In 1986 I started Tin Woodsman Pewter in a small studio down the street from our house in Eugene, Oregon. Jim was a woodworker making adjustable wooden lamps. I was helping to assemble and pack them. Two of our children were in school. The third was just a babe in arms.
Our closest friends decided to shut down their pewter studio to pursue other interests. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. It looked like just the thing for me.
I had been a new college graduate at the University of Oregon when I met Jim in the Graduate Department of Romance Languages (or Romantic Languages, as I prefer to say). He invited me to accompany him to a crafts fair, where he was selling his lamps. I was immediately attracted to his entrepreneur lifestyle.
I had a lot of experience working with fabric, some background in ceramics, some knowledge of woodworking – but no history of working in metal. I had to hit the ground running! Before long, I was too busy to go it alone. Jim closed the wood shop and dove in with me.
Most pewtersmiths come from a background in jewelry making. But neither Jim nor I had taken this path. We now know that this is what sets our products apart. Our products are rarely confused with any other.
In 2011, I decided that it was time to give our little company a face-lift and I also wanted to pay respect to my roots. I had had a very close relationship with both my grandmother and my great-grandmother, who lived in Boston. They loved world travel and their homes were filled with treasures that our ancestors, Cape Cod ship captains, had brought back from the Far East. So I decided to rename our company “Crosby & Taylor” – in honor of Captains Crosby and Captain Taylor who had sailed out of Chatham back in the 1800’s. I still love beautiful home goods but now I like to think that I am creating them here in Oregon – rather than sailing half way around the world to bring them home!
Now, 37 years later and with 5 grandchildren, we are still as passionate about pewter and keeping the artisan craft movement alive. We are proud that our products are still made in the United States.