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Meet The Local Artist: Risa Regory of Amaree & Reese

 

In 2009, Risa Regory’s co-worker came to work one day wearing a pair of earrings she had made herself. Inspired, Risa went straight to the bead store and gathered the supplies to try her hand at making jewelry. For the first time she realized, “I can do this myself!” Risa says. That first pair of earrings turned into Amaree & Reese, a full line of jewelry made in Portland Oregon. Amaree & Reese combines brass, sterling, and semi-precious gemstones with hand stamped, crafted, and cut shapes. Risa works to find that fragile balance between organic, swooping lines and heavier geometric shapes. We’d say she’s hitting the mark.


 

Earrings from the “Essential Collection” by Amaree & Reese. Brass, Sterling and Turquoise.


In the beginning, Risa just made jewelry for herself. Not long after she started wearing her pieces to work, she began getting her first orders from admiring co-workers. Once she realized there was an audience for her work, she slowly began producing more and more. She experimented with new designs, metals, shapes, stones and techniques, figuring out what worked, what didn’t, what people liked, and what she liked designing. Risa learned as she went, and her mistakes and successes were a part of the process; Amaree & Reese has developed from them.

Amaree & Reese has grown quickly in the last few years, and Risa is now busier than she can keep up with. For Risa, success isn’t the “big stuff.” Her goal is to stay local, grow her business and make a little bit more than what she needs to survive. “It’s not about money,” she says, “It’s about replacing my day job with a little bit extra.” It’s about doing what she loves and making a living doing it. Ultimately, Risa’s dream is to have a studio that doubles as a storefront, a few employees to help her keep up with orders, and maybe a little help from her granddaughter, Amaree, for whom the line is named.

The namesakes for Amaree (Left) and Reese (Right) at a craft show.


Risa has been part of the Portland community for a long time. She was born and raised in North Portland, and she has witnessed up-close the changes that have taken place over the years. Risa watched as the boarded up shops along NE Killingsworth turned into small boutiques who now carry her work, including Shipwreck and Green Haus.

Risa now lives with her husband in St. Johns. She makes her jewelry in a studio above her house while listening to 70’s classics (think The Police, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Franks) and her husband’s foot steps thumping up the stairs to her studio (to chat) and back down (when she kicks him out so she can get back to work.)

What does she think of the changes to the neighborhood? She’s excited about them. Her work is now featured in 10 of those little boutiques that have popped up around Portland, and her goal is to make it into 100 stores in the next year or two.


Necklaces by Amaree & Reese. Stamped and Hammered Brass, Turquoise.


Besides a natural knack for design and the tenacity it takes to take a leap and start your own business, Amaree & Reese benefits from Risa’s ability to collaborate with other artists. As we talked, it became clear that Risa has learned from, taught, and collaborated with many other Portland makers. Some of her favorite local designers (and the pieces you’ll find her wearing when she isn’t wearing her own designs) are A Tea Leaf, Bohemian Salt, LaCreate Designs, and Luna Sol.

If you ever have the chance to meet Risa in person, I encourage you to stop and say hello. Her enthusiasm is contagious. I would also recommend following her on Instagram to see what she is working on, upcoming craft shows, and pictures of her two, adorable granddaughters. She’s also working on a website and an etsy shop, so stay tuned for more ways to buy her pieces online. Currently, you can find her jewelry locally at, Button Consignment, Tender Loving Empire, Shipwreck, Green Haus, and My Girlfriend’s Closet, among several others.


Earrings from the “Eclectic Soul Collection” by Amaree & Reese. Brass, Oxidized Brass, Turquoise and Sterling.


Thank You!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

First of all, we want to send out a big THANK YOU for being such a loyal, supportive and generous community. We really couldn’t have survived 2016 without you.

Secondly, in the midst of the tumult of wrapping up the holidays, the endless snow days, and all the big changes that are in store, it seems necessary to slow down for a moment and take stock. In the spirit of creating a better future, we’d like to focus on the parts of 2016 that give us hope.

852

The number of locally made pieces of jewelry we sold in 2016. That’s 852 times you helped support artists and craftspeople living, working and dreaming in Portland.

22,016

The number of items that we sold last year. That’s 22,016 things recycled, 22,016 times we reduced our footprint, 22,016 times you shopped locally and supported our community.

900

The number of dollars we gave back to our community last year. With your help on Black Friday, we gave $750 (100% of our profits for the day) to the local charity Adelante Mujeres. Adelante Mujeres is a wonderful, Forest Grove-based charity that supports low-income Latina women and their families. On top of that, we also donated $150 to local schools throughout the year.

2,017

The number of uncertainties we have about the future. Just kidding. But really, if you’re wondering what’s in store, we can promise more jokes, silly Boomerangs (those videos we post on Instagram) and new outfits. More roller skates, looks of the day and homemade ‘Nasty Woman’ tee-shirts. And to start the new year on a positive note, we will be commemorating Inauguration Day with another Give Back Sale. On January 21, we’ll be donating 100% of our profits to a local charity. We’ll be in touch with all the details.

Thank you so much for supporting us through this year. Here’s to 2017 and all it has to offer!

XOXO
-Button

 

 

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