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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Megan Stuart: The Five Question Interview

Megan Stuart is a mixed media artist and Twisted Garage Art Studio, owner. Megan is a long-time downtown Elgin resident and is an active member of the Elgin community. You will find her volunteering for many art-related events… don’t be surprised if she hits you up to volunteer.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

The housing market led me to Elgin in 1989. Humorously, at the time, I was appalled by the costs of a small bungalow in Travis Heights and Hyde Park in Austin. Now, they are sky high! But I do enjoy living in downtown Elgin and have made many great friends here! And I am thrilled so many artists are moving to this area!

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

It makes me happy. I feel a need to create. Some people make music, some write, some dance. I need to create something with my hands. I become completely absorbed. I enjoy the process of making changes and seeing where they take me. My initial idea may wharf into an entirely different idea by the time it is all over. Or several new ideas. And then, it keeps on going. It is very relaxing for me. I also spend a lot of time researching oddball things, so it becomes educational as well!

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

A lot has happened in the past five years. The pandemic definitely added challenges that we did not face before. Politics have everyone on the defense.

  1. We are all scared/uneasy about something. 
  2. It is so much easier if we help each other, so reach out to someone. Be that person. I knew this before, but it is so important now.
  3. It is okay to end that toxic relationship, even if it is family. Enough is enough.

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

I am currently working on my Life Trophy series (mixed media) and “pierced” hearts (paper clay). I just finished reading The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. I am also actively involved in The Elgin Arts Association, the Explore Elgin Arts and Culture event, and the Dia de Los Muertos festival.

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake, chocolate cake!

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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