What can’t Haley Ann Robinson do? Our collective answer after our studio visit to her Northeast Portland bungalow was that there is nothing she can’t do! She is a talented graphic designer that also makes awesome art objects. We watched Haley begin one of her Geos in her woodshop/garage, she starts with a block of wood and organically sands downs angles until she is satisfied. Using bright color blocking techniques and geometric line details, Robinson adds the final touch that makes each object even more unique. Her Geobils are amazing as well constructed from geometric ceramic shapes that are hung on a driftwood base, a great addition to any wall. Her ceramics are also fantastic and we adore her stacking mugs, square handled mugs and pots - all one of a kind and handmade by Robinson. As our visit was wrapping up Haley serenaded us on the banjo, a new hobby the busy renaissance woman has taken on. We left the visit feeling refreshed, motivated, and full from the cheese plate she had set out. Enjoy the photos of our visit with Haley Ann Robinson and the inspiring interview below!
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
I've had a back and forth relationship with Portland for about 6 years now. Somehow I keep ending up here! I remember visiting for the first time and being blow away by how much greenery surrounds Portland. The seasons, the parks, the overflow of nature. Not to mention some of the nicest people around. There's a lot to say about this little big city.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
I'm loving the small business boom. Buying local is important and I try to support as much and as often as I can.
3. How did your brand start?
Ever since I can remember I've been creative in one way or another, but things didn't really start taking shape until after college. I would have various art shows and sell paintings and little sculptures I'd made in small galleries and cafes. The idea of creating a whole body of work fascinated me, and I loved curating my own work around a particular concept.
Totokaelo was the first well-established shop that reached out to work with me. I was ecstatic. That's when my concept of the Wood Geo was born. I had to borrow power tools from a neighbor. I remember clamping down a hand-held belt sander to a work table to shape raw pieces of wood. It was super dangerous and a pretty shady operation now that I look back on it, but it's amazing what you'll do to bring a concept to life with what little materials you have. I'm happy to say my process has come a helluva long way.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
I think balancing out my full-time day job with my full-time after work passion. Sometimes it's really difficult to come home form working all day and build up enough creative juice to keep it flowing. Lucky for me I work in an industry that allows me to be creative, but I look forward to being able to fulfill my own creative direction full time.
5. What or who inspires your design?
My boyfriend is a huge inspiration. He's so dang talented. We kind of thrive off each other's talent and it's good to be around somebody that has the same passion to be better. Life's too short to be mediocre and he gets that.
Color is a huge part of my work. I'm crazy about Frank Stella and his use of color and shapes. Bridget Riley for her insane use of geometry and optical illusions.
6. What are your favorite things about Portland?
Having picnics in the park, hikes in the forests, summertime, renting cabins, waterfalls, and of course the food!
7. What is your favorite part of your studio?
I love listening to records while I work. I have a lot of old country albums that I get lost in.
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
My paint palette. When I'm busy painting and working on multiple projects at the same time, my paint palette turns in to this acid-colored rainbow of amazingness. I use a lot of neons so it's fun to see the process of mixing colors and
9. Tell us two truths and a lie!
I'm deathly allergic to bees.
I've never been ice skating.
I despise bean and cheese burritos.
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
My main man TCB.
Fondo the cat.