Sonia Browder: The Five Question Interview

Sonia Browder is a photographer, designer, and owner of Lordnidesign. She is a busy portrait photographer and loves taking photos of Elgin.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

Paul and I were living in south Austin when we started looking for a home in the country. We wanted land big enough to settle a couple of families—ours and my sister and hers. We found enough acres to raise our kids in the country just outside of Elgin. Soon after, my parents and brother with his family moved out here, too. It’s our retreat!

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I’ve always enjoyed making and creating. I’m sure I picked up this idea that I could from my mom and her ability to make and create. When I was growing up, we didn’t have much money for extras but we still never did without. If we saw something we liked to wear, my mom would sew it, crochet it or knit it —for us AND for our dolls! It’s always been good therapy for me to create something—it’s a good feeling to make a family portrait, a plate of enchiladas, a hand-lettered sign for a friend, or a T-shirt for a much loved small town festival! It’s art to share!

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

1. Gardening: Water regularly.

2. Jesus went INTO the fire with  Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego (Daniel 6.) We need to invite Him into our tough situations. It’s better to go through life with Him than without Him.

3. Spanish was my first language, but when I don’t use it, I lose it! Im glad for the many opportunities I’ve had in recent years to speak more Spanish. The practice has helped me. I am able to translate and communicate in Spanish more and

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

Making:  I just finished working on the Western Days 2020 Commemorative T-shirt. The printed shirt just delivered. I am also working on a couple of logos; one for Evergreen Farms and another for Nanny Goat Salsa and have an engagement photo session planned for the weekend.

Reading/Listening to: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Watching: Just started watching Outlander—I’ve got a very long way to go!

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie —coconut cream, cherry, pecan & millionaire pies for starters!

Instagram @lordnidesign
Facebook @lordnidesign
Website enyecreative.com

Susan Hanft: The Five Question Interview

The artist in her Bastrop studio

Susan Hanft is creator/owner of Gone To Pot. She studied both ceramic sculpture and printmaking and uses drawings, pattern and typography in her pieces, giving them a distinct graphic quality. In addition to her ceramics, she also shares her enthusiasm for sewing and stitching on her Instagram feed.

She lives in Bastrop with her dog Pearl.

1. Why did you move to the Bastrop area? 

After a bad breakup, I decided to leave Houston, where I’d been living for the previous 30 years. I’d loved being in the crowded, vibrant city during that time, but was ready to experience a slower, calmer lifestyle in the country.

I chose Bastrop, in particular, because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my aging mother. My father and sister were already residing in the county, too.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I don’t know, but think most people have the creative urge. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in some artistic endeavor. Since childhood, I’ve drawn and sculpted. As a kid, I also studied violin (my playing was awful) and taught myself guitar (equally bad), but dance was my primary interest. When chronic injuries ended that career, visual arts became more of an outlet. I’ve always enjoyed writing, too. 

Spending time in the studio now helps me quiet my mind during the ongoing pandemic.

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

I’ve learned how to colorize black and white photos and gained a few rudimentary computer animation skills. 

The big lesson has been patience. A while back, I adopted a little feral dog. Pearl was terrified of everything human, so fearful she tried to jump through a closed glass-paned window the day I brought her home. 

It’s been impossible to hurry Pearl’s trust in humanity. (It was nearly a year before she wagged her tail at me.) She’s taught me to better accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.

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

Making stoneware teapots while listening to the Global Psychedelia channel on Mixcloud

Pearl

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie, fruit or pecan, but vegan, please. 

Etsy Shop
Instagram

Emily Koller: The Five Question Interview

Emily Koller is the creator and owner of Paintbrush Print Company. She designs and creates modern hand printed souvenirs with just the right amount of class & kitsch. 

She grew up in a small town in Wyoming that saw its fair share of Summer tourists on their way to Yellowstone. Her obsession with retro roadside art started by collecting vintage travel things.

She taught herself how to screen print after she discovered her first Harwood Steiger fabric in a vintage store in in Tucson, Arizona.

1. Tell me about your recent move from Elgin to Amarillo? 

We were happy in Elgin! But, it felt like the right move for a lot of reasons.  Much of it was about a professional opportunity; however, I was also really excited about living in a city with Route 66 history and getting a little closer to family.  I love roadside architecture, collect vintage travel things, and make modern souvenirs, of course. Being here gets me a little closer to the places out West that inspire me the most, but I can also proudly say I’m still in Texas.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

This is actually something I have learned about myself through the transition this past year. If I am not making things or letting my mind get lost creatively, I start to feel trapped. The creative process has a calming effect for me – I just feel happiest when I am making things or solving design problems.

