The Rise of the Maker Community In Austin

Luna LLena

The maker community is alive and thriving in Austin, Texas. In a city with a deep-seated history of segregation and gentrification, artisans and creators of color are pushing back. Rather than succumbing to the material and ideological constraints imposed by racist legacies, artists and creators are forming alternative spaces and economies. These cultural spaces not only serve to promote and celebrate POC artisans and their work, but ultimately build and sustain a community.  

Frida Friday and Luna Llena are two markets of note leading this initiative in Austin. Curated by TK Tunchez and various other collaborators, these cultural spaces are particularly notable because they help bring together a wide array of people from different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Although there are many amazing creators in the city, we had the opportunity to profile a few of the leading artistas in the scene. Here is what they had to share.


Las Ofrendas - TK Tunchez

Las Ofrendas

TK Tunchez

Tell us about yourself (Include where you’re from, what you do):

I’m from Guatemala City, Guatemala, was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and lived in Western Massachusetts for many years. I moved to Texas about 8 years ago, and have been back in Austin for about a year. I see myself as a child of the diaspora. I’ve been heavily influenced by many cultures, growing up in a multiracial home (with adoptive parents who were Armenian and Cajun), and growing up in a community in the northeast which was heavily Caribbean (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban) and African American. I am kind of a wanderer and so I like to travel a lot, but I’ve most recently been pretty committed to being in ATX and feel like this is my home for now.  

I’m a multimedia artist (I got my degree in communications and cultural identity studies) and have worn a lot of “work” hats in my life, including being a youth worker (running a videography program), co-owning a collective bookstore, and spending time working on performance and food justice projects. I am a single, teen mama, and had two children in my teens – they are adults now. 

About five years ago I started my own jewelry-making business which has evolved in more of an all-around creative space. It’s named Las Ofrendas (roughly translated to “the offerings”), and it’s the space that I organize and make art from. I’m currently the full-time artist, designer and creator behind Las Ofrendas where I make jewelry, headdresses (mostly flower crowns), and original graphic design work that celebrates the Divine Feminine and is grounded in my identity as a queer, Latinx, femme person.  

What is the thought behind your work/art/craft? 

Las Ofrendas really represents who I am as a person. It’s a space where I create work that speaks to my desire to celebrate my own Latinx femme aesthetic. It’s the space where I create using my own blend of colors, and stone medicines that I believe hold ancient healing properties, and it’s also the place I get to play and create pieces that are meant to inspire and serve as empowering representations for POC – especially WOC. I think this last part is specifically seen in my graphic design work, where I really work to create imagery that represents WOC. For example, I have a card line of sirenas that are duplicated of paintings I did of brown and black mermaids – I wanted to make images that look different than the mainstream versions of mermaids that have blond/ blue eyes – so I made those, and I am always proud when people see them and connect with them. Las Ofrendas was originally the place I made jewelry, and came from my love and teachings about stone medicine. I studied under several teachers (including a Mayan/Azteca teacher) to understand the properties of stone medicines, and began making jewelry because I wanted to get the stone knowledge out to people. This has evolved a lot over the years, but I still have a special place in my heart for stone medicine. I also make flower crowns and love the see people wearing them and feeling their own inner Queen emerging. I am also really interested in the practice of wearing flowers in our hair that all cultures carry, so this gives me a chance to talk about this, and to talk about some of the amazing people who’ve worn flowers in their hair that inspire me (including queer inspirations like Marsha Johnson or Frida Kahlo).  

How do you identify culturally and how does it influence you?  

Tell us about yourself (Include where you’re from, what you do):

I’m from Guatemala City, Guatemala, was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and lived in Western Massachusetts for many years. I moved to Texas about 8 years ago, and have been back in Austin for about a year. I see myself as a child of the diaspora. I’ve been heavily influenced by many cultures, growing up in a multiracial home (with adoptive parents who were Armenian and Cajun), and growing up in a community in the northeast which was heavily Caribbean (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban) and African American. I am kind of a wanderer and so I like to travel a lot, but I’ve most recently been pretty committed to being in ATX and feel like this is my home for now.  

