One of the Babes: Desert Flower Designers

In this post for "One of the Babes," we highlight maker Erica Alcocer. From intricate body armor to beautiful hand chains, her business, Desert Flower Designers, has a piece of jewelry for everyone. We're excited to have her on as a vendor at our co-event with Glitter Tribe this Saturday. See you there!

Get to know Erica:

Q: What inspired you to start Desert Flower Designers? Was it natural? Did you have any role models?
: At first it was a way to create pieces that accentuate my petite frame and repurpose all the jewelry I had grown out of. Then, I began to give pieces away to friends or family, and with their help I decided to turn my crafts into something more than a hobby.

Naturally, I think having a mechanical mindset and desire to take things apart just to put them back a different way helped my wares be up-cycled and recycled with new pieces binding them together. I'm inspired by all the tiny pieces surrounding me, with their different origins, waiting to be reincarnated into their next life and to be worn by someone who will take them onto their next journey. Some of my favorite makers and role models are Frida, Corinne Loperfido, and Monica Canilao. 

Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passion projects?
One piece of advice that is recurring for me is to keep learning. There is no end to a craft if you keep striving to find another way to do this or that. It's hard at times, creatively speaking, to make something "never made before," but I don't think that should be the point. As long as you're learning and cultivating your craft there will always be more ideas and avenues to channel that energy into.  

Q: How do you stay inspired?
I think with the current generation's obsession with social everything, it's hard to absorb inspiration when there are constantly a million and one things to look at. To me, staying inspired means to take a moment to stop comparing yourself to other makers and to continuously humble yourself. It's important to take time to be thankful that you're able to pursue your creative endeavors.

Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity (possibly a time when a burst of creative energy produced something you could have never expected, etc.)?
Honestly, my favorite moments of creativity are when I'm surrounded by other ladies or when a friend tells me that they've started creating jewelry after a jewelry-making hangout. One of my all-time favorite moments was when an Instagram friend, (a stranger that becomes a friend via Instagram) who had supported me at the very beginning, was visiting me this past year and told me that a family member of hers who just went through a loss of a loved one was inspired by one of my pieces and making them had given her some solace. That moment and all the little moments I get when someone loves a piece that I've created fall under "favorite moments." 

Q: What have been the most challenging moments in your career thus far?
It would be a reach to call this a career for me, but I would say that time is a challenge. When you balance office life, school, yoga and making jewelry, things get stressful. One of those has to give. As a maker who makes for the sake of making and not for a living the most challenging moments are questioning, "what next? Should I quit my job and do this full-time? Should I risk that financially? Should I buy this chain even though that means I won't have gas money to make it to the next show?" I love my office job, going to school, practicing and competing yoga, as well as creating jewelry. None of them trump the other but when it comes down to that question of what next? I try to step back, be thankful, and breathe. 

Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
When I ever I find myself really down about my wares or their purpose I think about a mantra I've had since I started creating: Life is about showing the world and beyond who you are as an existence and then ceasing to be, in hopes that somehow your spirit remains coursing through the blood of the future. For me, that spirit is so many things, but one of them is definitely jewelry.   

Your favorite band: FKA Twigs is my jam right now. 

Your favorite book: "Grounding of Modern Feminism" by Nancy F. Cott. It's a scholarly read, but worth the facts; it's taken me months to get through, but the information is worth it. 

Your local Austin gem: Resistencia Bookstore is amazing in so many ways. I volunteer there and am completely in love with the acceptance and empowerment I gain just walking in. I could just live there 

Your social media handles: @itsonlyerica on Instagram, for shameless selfies and pictures of my pup, @desertflowerdesigners on Instagram for my creations