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

Thing 1: Can I count what I said in #2? 🙂 It is an important realization because I have not identified as a “creative” in the past, but it now means that I have to both allow myself that expression, while also protecting myself from burnout. I have a “normal” kind of demanding career, but also want to do all sorts of creative things on the side. In the next five years, I will figure out a better way to balance it all.

Thing 2: Screen printing – I first learned how to do it exactly five years ago.

Thing 3: That we’re all too hard on ourselves.

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

These are the kind of questions where you want to sound really interesting and intellectual. I’m sure my parents will be disappointed. I have two stacks of books that I pick up occasionally and read very slowly. One stack is about yoga and wellness and the other is a stack of Route 66 and roadside architecture books. I read Texas Monthly pretty religiously and I like to follow travel writers. My mind requires total immersion in TV shows so we just finished Jack Ryan and The Stranger.

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake 100%. I would even go without dessert if my only choice was pie.

PPC Etsy Shop

PPC Instagram

Erin Flores: The Five Question Interview

Erin Flores and her husband Tiger own Earthen Metals, a family run Blacksmith shop in downtown Elgin. They specialize in unique hand forged metal work in steel, bronze, copper, aluminum and stainless steel to make home decor items, outdoor cooking tools, jewelry and more.

They live in Elgin with their children and pets and are both very active members of the community. Their shop is one of my favorite spots in Elgin, and they offer Blacksmithing classes.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

We moved here because of affordable shop space.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I like making stuff.

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

  1. Learning how to take care of my Mom who is suffering from Alzheimer.   
  2. Instagram.     
  3. Making bread.

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

Currently making Bronze necklaces     
Reading:  Rick Riordan     
Watching:  ‘Grimm” on Amazon.     
Listening to:  Ska

5. Cake or Pie?

 Pie

Instagram @earthenmetals

Katy Gassaway: The Five Question Interview

Katy Gassaway opened the doors at Body + Shine Wellness in October 2017. In under three short years, she has cultivated a thriving community of yoga enthusiasts and friends. She has also inspired a handful of students to become yoga teachers and has nurtured local woman-owned business along the way.

When Covid-19 forced us all to shelter in place, Katy quickly pivoted to online classes, but I have no doubt everyone is longing to practice in the lovely space at 28N Main again.

She lives in Elgin with her Shar Pei, Nama, and enjoys traveling to warm places.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I moved to Elgin sort of because I didn’t know where else to move! I was living in Hawaii at the time, and had been there for about 7 years, and I knew I needed a change. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I knew I wanted to be closer to my parents, who were living here in Elgin. They were watching the house I live in now being built and kept telling me how cute it was, and maybe I should just live there for a year until I figure out what’s next. And it’s the house I’m still in now! I loved the community, the small town feel, while still having the convenience of a big city nearby. Cow patty bingo was a big selling point, too.  

2. What compels you to spend time practicing and teaching?

 It’s easy for me to spend time teaching really, because it is so rewarding to watch people grow. Not only in the physical practice or their strength or flexibility, but watching them connect more to themselves, become more confident, more empowered. It’s really the most rewarding thing I think I’m capable of doing. If I had enough energy to teach more, I would! Making time to practice is a different story. It’s really hard for me to want to commit time to myself, but I have to remind myself I’m worthy of that same opportunity to grow, too, and I need to take it. The quarantine has actually enabled me to get back to my personal practice a lot more through virtual classes, because I have a hard time being at the studio separating work from my time on my mat. It feels good to get back at it!

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

The past five years have been a crazy ride for me, it’s hard to pick just three! But here we go.

(1) The universe has a plan. Before I started teaching at 28 N. Main, I was ready to quit teaching entirely. I was working all the time for other studios, making almost no money, driving to Austin constantly. Then Melissa Ladd found me on Facebook and asked me if I wanted to see her space and the rest is history.

(2) Leap and the net will appear. This is something one of my favorite college professors would say, and it’s served me well with Body + Shine. Every big step I’ve taken, whether it’s buying furniture, investing in software, hiring teachers, has been scary–but I think once you make that investment in yourself, your business, whatever it might be, it will come back to you accordingly.

(3) If you want things to change, you have to change. I’ve learned it’s super easy for me (and others may relate) to sit back and gripe about the things we don’t like or aren’t happy with. But that’s not going to change them. If you want something to be different, you need to be willing to do something constructive. Whether it’s taking care of yourself, being more involved in your community, engaging with customers differently–you can’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results. 

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

Making: what feels like never ending online content 😉
Reading: articles for business owners on how to cope with COVID related issues
Watching: American Gods and Naruto | Listening to: my yoga playlists 😉

5. Cake or Pie?

This is so hard! Pecan Pie tips the scale to pie though