Our Story

Photo of Andy Chase playing banjoOriginally conceived by Andy Chase as a source for unique hand-made Masonic gifts, Grip and Word took an unexpected left turn into the more general realm of bow ties and other old-fashioned accessories. The name itself is a nod to one of the key tenets of Freemasonry: the timeless power of a handshake (grip) and promise (word.)  That concept also seemed a fitting way to capture the kind of relationship an artisan hopes to have with their customers.

Photo of a Necchi BU Mira sewing machineThe transformation started innocently enough. Frustrated by the scarcity and expense of bow ties in brick and mortar retail shops, Andy decided to have a go at making some of his own to complement his own old-fashioned aesthetic.  People began to ask where he’d gotten them, and things progressed from there.  At the same time, he was exploring historical 19th century banjo music and thanks to the crossover with U.S. Civil War reenacting, became intrigued with historical civilian clothing styles. It’s all come together here.

Photo of Splendid Toad Art FarmThe early 21st century has seen a welcome resurgence of interest in classic styles, and we are at the overlap between vintage style, living history and steampunk.  It’s been a fun journey, and we can’t wait for the next unexpected turn.

Grip and Word is one of the working studios at Splendid Toad Art Farm.