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Meet Robin Griffin of The Funky Robin in Riverside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Griffin.

Robin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
One day in 2015, my husband, Bryan, was bored. He went outside to tinker around and welded up a little man made of nuts and bolts.

I joined him and found pieces for a nuts and bolts lady and he welded them for me, then he made a dog go with them.

It was fun, we decided to turn the little man into a business card holder, the lady into a pencil holder and the dog became a paperweight. We put the picture of our trio on Facebook and our friends loved them! We did some welded horseshoe art for a while, making Christmas trees and pumpkins and such and it was a lot of fun. Bryan taught me to weld ( who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?) and I can’t get enough of it.

Bryan is a heavy equipment mechanic and started bringing home the broken parts he would replace, broken gears, bolts, whatever. Some people would let him dig through their scrap bins and we started making more interesting pieces.

With our 3 kids grown and families of their own, recycling old worn out tools, greasy engine parts, and rusty metal gizmos became our passion.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Finding parts is always tough. And of course, cleaning them takes a lot of elbow grease. We don’t have a shop or anything, we are an outdoor operation, so weather, especially the wind, can be a challenge.

But, the biggest obstacle is lack of time. Bryan works 10-12 hours 6 days a week so he can only create on Sunday.
I can make smaller pieces during the week, and hopefully, pick some parts along the way, but the nitty-gritty gets handled on Sunday. Bryan is definitely the backbone of our business.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We make recycled art. Our pieces are all one of a kind, sculptures, clocks, lamps and what we have become known for, tables.

There is a tavern in Riverside called The Brickwood near the historic Mission Inn and they have 9 of our tables so far and we have a couple of more to make for them.

Fairs and festival don’t really work for us because we have so little time together, so we were very fortunate to have found MADE. It’s a wonderfully unique shop in Riverside selling all types of handmade pieces from local artists and we sell almost exclusively through them.

What were you like growing up?
Even as a kid, Bryan has always enjoyed taking things apart and seeing how they work. He is very mechanical and has a lot of good common sense on how to put things together and make them functional.

I grew up with a crafty mom, so it was in my blood. Making gifts and such from found items have always been my thing, a trash to treasures sorta gal.

Creating the kind of art that we do just seems natural.

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