Do you remember E.A.S.T. – Austin’s HUGE annual art event that spans across most of the city’s south central and eastern divisions? It was a few months ago – when the weather was warmer, the days were longer, and we couldn’t wait to go outside to enjoy the day. Going to E.A.S.T. is a unique experience. When inspiration can at times be an elusive thing – not being able to predict when it will show up, or how it will strike you – E.A.S.T. provides a variegated road map to where it’s hiding.

The question isn’t “will you be inspired?”, but “what will inspire you most?”

I saw several things at E.A.S.T. this year, that made me again think “I really need to make some damn art.”

There were the cardboard reliefs by Landry McMeans



There was the glass blowing demo / happy hour at East Side Glass

Enchanting work by David de Lara

Surreal pieces intricately designed in tissue and string by Katy Horan

Pottery by Keith Kreeger showcased in calm, subdued colors and shapes…

Work that shows the beauty and frustration of the human form by Elizabeth Rathbone

Paintings that resembled the hope and brightness of our childhood dreams by Liliana Wilson

As great as all those things were, there was something somewhere between the corridors of OK Mountain Studio that rose me to action. This is where Christy and I came across the work of Sophie Roach – tedious, and marvelously complex.

Christy noticed an open moleskin sketchbook on Sophie’s desk. It was filled front to back with her ink etchings and each page was worthy of a Keanu Reeves “Whoa.”

Dope, indeed. I wanted to buy some work of hers right then, but I always have to think about it – as to avoid being impulsive. Cookies somehow have a way of bypassing this part of my brain. So I did “think about it,” and I’m so glad I did. “What if…” I pondered. What if I had Sophie do a custom piece for me, something the exact dimensions of the Vortex Wallet (by Natalie Davis of Canoe) that I also had been “thinking about.” “What if…” I got this work engraved onto leather at MakeATX.

I’m a visual person, so I made a sketch of it, to make sure the thoughts in my head might transfer onto something physical. I liked where things were going…


So then I did the next step. I contacted Natalie and Sophie about my cross-collaborative plan and both agreed with excitement. Next thing you know I’m at MakeATX with a wallet (and a camera strap and an iPhone case because my mind just ran rampant with the idea) and this is what went down…

Isn’t that awesome?! Those are lasers, dude!

I particularly love how you see the white spark burn through the leather – doesn’t everyone have a little pyro in them?

What’s MakeATX? It’s a local business run by two remarkable ladies, who were both previous architecture grads. They chose to start their own venture to capitalize on their appreciation for community and collaboration. MakeATX will take your customization ideas to new levels and you may not know when to stop – because those lasers work on just about everything. Even Chocolate! You can read my tech tour piece on MakeATX at Apartment Therapy here. Oh, and you can tour the home of one of the owner’s here.  After the laser show of Patty Princess of Power (the affectionate name of the laser cutter), Sophie and I both marveled at the results.



There’s nothing holding you back from doing this yourself if you’re in Austin. Sophie Roach is available for custom commissions and has even been taking some laser cutting classes to get more acquainted with the medium. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you and any custom request you may have. Also, Natalie Davis of Canoe doesn’t just have wallets but a variety of leather goods that I’m sure she’d love to hook you up with. You really have to feel the quality of the leather she uses to appreciate it.

Contact them both at their respective websites linked above, and stop by MakeATX to see what’s going on. They even have a little shop of wares if you just want to pick something up on the fly – displayed on laser etched cardboard shelves, of course.

Everything came out beautifully for me, and I’m so proud to literally wear this great local artwork everyday…



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