I first thought of Tirra Lyra many years ago when thinking of possible names I might like. The call “tirra lyra” is supposedly the sound a throstle-bird makes while sitting in a linden tree, according to Baldwin. It is also what Sir Lancelot sang by the river, according to Tennyson. It is now the name of my venture.

Tirra Lyra begins with watercolour palettes, is getting into book page holders, and will hopefully eventually get to the violin mutes, animal scarves, and postcard displays that I have been planning. We shall see just where things go!

Paint Palettes

One day, as I was trying to figure out a palette for my own watercolour travels, I measured lots of random containers around the house— Altoid tins, Lancome eyeshadow palettes, business card holders— and some of the tin make-up pans seemed just right to fit into the latter two. I went online to look for what might fit inside and happened to find a pan measuring 13 mm on one side. Well, the business card holder had measured 91 mm, and everyone knows that 91 is a multiple of 13! That seemed perfect! I had to make a few tweaks to the basic designs and get the outers custom-made so that I can assemble everything as I think ought to be. Now, here they are for all of you, too!

When designing the exterior, I considered several metals. Silver-toned stainless steel? Lightweight aluminum? In the end, I chose brass for the exterior. Brass was a common choice for making watercolour boxes in the past and is still used today for a delightfully vintage look. With that decided, and after manufacturing the exterior, I began selling the Tirra Lyra palette in 2016.

The pans in 2016 were tin-plated steel. In 2017, I started offering enameled pans, which has the benefit of a white surface for checking paint colour (particularly useful for mixing pans) and which tolerates a little more moisture.

Because tin-plated steel exposes us to the risk of rust if the tin is scratched, I have been looking into tin-only pans or plastic pans to my specifications for the palettes. I hope to move forward with the tin-only or plastic options by mid-2018.


The customized and actually artistic metal bookmarks are designed and will be made when I find my way to a workshop and learn how to do laser-cutting! If you have experienced the problem of holding open a book that wants to close as you play the piano, another solution for your problem is in the works!

In the meantime, I am doing loop braiding and attaching them to other page holders if you are in dire need.

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