Alyse Mervosh: The Five Question Interview

Alyse Mervosh owns Curio Mrvosa Books and Vintage in Taylor alongside her husband, Alex Cuervo. They opened the shop in summer 2021, after Alyse was struck with the idea during the pandemic. A lifelong thrifter and avid reader, originally from the D.C. area, Alyse moved to Austin to play drums and was a member of several garage punk bands, after earning her degree in journalism at Wisconsin. She moved to Taylor in 2016 with her husband and their two cats.

While this may qualify this as a Six Question Interview, I had to ask…

Bean & Noodle: “Can you somehow spell out how to pronounce your store name? I see by your last name that it might be a play on that?

Alyse: “Mrvosa” (pronounced mer-vo-sa) is indeed a play on my last name. Two letters were added to my family’s name when they arrived in the U.S. from Serbia over a hundred years ago. It was originally spelled Mrvos (now Mervosh). I always wanted to use that original name somehow, and when Alex suggested adding the a, that was it! To me it has a nice, somewhat mysterious, ring to it.

1. Why did you move to Taylor? 

After living in Austin and playing in punk bands for 15 years, my husband and I were looking for a change of pace. Taylor’s architecture first caught our eye, and the welcoming, creative nature of the folks here made us feel at home right away.

2. What compelled you to start a business in Taylor? 

I’ve worked at a variety of small businesses over the years and wanted to contribute to our town’s eclectic vibe. My aim is to curate an inspiring space that encourages creativity and curiosity.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

1. I’ve learned the importance of slowing down, though I’m still working on putting this into everyday practice. I keep a postcard (pictured above) by the artist Hiller Goodspeed nearby as a reminder, it reads:

you can’t waste time 
it’s impossible
you’re doing what you’re doing
and that’s just what’s happening baby

2. Coming from the city and being more of an introverted person, I learned to embrace small-town life. I’m so grateful for our tight-knit community. It inspires and encourages me. Through good times and bad, we’re really here for one another.

3. Both with music and the bookstore, I’ve learned to do what feels right for me, to trust my gut. Whatever comes, I’m more content, and I’ve found my people along the way.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Making music with Eerie Family, we’re a gloom-pop duo, just my husband and me. Recently finished reading White Horse by Erika T. Wurth, The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki, and Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng. Watching Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Listening to El Michels Affair, Charlie Magira, and Courtney Barnett.

5. Cake or Pie?

Tough question. I choose pie for breakfast and cake for dessert!

Links

Read more books and support this small independent book store online and in person.

Instagram @curiomrvosa
Shop online at curiomrvosa.com

And of course, visit them in person at:

302 N Main Street
Taylor, Texas 76574
(512) 595-2366


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Taylor Christian: The Five Question Interview

Taylor Christian is owner and creator at Log Ceramics in Elgin, Texas. She fires her funky + functional ceramics with 100% renewable energy.

She started doing ceramics during the pandemic and have a full workshop in my garage here in Elgin. Her work includes a mix of wheel thrown and slip cast goods using vintage molds, with the occasional extra weird item. Lots of planters and fun plant accessories too.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I had a few friends who moved out to Elgin and I fell in love with the small town vibe when I would come to visit. I grew up in a similar small town about 20 minutes from Dallas, and after 15 years living in Austin, Elgin felt nostalgic in the best way. Since moving I feel so lucky to have found a great group of friends and creative community. I really love it here.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I have always had a creative side since I was a kid always making things. I started college as a photography major but changed to geography and geology and really fell in love with physical science. I work as a water data scientist in my day job, which can be fast paced and highly analytical. So at the end of the day to only focus on what I am doing in that moment is meditative. I took a ceramics class at Austin Community College and just fell in love and kind of abandoned all my other crafts from that point on. I love how I am able to use my knowledge of minerals and geology to help inform the clay bodies I use. How utterly messy ceramics is. How there is always more to learn.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

Wow in the last 5 years I have learned so much—but I want to specifically focus on what ceramics has taught me:

1. Let it go. This applies to ceramics and life. There are a million missteps you can make and ruin what you have been working on, and a million missteps you can make in life. Let it go, learn from it and move on. 

2. Be patient. let the kiln cool, the best things come to those who are patient. I am mostly reminding myself this one, I have never once waiting for a kiln to fully cool.

3. Put yourself out there! Starting to do markets and show people my work was scary, but I have grown so much, found so much support, made so many friends and only been inspired more. Only good things come from trying new things.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I just finished reading tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed- I laughed and cried at almost every story. Cant recommend it more. The songs of thsummer for me right now are Byoncé you can’t break my soul…..trying to be patient waiting for the new album. 

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake, unless its chocolate then I want both. 

Links:

Instagram @log.ceramics
Etsy Log Ceramics


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Tessa McDonald: The Five Question Interview

Tessa McDonald hails from the great state of Alaska. After serving in the U.S. Army she relocated to Texas. She owns and lives on Green Woman Farm amid an edible forest she is cultivating with her husband. With the aid of their sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, guineas, and turkeys they are regenerating the land without pesticides. Tessa’s interest in studying best practices in harvesting and preserving herbs led her to create hand rolled Incense, blended herbal teas, herbal extracts, and dried herbs grown on the farm. 

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I found my love for gardening quickly outgrew my backyard and wanted to start a farm with an lots of animals and an edible forest. I fell in love with Elgin’s downtown and how close knit everyone was like back home. After we settled, we quickly noticed we made the right choice with our community and don’t plan on ever leaving.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

The need to discover is what got me on my journey of gardening, herbal remedies, & tea brewing. Many people don’t know how much one herb can help with so many problems, so I started to explore this and the many methods of preservation. I wanted to be able to take a small seed, and make that plant into natural cleaning supplies, dried herbs, soaps, extracts, anything my imagination could make. I take time to study, fertilize, and grow my plants. I put them to good use, and surprise myself a lot with the things I make and what can survive here.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I think my biggest lesson is learning when to stop. Farming is a nonstop job, but the need to slow down and rest is also just as important.

My second thing would be stuff doesn’t happen on my time. Mother nature will send us winter storms, spring hail, and sometimes drought and we have to move with it, not against it.

My third would be to let go, sometimes a plant or project cant be saved and you just need to yeet it & start from scratch and that’s just the circle of life.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

So my current thing to do is binge watch tv at night while I roll incense. I just watched Ink Master and I’ve moved on to watching Greys Anatomy. I’m harvesting my collection of culinary and medicinal herbs to dry out and putting them to use in incense, oils, vinegars, teas, & extracts. As for music, I constantly have some blasting on the farm while I work, so mostly Electronic Dance music so my goats get a mini rave. My current favorite songs are My Best Life by KSHMR and Legacy by the Sidh. As for what I’m nose deep in reading, I got this new book the Lost Book of Herbal Remedies that’s inspiring me to expand the herb garden once again.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie… and I know this won’t win me southern points but I love pumpkin.

Learn more about Tessa and Green Woman Farm…

Instagram @greenwomanfarm20

Website greenwomanfarm


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