Thomas Dugan Wilson began his career after graduating from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in painting and sculpture. He returned to Louisville, Kentucky to accept a teaching position in metalwork and jewelry at the Louisville School of Art in Anchorage, Kentucky. During his six year teaching experience, Tom remained a full-time working artist, selling his jewelry and sculptural pieces to the willing buyer.
The first Wilson Cup was designed for a friend to be given at a 1978 Steeplechase event; the cup itself hammered into shape, and the Hardscuffle logo hand carved in wax and made permanent in a mold.
The success of this product necessitated the self-design and building of forming machines so the hand crafted production of the Wilson Cups and Jigger continued. Over the years, many castings, both for jewelry and the Cups, have been preserved in molds.
Wilson Art Works’ many corporate customers have included QVC Television sales, Makers Mark Distillery, Ford Motor Company, Southern Living, Kentucky Fried Chicken (service awards), The Louisville Zoo, Marshall Fields, Ky. Arts and Crafts Association, Maersk Trucking Line, The American Saddlebred Association, Churchill Downs at the Kentucky Derby Museum, Keeneland Gift Shop, Commonwealth of Kentucky and many more.
Customers also come from high schools, colleges, brides, and sports associations. Repeat customers are testimony of the enduring demand for Wilson products.