Joanne Rigutto was born in Portland, Oregon in the early 60s. Born and raised in Portland, she attended public school where she studied foreign languages, biology, and art in addition to the required classes. Joanne qualified for the Vollum Program, started by Tektronix founder Howard Vollum, and studied the Russian language at Reed College as a senior in highschool. Her time at Reed, while enjoyable, convinced her that college wasn’t the path to take upon graduation from highschool. Instead, she and her mother went into business together and Joanne spent the next 5 years traveling around Oregon and Washington state working as a professional horse show photographer, animal portrait artist and wildlife artist.
In 1984 Joanne went to work with her father learning the tile and stone trades, a family tradition that has spanned at least 3 contiguous generations and lasted over 100 years. Learning to repair and refinish stone, Joanne put her artistic skills to work with mortar and mastic, and was highly sought after as a stone repair expert and field fabricator on large commercial building construction.
In 1999, after completing her apprenticeships in tile installation and marble masonry (specializing in repair and field fabrication), Joanne obtained registration with the Construction Contractors Board and went into business as an independant contractor, and has worked both as an independant and as an employee in the tile and stone trades since then. She still holds a CCB registration and provides temporary assistance to other tile and stone contractors in the Portland Metro area, as well as doing stand alone jobs for home owners and other clients in the area. In 2008, Joanne worked on the restroom remodel at the Portland International Airport, doing tile repair and installing, along with a crew, the tile in two complete room remodels.
In 2009 she decided to farm commercially for the first time, having gardened and worked with livestock and a wide variety of other animals over her life. Farming for profit is quite a bit different from gardening and homesteading, but Joanne would say that she’s used to vertical learning curves.