Molly Alexander: The Five Question Interview

Molly Alexander and her partner Gary Luedecke opened the doors at The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods Store in late 2012 and it quickly became a gathering place for Elginites and visitors alike. After such a wonderful response from the community they opened G&M Drygoods just down Main Street. Both shops are mainstays in our community and Elgin’s Main Street. Molly lives in downtowm Elgin with her two cats Moby and Jacques.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I moved from Dallas, TX to Elgin in June, 1990 to become Elgin’s Main Street Manager.  I fell in love with the community immediately and am proud to call it my home.

2.  What compelled you to create a business in Elgin?

Everyone in town wanted a healthy, vibrant downtown full or retail shops and restaurants.  In 2012 Gary and I had what we thought was a great retail business idea and we believed change needed to start with us so we decided to open The Owl.

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

  • Being outdoors brings me great joy and is part of my mental and physical well-being.  I have learned how to paddle board and adore being on the water! We also bought 10 acres of land near Elgin and I love, love, love walking among the pine and oak trees, listening and watching the birds, coyotes and other wildlife.
  • It’s time to finish our home projects so we can enjoy some downtime. Gary and I have spent the past 8 years building The Owl and G&M DRGYOODS. In our free time we have worked renovating our home in Galveston. It is time to finish our Galveston house so we can enjoy visiting the island and all it has to offer!
  • I miss my closest friends!  With covid-19 I miss hanging with my closest friends, getting hugs and catching up in person.

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

I just finished Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, a great book about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. I am currently watching Man in the High Castle on Prime and I am listening to some of my favorite records – Dina Washington, Cat Stevens and Miles Davis.  When it comes to making – Gary and I are building a downstairs apartment in our Galveston home, building an outdoor shower at our new property and I am working to finish remodeling my building in Elgin.

5. Cake or Pie?

I have celiac disease so either if it is gluten-free!  Give me a great flourless chocolate cake, or a tart lemon or cherry pie! 

The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods + G&M Dry Goods
@elginowlstore
@gmdrygoods


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Margie Crisp: The Five Question Interview

Margie Crisp is an artist and writer. Her love of birds, rivers, and conservation our evident in her work which includes painting, printmaking and books about Texas Rivers.

She earned a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband, artist William B. Montgomery, live in Elgin.

Cardinal with Turquoise Watercolor

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

Bill and I moved to Elgin in 1992. We were in Austin living and working in a duplex and we both needed more studio space.  We naturally gravitated towards Bastrop County since I had family out here (my sister Frances Sharp has Youngs’ Prairie Dairy, a Grade A raw goat milk dairy) and Bill is from east Texas and I’m from Louisiana. We were driving back from Arizona and made a list of everything we wanted: 15+ acres, big trees, ponds, barn, bathtub big enough for two, house that didn’t need remodeling, screen porch, and a big black dog. We were driving near my sister’s house a couple weeks later and saw a for sale sign. I called and the realtor read off a list that included nearly everything on our list. The first time we visited the house, a big black dog came running up to greet us—T-dog belonged to the tenants and ended up staying with us when we bought the house. So we got everything we’d dreamed of (except a screen porch).

Punk Kingfisher (Belted) Mixed media on panel

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

Mental health. Really, if I don’t create—whether it is painting, drawing, cooking, or writing—I get a little wacko and depressed. It keeps me sane. It isn’t always easy, I believe that creativity comes from a place of honesty and self-awareness. If I’m working on something that brings up grief or a sense of loss, I have to balance it with work that brings joy and hope. 

Indigo Bunting and Beauty Berry Egg Tempera with 24k gold leaf on panel

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

Three things? Okay, I’ve learned that most of us have more in common than we realize and if we can reach those common issues, the rest can fall away.
The second thing I’ve learned is that farmers and ranchers hold the future of conservation. The lands and ecosystems we need to conserve to save migratory birds, pollinators, and other creatures is privately owned. If we don’t find a way to collaborate and find common ground, we will all lose out. And if this pandemic has taught me one thing, it is that my friends are the most important thing in the world. Even more so than chocolate.

Oh, and John James Audubon loved to eat birds (every kind of bird from sparrows to whooping cranes), bragged about shooting birds, and was, in addition to being a fantastic artist and naturalist, kind of a jerk.

Edge of the World Hand colored linocut

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

I’m reading a series by a Texas author Miles Arceneaux who is actually three guys writing together. The mysteries all take place on the Texas coast and are entirely enjoyable escapism. For serious stuff I spend my days reading reports, studies, and historical information about migratory birds for a book I’m working on. While I’m writing I listen to a lot of Baroque chamber music. When I’m making art, my go-to is modern bluegrass and folk music.

Aransas I & II Hand colored Linocut

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake or pie? Do I have to choose? Can I have a little slice of both?  Please?

Margiecrisp.com


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