Last month I began the process of packing up my life, packing up my business, and I moved here, to sunny Tucson, Arizona! Leaving Portland was bittersweet for my family and I, but we took time to spend our last weeks giving a grand farewell to the Pacific Northwest, which we had grown to love so much over the years.
I began building Deoria Made three and a half years ago, inspired by many things Portland: The maker movement, which inspired my inner creative to be entrepreneurial and start a business that was in line with the values of this time and culture; The breathtaking Pacific Northwest landscape, and the bountiful varieties of local wood it provides; And Portland’s vibe, which demands you do what you want, how you want, for whatever reason (Portland’s famous Darth-Vader riding a unicycle playing the bagpipes guy, for example).
Upon reflection, I don’t think Deoria Made could have started anywhere else; from the launching pad of the ADX maker space where Deoria Made was founded, to building lifetime friendships with other makers and businesses such as my good friends over at Portland Razor Co., to all the local support and patronage my business received from countless locals, and those I collaborated with.
And since Deoria Made has such roots in Portland, and was founded upon so much inspiration from the PNW specifically, I won’t be “copy and pasting” Deoria Made PDX into Deoria Made TUS. I won’t, for example, be working with my beloved Oregon Claro walnut, because the business was founded upon working with local materials, inspired by local culture and landscape. And here, Tucson has its own equally beautiful and wild substitute for walnut: mesquite. Having grown up here, I know that Tucson has so much to offer that makes it a rich place for me creatively: The long cultural heritage and history; the strength of character that is the Sonoran Desert landscape and the plants and wildlife that reside in it; and don’t forget the monsoon season, the sunsets, and the rolling mountains that frame the Tucson valley… oh my, need I go on??
Now in Tucson, my first task is setting up shop. I’ll be spending the coming weeks moving into, and customizing a thousand square foot shop nestled into the desert landscape, just near Tucson’s Rillito River (which humorously runs dry probably 10 of 12 months of the year). I’ll be taking time to seek out and understand local materials, getting involved with the creative and artistic communities here, and knowing I’ll be inspired by all the newness, will be making plans to create new work for the latter half of 2017 and into 2018. Whatever comes of all this I’m excited to share it with you and bring you along for the journey as I explore the blank canvas I have afoot.
A collection of Deoria Made Portland-made goods are still available through the website, and my stockists will still have inventory too, but these will be the last pieces of their kind as I seek out inspiration for new designs and new directions forward.
A big thank you to everyone who has made these past few years in Portland such a success for Deoria Made and I, and please stay tuned for what’s next here in Tucson!
Kyle D’Auria | Founder, Deoria Made