Thursday, May 23, 2024 May 23, 2024
71° F Dallas, TX

Meet the Maker: Gaston Made

It all started with a coaster.

This is the first in a regular series in which I seek out some of my favorite local makers and artists, and demand to know more about them. Politely and with good intentions, of course.

I first discovered Emily and Alex’s minimalistic modern furniture and table toppers on Instagram, and then again at the latest Dallas Flea, and then a few more times at local holiday markets. No matter how many times I came across Gaston Made’s geometrical, plywood designs, I still found something new to love about them. Those geode coasters! That leggy table! I needed to know more. So I did what any Internet using fan would do: I searched for the newly engaged couple’s Etsy shop and began messaging with them to learn more about their story.


Emily and Alex at the Dallas Flea's fall 2015 show.
Emily and Alex at the Dallas Flea in November, 2015.

I heard Gaston Made started with a coaster. Can you tell us a little more about that?  
E: Ah, the coaster story! So, last Christmas (2014) Alex’s parents suggested we do handmade gifts– a way to cultivate creativity in lieu of the crazy stress that inevitably ensues every December. We had just moved into a shared studio space with five other artist friends that October, with the intention of using it as a creative outlet from our day jobs. Alex had a small wood shop, and we were brainstorming gift ideas on a few forgotten wood scraps. We might have been drinking some beers… and we might have put said beers on those wood scraps. True story. We took the idea and ran with it, making about 75 coasters in the space of a few days. We got such a positive response from Alex’s family that we decided to build a brand on those sets of wood scraps.


Explain the name “Gaston Made.”  
A: The studio Emily mentioned happens to be at corner of Gaston and Peak. My wood shop was a small back bedroom, I was pretty much knee deep in sawdust all the time. But, that place is where the dream started. It felt natural to call the brand Gaston Made since everything we were creating came out of that little room.


What’s your favorite item in your Etsy shop right now?
A: I really like our air planters because they’re made from 100% scrap wood and no two are the same.

E: The knife rack. It’s really sleek– perfect for a small space. And something about having all my knives right there makes it easier to cook dinner


What were you doing before Gaston Made began? Is this your full time job now?
A: I was working at a company that was purchased by a larger company and a lot of jobs were eliminated, including mine. I think there are a lot of young people who are jaded quickly in today’s business world. I think that’s why you see so many of us starting our own creative ventures, or appreciating others’ creative ventures. To answer your question, since that time, Gaston Made has been my full time job. Though I do have a part time job to help with the bills.

E: I’m a full-time textile designer for Fossil. I like to call it my day job, and Gaston Made my night job. Both provide me with incredible challenges and opportunities every day. I think a lot of makers out there do the double-job and make it seem like it ain’t no thing. But I think that’s a filtered mis-representation. It is hard work. Sometimes you just have to be real, accept that there are 24 hours in the day, and that you need at least a few of those to sleep.


What is it like working with your wife/husband?
A: We just got engaged! So not wifey yet. Working through difficult times has brought us closer together as a couple. She truly amazes me sometimes. She also frustrates me sometimes. I know its because I deeply care what she feels and what she thinks. The reward is the fulfillment we both get from creating beautiful pieces, creating lasting impressions.

E: Um, what he said. That was beautiful. Really I just love watching him use those power tools (wink.)


Where can we find you IRL next? (Ex. Pop-up shop?)
E: The Flea Style’s Spring show! March 12th, 9-4 PM, at the Fair Park Automobile Building. New location this year! It’s gonna be one for the books.