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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Friday Favorites: Flamingos, witches, and greasy little burgers

I am busy most of this weekend but tonight is all about Hocus Pocus 2. How can it be 29 years since the original was released? I’m serious, 1993 is like yesterday in my mind and it’s been almost three decades!

Tragedy has a way of shining a light on our most humane tendencies. This story about flamingos sheltering Hurricane Ian in a bathroom at Zoo Miami proves it.

There is no way I’d spend time making apple cider donuts, but I could get behind baking this Apple Cider Donut Cake for my next potluck. Which is next Friday BTW.

Out of Ink podcast has been making me laugh on my commute to and from work all week. Molly Lemon and Bea Baranowska are talented artists and so funny. Further proof that no one does self-deprecating humor like the British. The thing is, this is not scripted, they are just so self-conscious and funny.

If you’re a sucker for roadside attractions and vintage signage, The Retrologist Instagram is right up your alley.

I was catapulted back to the early nineties with this post about Little Tavern, a Maryland/Washington DC mainstay. There was a Little Tavern on Wisconsin Avenue next door to the restaurant where I used to sling pasta, pizza, and pizazz in Georgetown. The tell-tale sign of a massive hangover was walking through the front doors in the morning with a greasy bag of those mini burgers and a giant Coca-Cola.

Weather’s Beautiful, Wish You Were Here!

I have a small but growing collection of vintage souvenir postcard folders. Some have never been used, but I actually prefer the ones that have been addressed and stamped. It’s somehow sweeter to know they were sent to a loved one.

At first it was the kitschy Americana that originally drew me to them. But it’s the overly saturated coloring that makes each of these feel special, like tiny paintings.

Warning: Print Geek Alert

Color photography was not as advanced as printing techniques for the first half of the twentieth century. Black and white photographs required coloring in the printing process. New colorants, more like dyes than inks, were being experimented with in the late 1920’s. Their watery quality meant they absorbed into the paper too quickly and were slow to dry… making images blurry,

Printer Curt Teich & Co in Chicago, discovered that embossing the paper with a linen texture before printing created more surface area, and new heat set inks meant faster drying times. This meant that the dyes were set on the linen surface quickly before they had a chance to absorb into the paper. This is what gives these such vibrant colors.

Teich developed a technique called Art-Colortone. This a five-color printing process on a linen-finish stock from a black and white photo. In addition to printing with the usual CYMK colors, a lighter cyan was sometimes used to give the images extra punch. Just look at those skies!

The photograph-based cards also employed handwork by artists who brought them into production. Perhaps it’s this touch of the human hand that makes them feel like tiny paintings to me.