Meet the Maker: Rosaura Unangst

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Photo by Carmen Salazar Photography

While many may view Instagram as simply a photo-sharing app (that is, after all, what it is), I love that I have actually made a handful of connections on there – whether it’s finding a new person through comments or through something of theirs that someone else has shared – and I love it even more when that person happens to live in my town.

Rosaura Unangst, 26, lives in Midtown in Sacramento and runs Pigment and Parchment, her hand lettering and watercolor business. She designs for weddings, graduations, babies and more. She also sells prints and holds watercolor and lettering workshops in her studio in Midtown and around California. I am so happy to be sharing just a little bit of her story today.

What inspired you to start hand lettering, when did you first get into it? I’ve hand lettered since pre-school! I dabbled a bit in graffiti style in high school (mainly due to a big crush I had on a very talented artist named Vlad) but I think when I was 19 and a sign artist at Trader Joe’s that’s the first time I really started upping my game.

What were some of your first lettering projects? The first I vividly remember was making a sign for a Sadie Hawkins dance in graffiti lettering. (Again- that art nerd crush I had)
What pushed you to start your workshops, and what have you learned from them so far? I have done informal ones with family and friends for years and I was looking for a way to incorporate engaging with the community with my art business. It was a natural fit and is so much healthier for me (creating tends to be very isolating & as much as I like solitude I don’t want to become a total recluse). I’ve learned how therapeutic and universal creating is. I’ve always known this to be true for myself but after hearing countless people say how relaxing it is as they leave my workshop I’m on a one woman mission to get this message out there to everyone.
How much time do you spend on creating vs workshops vs businessy stuff? It really depends. There has to be balance between both which can be hard because I only want to create and host workshops but half the time I do have to promote, set up listings and websites, deal with printing and other businessy stuff. A goal of mine is to get an art agent so they can deal with that & I can focus more on making!
P&P Workshop

Photo by Lacey M. Carroll

How do you best manage everything with your caretaking job and personal life? There’s no perfect balance. That’s a myth. It’s all a work in progress and correcting when any one thing is taking over too much time. In the past year or so I’ve been a lot kinder to myself and allowed myself to accept I can’t do it all and that’s ok. Instead I focus on what I have accomplished and that leaves me feeling more empowered to haul ass again the next day!

Favorite place you’ve hosted a workshop so far? My in-laws’ patio overlooking Hermosa Beach. Life doesn’t get any better than when you can smell salt in the air.
What does your studio look like right now? A bit messy always but there is order in the chaos- not that anyone else would know it but I’ve got a visual memory and know exactly where everything is. It’s a lot better in our current home than ever before because I’ve got a swivel door that used to be a Murphy hideaway bed in the 40s and now houses all my crafting stuff and props. There’s a vintage bar cart with more of my fine art supplies, a rolling desk that doubles as a mini photo studio, a long desk for the computer, giant scanner & giant printer, a bookcase with all my reference art books & my cat Elphaba’s corner of shame (her litter box complete with styled cat supplies).
What do you think was one of the best business moves you made to get you to where you are today? I wouldn’t call it a business move but it’s definitely gotten me where I am today… going to a clinic and getting help with an eating disorder last year. Therapy taught me about living in the present, confidence, self worth, creating a life I choose and so much more. There is a reason my past art businesses and ventures weren’t as successful in the past and I think my personal life and issues were absolutely holding me back. Learning to take care of myself has not only done wonders for my personal life but it has everything to do with how I put myself out there as an artist today.
How do you motivate yourself every morning? Hm… Jasmine tea or fresh ground drip coffee. In truth- every morning I wake up to likes, comments and new followers on Instagram and though I don’t need validation from that I also can’t say it isn’t motivation to get moving on creating more awesome stuff. It’s really the comments every once in a while from a person really touched or inspired by my artwork that gives me enough motivation for a week. 
P&P art

Photo by Lacey M. Carroll

What do you do if you need to unwind? I mindfully do dishes (warm water & I splurge on the good smelling soap from Method), errands (surprising but they get me out of the house and walking around while not completely taking a break from life- two birds one stone!), play board games & go watch art house films with my husband Nathan.

Who are your biggest inspirations? My contemporaries- Katie Daisy, Lisa Congdon, Emily McDowell, Anna Rifle Bond & Molly Jaques. Talk about a power house of kick ass women. Earlier Inspiration- Frida Kahlo, Judy Garland, Vincent Van Gogh, Mid Century Design, Old Musicals

Favorite books on creative lettering? The bible is Creative Lettering by Jenny Doh (which I’m contributing to the sequel!! EEK!) Modern Calligraphy is a good resource too. I’ve got a few others but honestly just absorbing lettering from back when all advertising was done without the use of computers is where a lot of inspiration of creative lettering comes from.

Best/scariest thing about running your own creative business? The best part is I know I’m doing the thing that I’m best at. I am contributing to culture. Art is connecting to humanity on a level that strips away all the bullshit. The scariest part used to be not being seen as having a real job by lots of people- but now that I’ve made my peace with that I’d say the scary part is probably dealing with all the businessy stuff. I am learning, I am figuring it out slowly but surely but it doesn’t come naturally to me

Favorite thing about what you do? There is a certain pride and joy when you make something from nothing. To sum up & show off my musicals nerdiness- “The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.” (Johnathan Larson- Rent) Art connects you to other humans on a level nothing else can reach.

What has been one of your favorite projects/commissions that you have worked on? Oh that’s a tough one. A full room Peter Pan mural always had a special place in my heart. I’ve always encouraged people to never grow up.

suitcase

Photo from Rosaura Unangst

Best business advice you’ve received? Be yourself. Be authentic. Cuss if you want to. (Thanks Carmen & Dena!)

