Violin makers have long had maker's marks integrated into their labels, the two most famous being Antonio Stradivari's initials flanking a cross and Giuseppe Guarneri's "IHS" initials which earned him the moniker "del Gesu."
Many labels incorporate a symbol of the area the maker comes from. Most makers before the mid-twentieth century lived in the same place their entire lives. Today, we can expect to live in many places over our lifetimes. I now live in Birmingham, but I was raised on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, a barrier island forming the north mouth of Charleston Harbor on the east coast of the US. Birmingham bears little relation to who I am, so my label is designed to reflect my origins.
My maker's mark is a palmetto tree flanked by my initials. The palmetto tree is native to Sullivan's Island and is attributed as instrumental to Colonel Moultrie's defense of Sullivan's Island against an attempt by British warships to enter Charleston Harbor and lay siege to Charleston in June, 1776. During the artillery duel, cannonballs fired at the fort from the British ships simply sank into the soft, tough palmetto wood. The fleet was repulsed and the British did not return to capture Charleston until 1780, using a land-based siege.
I am a violin maker based in Birmingham, AL. Prior to my career in violin-making, I practiced architecture for 15 years. I continue to study violin-making and repair at the University of New Hampshire's Violin Craftsmanship Institute with world renowned violin maker and restorer,Horst Kloss. I also draw on my education and experience as an architect and over 30 years as a violinist. I have a B.Arch from the University of Tennessee and an MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick.