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Monday, August 2, 2021

Denton High School artist creates and sells handmade wall hangings

Article Originally Published by Maria Lawson on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Maria Lawson on North Texas Daily

A Denton High School senior comes home from a full day of school, club meetings and drill team practice to start handcrafting orders. Woven Wonders Studio is a business owned by Denton resident Galela Zepeda that sells wall hangings made by hand.

“I started it when I was in middle school with my art teacher when I was in seventh grade,” Zepeda said. “From there, it took off, and then in high school, I turned it into a business, and I have an Etsy store for it.”

Zepeda discovered her interest for making wall hangings in her middle school art class during their weaving unit.

“[My art teacher] taught us how to make woven wall hangings with a loom and yarn and all that good stuff,” Zepeda said. “From there, I developed a passion for it, and then I just started selling my stuff and people noticed me, and I made a business out of it.”

Zepeda’s mom and Denton resident Sacheen McLemore has seen her passion for her business through her devotion to the craft.

“Weaving has at times been an outlet of stress relief after a long week at school or to help get through an emotional time period in her life, and I can see that manifested in the patterns as well as color schemes represented in her artwork,” McLemore said. “Overall, I believe it is her gift of imagination fused with her passion for textures and the rhythm of the weave that results in a masterpiece made with love.”

Zepeda starts a wall hanging by using a loom, made out of old canvases with nails on top. She then takes her work string and wraps it around each of the nails, then weaves it throughout the loom and incorporates unique braids.

“There’s a lot that goes into one piece,” Zepeda said. “I’d say a good medium-sized woven wall hanging can take me about two to three hours, and that’s not including picking out the colors.”

Woven Wonders Studio sells both pre-made woven wall hangings and completes custom orders for customers who have a specific color scheme in mind.

Woven Wonders Studio clients, such as Zepeda’s friend Brielle Da Silva, acknowledge the effort and care she puts into each piece.

“Galela is always up-to-date on the trendiest pieces, which clients really appreciate,” Da Silva said. “Galela’s passion for her art and business shows strongly through her advertising and packaging.”

When the pandemic hit, Zepeda’s business slowed down but picked back up shortly after.

“COVID really did affect me as a small business owner,” she said. “A lot of people were out of jobs and couldn’t afford small business, handmade crafts, but then after June [or] July, it really spiked. Those were the most sales I had ever gotten. Every week, every day, I was always doing something.”

Zepeda said in college she hopes to major in business, so being a small business owner has given her real-life experience.

“I think after seeing people post me and tag me on Instagram [and] Snapchat, a lot of people from my school as well buy from my business,” Zepeda said. “Hearing those people say, ‘Oh my gosh, I love it so much, it’s so cute,’ [and] seeing people post my artwork is really rewarding because I put all my time and my effort [in it], and they’re willing to share my business.”

Through Woven Wonders Studio, Zepeda has been able to develop financial skills she would not have learned otherwise.

“A big thing I’ve learned from my business is finance and how to manage money,” Zepeda said. “Owning a small business includes having inventory and things to make the products, so really budgeting has helped me a lot.”

Going forward, Zepeda hopes to expand her client base to across the United States and keep up her business as she enters college.

“I definitely want to expand a little bit to where it’s not within just the local community,” Zepeda said. “That’s where my main focus of clientele is right now. However, during the quarantine, I sold to probably around 20 other states here in the U.S., and that was through Etsy as well.”

Woven Wonders Studio can be found on Instagram at @wovenwondersstudio.

Courtesy Galela Zepeda

Source: North Texas Daily

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