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

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

Miranda Guillory: The Five Question Interview

Miranda Guillory is the artist/owner of The Paper Quillory where she creates beautiful and playful works of art with strips of colorful paper and glue.

Miranda loves playing with paper and exploring its many possibilities. Quilling is the art of creating filagree from rolled bits of paper and has been around since the Renaissance, when nuns and monks would roll gold-gilded paper remnants trimmed during the bookmaking process. They would use them to decorate religious objects as an alternative to gold filigree. 

Miranda lives with her husband David near downtown Elgin.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

Our rent was going up and up in Austin so we started looking to put all that money towards something we could own.  We quickly learned that we wouldn’t be able to afford to buy in Austin.  We looked for months in just about every town on the outskirts of our emerald city, looking for something that we could feel really good about, our forever home.  We finally found it in Elgin.  My husband and I moved here almost 6 years ago and haven’t looked back.  

We love the small town atmosphere and the burgeoning creative scene.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

Oh, I just have to.  I get this anxious need to make something. Anything. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for quilling and I’ll just stare at all of my art supplies, maybe skim through some art books, until I find something manageable for the moment.  I’m not very good at sitting still and have to at least be moving my hands.  I find very few things more satisfying than creating something beautiful out of nothing.  

I also have a tendency to feel my emotions pretty intensely and I find paper quilling, specifically, to be a very meditative process.  It’s surprisingly time consuming and I’ll get lost in it for hours, feeling grounded and peaceful once I’m finished.

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

I’ve learned that just because something I create isn’t my favorite, doesn’t mean it wont be someone else’s.  I used to trash a piece if I didn’t like where it was headed half-way through.  I thought that everything I put out into the world had to be, in my mind, a masterpiece.  Over time I’ve discovered that some of my least favorite works might make someone else smile, or feel seen.  

I’ve learned that I’m no use to anyone if I don’t take care of myself.  When I’m stressed or burnt out, when I feel unhealthy, when I don’t take care of my head and heart,  I can’t REALLY show up for my work or my relationships.  It’s hard to put yourself first.  I wasn’t raised that way.  I’ve had to learn what those little things are that feed my soul and I’ve had to learn to put them in my schedule.  I’ve had to learn that it isn’t selfish. When I take care of me, I’m better equipped to take care of the people I love and to take on the world (or at least my little corner of it). 

Most recently, I’ve learned how much I need to be physically around my family and friends.  I am an introvert.  I LOVE being home.  It’s my safe space and all my favorite things are here.  I like going out but I’ve always kind of had to pump myself up for it.  Now that I’ve been forced to stay home I am desperate to see people face to face.  I miss hugging, high fives, and giving back-scratches.  I have often said that I need to be home or I need to be alone.  Turns out I also need to be around people.

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

I’m usually working on a few projects at a time.  Right now I’m doing a commissioned paper quilling of a vulva.  I’m also playing around with a sunflower design.  And I just about always have a breast or two in the works.

Currently on my nightstand:  The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover by Kinky Friedman, Gorey’s Worlds by Erin Monroe, and The Show Won’t Go On The Most shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage  by Jeff Abraham and Burt Kearns.

Watching just about everything on Netflix and Hulu currently have to offer. Just finished Letterkenny, Ozark, and Baskets (I HIGHLY recommend this one).

I’m listening to a lot more KUTX lately.  They seem to be playing all their best stuff now that more people have time to listen.  We recently got a puppy, so I took up running again and LCD Soundsystem has been helping me through that.

5. Cake or Pie?

Oh, pie for sure.

The Paper Quillory on Etsy
Instagram @thepaperquillory