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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Laurène Elliott-Deyris: The Five Question Interview

Laurène Elliott-Deyris is the owner of Terre Noire (French for Black Land) in Taylor, Texas. She is a clinically trained herbalist and her loose-leaf herbal tea blends, herbal extracts, and body care products are all made with the finest organic ingredients, she often grows or wildcrafts many of her herbs, including beeswax from her own hives.

Her ceramic art is botanically inspired, offering useful small dishes, spoons, and small bowls made from porcelain, black clay, and Taku-fired objects.

1. Why did you move to Taylor? 

My husband and I moved from France to the Austin area to be closer to family in 2015. Not wanting to be in Austin proper, we found Taylor to be a good size for us with a lot of potential and knew it was going to be up and coming in the next few years. We were right! It’s a fun and quirky little town with good vibes and great people. We love being part of a community and supporting local businesses. 

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

For me, nature is an essential part of my creative process. Spending time with plants, swimming in natural bodies of water, walking in deep forests are all ways for me to resource myself, meditate and connect with the botanical world. I’ve worked in a few different mediums from photography to ceramics and the common theme in my work has always been nature inspired.

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

1. To have patience and grace with myself… the artistic journey is a long one. 

2. Currently learning more about processing wild Texas clays and cannot wait to bring that to    Terre Noire. 

3. That I’ve become quite intolerant to heat. 

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

I’m currently reading Asia Suler’s book Mirrors in the Earth and it is divine. 

5. Cake or Pie?

Always pie. 🙂

Follow Laurène on Instagram and Etsy

Instagram @terre.noire
Etsy TerreNoireCreations


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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!