Every gift tells a story, at outer East Portland’s Trillium Artisans

If you haven’t visited this unique gift store – in which all items are handcrafted by local artists – discover, here, five reasons why you might want to add them to your shopping route this holiday season …

Christine Claringbold, executive director of Trillium Artisans, shows off one of her one-of-a-kind bowls – made from recycled vinyl phonograph records – that she sells at her web site. CLICK HERE to visit her online store, Eye Pop Art.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s always a pleasure to revisit Trillium Artisans – a unique gift store in the Lents Neighborhood.

“We have really cool stuff here,” Trillium’s executive director, Christine Claringbold, told us. “Every item has an interesting story behind it. Nothing is mass-produced; all items contain at least 50% recycled material.”

Artists learn business skills, not crafts
Trillium is a nonprofit organization that supports local craftspeople, Claringbold said. “We support low-income artisans by helping them build small businesses of their own.”

In addition to offering a storefront, she said the organization also provides classes and seminars at the building. But instead of teaching arts-and-crafts, the visiting instructors show members how to start, build, and operate businesses. “Accountants, lawyers and Internet experts help us learn how to increase our incomes, and not make costly business mistakes,” Claringbold added.

East Portland artists Lee Meredith, Amanda Siska, Kori Giudici and Megan Klepp show their hand-made gift items they offer for sale at Trillium Artisans and online at their web sites. Learn about them below …

Unique art by unique artisans
When we visited the storefront a few days ago, we met four of the 40+ artisans associated with Trillium, including:

  • Lee Meredith – Also known as “Leethal” (her company’s name), said she’s a knit designer obsessed with yarn, thrift store scrounging, and color. She unravels tossed sweaters, uses custom, natural dyes on the reclaimed yarn, and puts together kits with knitting patterns. CLICK HERE to visit her online store.
  • Amanda Siska – She calls here company Bread and Badger. Siska engraves glass with a dental drill, and says it’s her way of bringing fun, iconic imagery into everyone’s home. CLICK HERE to visit her online store.
  • Kori Giudici – The story is that she started Flipside after a she received many compliments and inquiries about a hat she made as a birthday gift. Check them out; CLICK HERE to visit her online store.
  • Megan Klepp – This artisan said her company, Ta-Dah, creates art from scrap, recycled, and found objects – especially those made of glass. In the photo above, she holds a marble-encrusted bowling ball. CLICK HERE to visit her online store.

You’ll see why many folks plan a trip to Trillium Artisans on SE Foster Road, just west of SE 92nd Avenue, to find that “something special” for folks on their gift list.

All kinds of art
“When you visit our store, you’ll see jewelry made from vinyl records, purses made from old neckties, magnets made from bottle caps, and scarves made from old sweaters,” Claringbold beamed.

One thing is for sure – we observed, from looking around the store, that the gift you purchased here will always be unique and original.

Trillium Artisans is located at 9119 SE Foster Road – this is on the north side, just west of SE 92nd Avenue. For more information, go to their web site by CLICKING HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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