An Interview with Rina Tairo
Rina speaks to Bij Fior about her iconic woven gold pieces; how her jewellery came to be, her inspirations and unique craftsmanship.
Rina says; weaving gold is a ‘labour of love’, the Finnish names of her pieces are ‘close to [her] heart’ and that for her ‘jewellery keeps memories close and alive’.
How did Rina Tairo Jewellery begin?
After finishing art studies in Helsinki and Europe I spent some time travelling through Asia before settling in Melbourne Australia, where I began creating sculptures and installations. Whilst looking for materials for my work in a metal yard I spotted a large bundle of fine golden wire that sparked my curiosity to start experimenting with my designs on a smaller scale, very soon I began to realise the potential of jewellery design and how jewellery as an art form would allow me to communicate my ideas commercially to a wider audience. Jewellery allowed me to combine my sculpture and fashion background with an inquisitive approach. A short time after this I launched my first commercial jewellery collection to great acclaim with the local fashion stores and press, and so my unconventional journey into jewellery design began.
Which one piece from the Rina Tairo collection on Bij Fior would you wear and why?
From the Bij Fior collection I often wear the Memory Knot Necklace. I particularly like the versatility of the pieces I choose to wear. This piece is strong enough to wear as a singular statement with a tailored jacket for example, or I can layer it with other pieces for a more casual look. I also often wear it wrapped around my wrist as a bracelet. I find it an elegant option for any occasion.
What inspires your designs and how would you describe your design process?
I greatly trust my intuition to work for me when designing. I let myself have some solitude, meditation and time to play with materials to start with. And then, as a designer my mind is never still as anything around me, shapes, feelings, colours and sounds, all penetrate and are registered in and put into the melting pot. From there the intuition draws visions for multitude of new ideas, often appearing in dreams or in times of relaxation. This constant stream of designs is to be sieved through in my mind to focus on the ideas best serving at the particular moment.
I often name my pieces with a fair bit of poetic license. Finnish language is of course close to my heart and I am often inclined to use it to explain my inspiration. Sometimes I try to combine the meaning of the word in Finnish with the feeling and also consider how it might sound to someone who doesn't understand the language. Kaisla is quite straightforward as it means reed and the piece has a reed like shape but Virva is a bit more esoteric as it means 'will o’ the wisp', perhaps you can see a glint of light on the pieces. In Sointu, chord in English, you might imagine a sound emanating as the pendant swings.
Could you describe the process of your signature woven gold craftsmanship? How are your pieces created in this unique way?
From the very first collection I have included some textile methods in my work. That was very natural to me as I have since early childhood been a crafter and a bit of a seamstress, knitting and sewing clothes to myself and others, even contemplating a career in fashion. So, hours and hours of exploration has gone into developing the methods we use the fine gold wires in, in combination to more solid parts of the jewellery. The actual weaving is a very meditative process to keep a consistent tension on the work and does not allow any mistakes as the fine filaments cannot be undone without creating kinks and breakage. It is a real labour of love.
And lastly, what does jewellery mean to you?
For me jewellery is about a very personal expression and also a sentimental one. Jewellery keeps memories close and alive.
My wedding ring has been through several generations in my husband's family, though very simple, it has a great significance of continuation and love and wearing it I also honour the past generations.
Apart from jewellery that I never take off, I have in rotation several pieces worn to express my mood. I design for a woman like me, to help her express her range of moods and artistic nature.