If you've been paying attention to the local design scene of late, you couldn't have missed the inimitable creations of George Medeiros and Scott Durfee of Spathose. Their line of accessories made from the outer casings of the palm flower, aka the spathe, has shown up everywhere from the runways of Dunedin Fine Art Center's Wearable Art to the pages of Creative Loafing, where columnist Leslie Joy Ickowitz featured their one-of-a-kind variations on the power tie in our RNC issue. (She also selected their ties for a Best of the Bay award.)
Their personal style is just as compelling as their artwork. A shared background in theater and interior design informs their flair for the dramatic, whether it's the way they present their products or the way they pose for a photo. The two New Englanders met when Scott helped push George's car out of the snow when we was stuck on the side of a Rhode Island highway. Twenty-three years later, they've learned how to weather all kinds of storms and tap into each other's strengths. It's like "when a tornado meets a volcano," says Scott. "We vent a lot."
In business dealings, Scott's the enforcer. George is the diplomat.
"He has a great business sense," says George of his partner. "I don't think I could do a checkbook. I do well in writing."
"I'm a good problem-solver," says Scott.
"He drives home the points," adds George.
They started Spathose only three years ago. "We fell in love with spathe," says Scott, whose father was a carpenter. They began making planters out of the fibrous material — "the celery of wood," George calls it — and hung them from a live oak in their front yard in St. Pete's Old Southeast neighborhood. The strikingly shaped objects attracted attention, and they moved from making garden ornaments to wearable art — "the best bang for the buck," says Scott.
Best known to date for their beautiful yet sturdy purses, the pair will debut an expanded collection called Architexture — ties, jewelry, armbands and other adornments — during the Fashion Week Tampa Bay runway show Sept. 21 at the Ritz Ybor.
Does all this 24-7 togetherness in work and in life ever get a bit much?
"We're still here," says George. "We have all of our fingers and toes."