Tivi jewelry: Industrial turned elegant
With a slogan like Hot like your mom, tough like your dad, its not surprising that the jewelry and accessories line designed by Paul Lewin and Ryan Wither is sophisticated and elegant, but distinctly industrial, too. The handbags, bracelets, belt buckles and pendants are primarily made from stainless steel, aluminum, wood and resin. The company, which started in 2004, spawned from Withers graduate school thesis project at Savannah College of Art and Design, where he earned his masters degree in furniture and industrial design. Withers thesis focused on organization within everyday objects. Whenever his girlfriends cell phone would ring inside her purse, she could never find it before it stopped ringing he said, he said. The problem got Wither thinking.I kept saying youve got to get it together, theres just too much crap in there, he said. So Wither created a U-shaped wooden clutch purse.It had all these specific holders for everything,” he said. “I made it so they could only bring out a phone, an ID and some makeup. She had to prioritize. While studying in Georgia, Wither, now 30, met his future business partner, Lewin, 26. After grad school, the two both ended up in San Diego and became roommates. The designers started sketching ideas for Tivi, which stands for this is very important We were making fun of the scene we wanted to be in so we took a literal approach, Lewin said about the name. Soon after the sketching began, Withers thesis project became the signature piece for the company. The sleek purse, made from bent wood veneers (either ebony or zebrawood), stainless steel and leather, is quite popular and one of Withers favorite pieces, he said. The first version had a detail on the side where you can slip a phone through two rubber flaps its pretty cool, but we got too many comments on it resembling something else, Wither said. Lewin agreed, saying that when it comes to Tivi he most often hears either You do know your purse looks like a vagina, right? or Youre both straight? Seriously?
Sloan Munter has been representing the Tivi line locally, working on getting the jewelry into mountain stores Asian Village Antiques and P.E. 101, both in Edwards, carry some of the Tivi bracelets. The response to the jewelry has been quite positive, she said.I think people are drawn to them because theyre really unique and pretty organic in their style. The pieces are really simple, but have a funky twist to them.Because Ryan and Paul are engineers by trade, they really have an interesting eye when designing, Munter said. I usually work with women designers and to have the opportunity to work with these guys has been really refreshing. It opened my eyes to a different style, a unique twist. Im really in awe of how they make their pieces. Everything is so fluid its very classic, but modern. Theyre not pieces that are trendy by any means.Both Wither and Lewin cite industrial inspirations. A random walk through a lighting store or a metal-stamping factory is more likely to spark an idea than cruising through a row of boutique stores, Lewin said. The heart of how everything is made and witnessing the process generates so much curiosity, he said. Likewise, Wither, a Steamboat Springs native who now works for a contractor in Boulder, cited construction and appropriated materials like resins, stainless steel all thread, and natural repeat patterns, as inspiration for his creations.
Though Tivi started with all womens accessories, Wither and Lewin have been focusing on a mens line, including cuff links (made out of wood from old Jack Daniels whiskey barrels) and money clips. Were also prototyping a bunch of housewares things thats what we know more about. We wanted to pitch some designs to Crate and Barrel and Room and Board, Wither said.One of the prototypes is old school high ball glasses made from stainless steel with recipes and ingredients etched into the side, Wither said. Though both partners are excited about the new opportunities before Tivi, Withers also a little hesitant. Its a whole other line. Right now its just a matter of can we take this on? he said.Either way, what Wither considers the best part of the job creative freedom wont change.Ive worked for engineers, architects, other designers and your designs always get compromised for some reason or another. With Tivi, we can write a ridiculous Onion ad one day, turn around the next day and weld up a new belt buckle. Since we dont have a trend forecasting or marketing department, they cant tell us were idiots and that it will never sell, or people wont get the advertisement. You know what I mean?Arts & Entertainment Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.