away for free. I try to be as wasteless as possible.”
Trantham’s leatherwork has caught the eye of some of the biggest musicians in the community. He’s made instrument straps for Keller Williams and Perpetual Groove’s Brock Butler, too.
“Zach Deputy wears his religiously," Trantham said. “Me and my apprentice, Katie Sandeen, actually had the opportunity to take my leather tools and go sit in the middle of the crowd and tool out the rest of his guitar strap while he played live, which was really just a treat to be able to do that.”
Trantham has recently started producing utility belts that put stash pockets for all your goods at an arm’s reach away. He doesn’t just customize the hand carving on his belts – he also customizes the way you use it.
Engrained in the jam band community, he has also been the art director at festivals like Bear Creek, Big and Hearty, Blackwater, and Purple Hatter’s Ball, facilitating a symbiotic relationship between artists and a charitable organization sponsored by the festival. This allows for the charities to get artwork and the artists to vend and get booth space free of charge.
“As vendors go, setting up at a music festival is very expensive,” Trantham said. “So, when a festival gives us the space and we can display our art, it’s like a dream come true.”
Trantham and Lost Sailor Designs will be at a number of festivals this summer, including Wanee and Impulse Festivals, as well as the String Cheese Incident’s summer tour.
For more information about Jarred and Lost Sailor Designs, visit the Lost Sailor Designs website.