What kind of projects do you hope to work on next? Custom wedding suites that really tell the story of the couple. I’d love to do some more murals- it’s been a while but it’s like riding a bike. I’m bringing back the funky portraits I used to do- some of those would be fun!

Dream place to host a workshop? India. I’d want to cohost and start with someone teaching us the process of learning about pigment and making dyes and paint, then end with using the paint and/or dyes we just made to create art! Essentially the ‘farm to fork’ version of a workshop.

What advice do you have for people who are just starting their creative businesses? Be careful with spending a lot of time looking at what other people are creating. Of course you have to a bit to get a feel for what people are buying, charging and what’s already out there so you’re not offering the exact same thing. BUT! If you feel yourself being too influenced by other people’s styles or tastes and that starts to overpower your own aesthetic it’s time to unplug the computer and get back to your roots and your own eye. You’ll never please everyone. Own it. The people who like your style will like you that much more for not being the same as the mainstream offering.

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Photo from Rosaura Unangst

You can find out more about Rosaura Unangst and Pigment and Parchment by visiting her website, where she has a schedule of her workshops, links to her social media accounts (like her super cool Instagram) and details on her design services and pricing. She has printables for sale in her Etsy shop and her next workshops are in Santa Cruz on the 26th. There will also be a hand lettering workshop in Sacramento on the 31st.

I have a few spots open for Meet the Maker profiles this year so if you know someone who should be featured, let me know in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest! Keep on creating!

Yo Momma Monday: Amy Christie

yo momma monday

Amy Christie, 31, is the wonderful mind behind the this heart of mine blog. She has two adorable kids, and when she’s not busy taking care of them, she makes all sorts of good stuff, from yummy food like the strawberry shortcake from scratch that I featured in the weekly treat, to beautiful polymer works of art.

Image belongs to Amy Christie

Image belongs to Amy Christie

Anytime I see a mom who is able to do her artwork from home while raising her children, I have to find out how they do it. So I contacted her to find out more about her and her life, and this is what she had to say.

Describe a typical day.

The house wakes up. It’s breakfast time and I try to sneak in some emailing too. The morning is filled with lots of different things – playing, outdoor activities, beach play, creating, prepping posts, project creation, etc. We have lunch (and on beach days, we eat at the beach!). Our afternoons are usually spent at home, stilling playing and creating with a nap thrown in here and there. My husband gets home and we have dinner. Then it is the bath time/bedtime rush. When the children are in bed, I finish up posts, edit photos and brainstorm. I usually go to bed late which makes the morning come too quickly. 🙂

Family-Photos-9

Image belongs to Amy Christie

When did you start crafting?

I grew up in a creative household, my mom encouraged lots of creative activity.

What was the first craft project that you did, and how did it turn out?

Probably something for my cardboard Barbie house.

What about baking/cooking?

I love baking and cooking. Again, I grew up on homemade food and continue that in my own home.

What is the one treat that you always get asked to make?

Nothing specific. Home-cooked food is very appreciated though, desserts especially.

Image belongs to Amy Christie

Image belongs to Amy Christie

How often do you spend each week on crafting and baking?

Not sure, I don’t keep track, but probably a good chunk of my time since we have to eat every day and my job is to create content. 🙂

What is the most challenging thing about balancing work and play with your kids?

The most challenging part is the balancing – how to get everything done, get everyone’s needs met all while trying to take care of myself. It’s a daily battle.

What projects are you currently working on?

Lots of things!! Recipes to share, projects and DIYs to post and we have a few house projects going on as well. Lots to do.

How did you get into photography?

I’ve always appreciated it. My mom had a 35mm when I was growing up and we talked about the points of good photos. I bought my own 35mm when I graduated high school and after my daughter was born, got my first DSLR. I am self taught but I learned how to take photos the way I want them to look and I like that.

What is the favorite craft that you’ve done?

There are so many!! Recently I finished pallet shelves for my work space and I’m fairly enamored with them right now.

Image belongs to Amy Christie

Image belongs to Amy Christie

What is the best and most challenging part of being a mom of two?

The busyness and noise. There is always something happening and it’s usually at top volume.

What inspires/motivates you?

Making is what I do, it’s how I’m wired. I don’t feel complete if I don’t get to create. I stay inspired by taking time to brainstorm, getting outside, away from my desk and doing projects that are just for me. It’s hard. Sometimes I feel tapped out but if I step away, I come back inspired.

What is your favorite piece of decor in your home and why? Any pictures of it that you want to share?

Like I mentioned above, the pallet shelves I just finished are my current favorite. They were fun to make and an experiment that what I envisioned was possible. Here’s the link to their reveal. http://www.thisheartofmineblog.com/2013/07/22/work-space-update-new-pallet-shelves/

Image belongs to Amy Christie

Image belongs to Amy Christie

Favorite room in the house and why

I like our kitchen/living/dining area. Lots of things happen in that space. It’s where our little family hangs out at the end of the day, it’s where our friends gather and good food is shared plus our couch is really comfy.

What book are you reading right now? Ever thought of doing an online book club?

No online book club but I’m reading a handful right now. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran, The Host by Stephanie Meyer and The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely.

Where do you hope to see your art and blog go next? What are your plans for the future?

Like most businesses, I want to grow and expand. I have steps in mind, hopes and dreams and I’m excited for the adventure. I feel so blessed to be able to create for a living.

You can find out more about Amy Christie, her recipes, and her art at this heart of mine. If you know of any cool moms (yourself included) who would be awesome for this, please feel free to leave a brief description and contact info in the comments. You can also email me at mamabecrafty@gmail.com. It has been so amazing getting to know all of these inspirational and rad mommas!