Teresa Robinson had us over to her studio on a gray day in December to check out where the Tiro Tiro magic happens. Robinson and a contractor friend recently transformed her garage into her dream studio. And dreamy it is, complete with wood burning furnace, the perfect mix of vintage and new surfaces as well as tools, her dog Marcel curled up by the fire, Teresa has created an amazing work space. With over a decade of jewelry making under her belt or in most cases her adorable Beckel Canvas apron, she has found a unique voice in the jewelry community with her newest line Tiro Tiro. Tiro coming from the latin word for novice or beginner - nothing about the design and craftsmanship of Tiro Tiro says beginner to us, but it is a new beginning for Robinson, the line is less than a year old, her previous line was Stone & Honey. The line is predominantly made with cast brass and bronze accented with waxed linen. Robinson has some seriously beautiful cuffs and bracelets, we love them stacked - we love it all!!!
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
I moved to Portland straight out of college because I heard rent was cheap and I didn't know where else to go. My best friend and I piled all of our earthly possessions into my blue Volvo and took a fairly epic road trip out from Massachusetts. We had no friends here, no jobs, and no idea what we were going to do with ourselves. My grand plan was to just spend a couple of years here figuring out my career (At the tender age of 22! With nothing under my belt but an art degree!), save a bunch of money (Again, 22! Art degree! So funny!) and then move to Brooklyn. Cut to 14 years later, and I've got a business, a house, and a dog and I never did make it to Brooklyn. I just kind of fell in love with Portland and I'm really, really glad I stayed. Besides, I don't think the chickens would fair very well in Williamsburg.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
I really love how what started with the 'DIY'/crafty movement many, many years back has given way to a beautifully mature and accomplished group of designers and makers in this town. As someone who got her start here way back in the day, I've love watching the evolution from 'crafty' to crafted, if that makes sense. There are some really incredible makers in this town, and I'm so honored to count many of them as my friends. I love the feeling of community that comes from that, and I'm so happy to be a tiny little part of it.
3. How did your brand start?
Are you ready for a long answer to a short question? Tiro Tiro is actually the culmination of over 10 previous years of jewelry making, so while this particular brand itself is still really new, it comes at the end of a long line of previous work. I quit my job to start making jewelry full time in 2002, and named my first line smallthings. This was before etsy even existed, and it was a very sort of twee/put a bird on it style, but it was really successful at the time and took me pretty far. About 6 years ago I started Stone & Honey as a little side project that ended up growing into it's own brand, and so I just sort of transitioned into doing Stone & Honey full time and very quietly shut down smallthings. And again, Stone & Honey was a great line for the time that it was around, but I just felt like the style of my work changed so dramatically in the past couple of years, and I wanted a brand/name that reflected that growth, and would allow for further evolution down the line. So Tiro Tiro was born last fall! I'm pretty stoked on how it all feels so far, and excited to see where I'll be with it in another 5 years.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
I think my biggest obstacle is just figuring out how to get all this shit done on my own. I'm usually lucky enough to have a great studio assistant for production help, but being the designer/office manager/accountant/marketing person/inventory manager/and still carrying a lot of the production load can feel really, really overwhelming at times. Most days it's hard to know where to start, and I can sometimes feel pretty paralyzed by it.
5. Who is your style icon?
This last summer I was joking with one of my friends that my look for fall was going to be 'middle school art teacher', and I feel like that's pretty spot on most days! Um, gosh, I feel so bad at fashion all of the sudden! Final answer: Patti Smith.
6. What are your favorite things about Portland?
Mostly, I like that things just feel easy here. I like the very small town with a few city amenities thrown in. Current favorite reasons to live here: food! I love that there are so many truly incredible places to eat in this town. Though it's a little dangerous, it's way to easy to blow my entire budget on fantastic dinners. And then lately I'm really stoked on being so close to the Gorge, and nature spots everywhere. Just being able to buzz 30 minutes out of town and go for a hike in a magical wonderland of waterfalls is pretty amazing.
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
I really, really love my studio. I feel so lucky that I got to build out my dream space, and now I can't imagine working anywhere else. I love that it feels really light and airy but cozy at the same time. I still really love my wood stove. I will totally light a fire in that thing even if it's not that cold out, just because I like the way it looks.
9. Tell us two truths and a lie!
I was homeschooled for 2nd and 3rd grade, I love almost all foods, but hate raw oysters, my family lived in Barcelona for a year when I was 3.
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
Ok, I'm going purely material goods here, otherwise I'll get too sappy talking about my family/friends and feelings and stuff.
So! Good food, good coffee, a nice pair of socks, moisturizer (I swear by this stuff), my cute dog.