Robin Tasco, a master electrician and ardent craftsman for over 30 years, was driving along Germantown Avenue when she noticed the many vacant storefronts the pandemic left in its wake. That was all she needed to set the wheels in motion.
Robin Tasco, a master electrician and ardent craftsman for over 30 years, was driving along Germantown Avenue when she noticed the many vacant storefronts the pandemic left in its wake. That was all she needed to set the wheels in motion. “I went home and told my husband I want to open a shop in Chestnut Hill,” said Tasco, who grew up in Germantown and attended Germantown High School.
On May 29, Tasco Art Salon opened at 8113 Germantown Ave., next to Carman's Shoe Repair. Her motto, “Inspiration is found where beauty dwells,” echoes the shop’s eclectic mix of reimagined vintage furniture, handmade vision boards, over-sized wooden letters and a dazzling array of African art. The overall effect is hypnotic, from the large carved African giraffe that greets patrons at the front door to the grinning masks hanging from the rafters. Everywhere you look, there is something intriguing, almost magical.
“The African masks are from the Igbo tribe in West Africa,” said Tasco, who declined to mention her age. “They are celebration masks worn by young men and women when they come of age. My biggest challenge is whether I want to keep it for myself, but my husband urges me to sell them.” Rather than being scary, these masks display ecstatic smiles and radiate joy. Who couldn’t use some of that?
Meanwhile, everything else is the shop is handmade by Tasco. “My father was a carpenter, and he introduced me to the building trade when I was 20,” she said. “Following an apprenticeship, I became a master electrician. I was also influenced by my mother, who was very crafty. I’m using my hands all the time, painting furniture and doing crafts.”
Tasco’s creativity is evident in the array of painted vintage furniture displayed in her shop. “These pieces are all different and treasured by collectors,” said Tasco, who has an eye for the nostalgia of telephone chairs and notions boxes. Her over-sized, brightly painted wooden letters, each measuring about two feet high, are decorated with assorted themes and even electric lights, which make them a whimsical nightlight for a child’s room or an eye-catching, personalized décor item for a home or dorm room.
As the seventh of eight children, Tasco learned fast how to save and also re-purpose almost anything. “Having such a large family, we were always doing something crafty together, from painting our letter initials to gluing paper on a wooden piece of board. I also enjoy taking an old piece of tattered furniture and giving it a new look.”
This isn’t Tasco’s first retail experience. Previously, she operated a shop by the same name in Germantown. Being in the trades is a family affair. Tasco’s husband is also an electrician, and one of her five children was just accepted in an electrician apprentice program.
Tasco offers MIY (Make It Yourself) workshops to share all of her many talents. “I facilitate small groups of four-to-eight participants for special events, including bridal showers and birthday parties,” she said. Participants may choose from re-purposing vintage furniture, crafting vision boards or wooden letters. She also offers a workshop in basic electric repairs.
“I believe in the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like. As a certified master electrician, I understand the theory of electromagnetism. The same theory is true when we visualize our dreams and goals,” said Tasco. “I have been using my Vision Board Workshops since 2012 to teach my students the essential techniques to build confidence and improve quality of life. I firmly believe that anyone can harness the creative power of a clear and personal vision to manifest whatever one wants to, whether it be a short-term goal or a long-term life change.
“Reminiscing back from my younger years is what inspired me to create my workshops. I feel so wonderful sitting around a group of people sharing ideas and creating something amazing,” said Tasco.
Chestnut Hill welcomes Tasco Art Salon to its many charming shops and invites readers to stop by, chat with Robin Tasco and explore her collection of inventive crafts and imports.
For more information: tascoartsalon.com or 267-596-7020. Mt. Airy resident Stacia Friedman is an author and freelance contributor to websites and local publications.