I’m a multimedia artist (I got my degree in communications and cultural identity studies) and have worn a lot of “work” hats in my life, including being a youth worker (running a videography program), co-owning a collective bookstore, and spending time working on performance and food justice projects. I am a single, teen mama, and had two children in my teens – they are adults now. 

About five years ago I started my own jewelry-making business which has evolved in more of an all-around creative space. It’s named Las Ofrendas (roughly translated to “the offerings”), and it’s the space that I organize and make art from. I’m currently the full-time artist, designer and creator behind Las Ofrendas where I make jewelry, headdresses (mostly flower crowns), and original graphic design work that celebrates the Divine Feminine and is grounded in my identity as a queer, Latinx, femme person.  

What is the thought behind your work/art/craft? 

Las Ofrendas really represents who I am as a person. It’s a space where I create work that speaks to my desire to celebrate my own Latinx femme aesthetic. It’s the space where I create using my own blend of colors, and stone medicines that I believe hold ancient healing properties, and it’s also the place I get to play and create pieces that are meant to inspire and serve as empowering representations for POC – especially WOC. I think this last part is specifically seen in my graphic design work, where I really work to create imagery that represents WOC. For example, I have a card line of sirenas that are duplicated of paintings I did of brown and black mermaids – I wanted to make images that look different than the mainstream versions of mermaids that have blond/ blue eyes – so I made those, and I am always proud when people see them and connect with them. Las Ofrendas was originally the place I made jewelry, and came from my love and teachings about stone medicine. I studied under several teachers (including a Mayan/Azteca teacher) to understand the properties of stone medicines, and began making jewelry because I wanted to get the stone knowledge out to people. This has evolved a lot over the years, but I still have a special place in my heart for stone medicine. I also make flower crowns and love the see people wearing them and feeling their own inner Queen emerging. I am also really interested in the practice of wearing flowers in our hair that all cultures carry, so this gives me a chance to talk about this, and to talk about some of the amazing people who’ve worn flowers in their hair that inspire me (including queer inspirations like Marsha Johnson or Frida Kahlo).  

Las Ofrendas

How do you identify culturally and how does it influence you?  

See above, but also, as a queer, Latinx/indigena, single/teen mama, I think, besides the ways that my identity has influenced my aesthetic and testimonio-related artistic choices, it’s influenced my desire to be a cultural worker.  I see this the most in the work I do as a “space creatress” in ATX.  I know the need to have alternative economic spaces that support, empower, and amplify the work of self-identified WOC, and QPOC, because we are the least paid in the state (and country).  And, in a city that is quickly being gentrified, I really feel a responsibility to create spaces that visibilize POC and that are spaces where we can literally see each other, and put our finances towards supporting each other.

Frida Friday ATX was founded on these ideas: self-identified WOC-centered, it’s a monthly market that creates space for WOC to get together and live their best lives.  It’s intended to be a culturally woke space; we celebrate our families and welcome them there, we feature women artists/musicians and bring in artists who are often just beginning to sell and market their work.  I think of it as the womb space, where each month we are nurtured and are able to return back into a city that can feel isolating.  And it’s women-led, so you know that when women come together there will ALWAYS be magic. 

I am also currently in LOVE with the work of Luna Llena, which I started in September, because it’s evolving into more and more of a collaboratively-driven event, which brings together food, music, art, and more to celebrate our diverse communities.  It’s a space for and by us, and it also centers on community wellness, healing and prosperity – harnessing the abundant nature of La Luna Llena to celebrate our communities!  

FUEGO ATX is in it’s baby stage, a QPOC centered monthly event this has been a market and now a dance party and we are continuing to grow it.  Again, this space is about seeing each other and connecting. It’s about celebration and fun!  And, also, it’s about supporting alternative economies.  

Share one thing people should know about you the work you do: 

Oh, wow.  One thing people should know is that I am ONE person doing this work for my own cultural (and economic) survival.  I am a full-time artist, which, in my case, means I hand-make every single piece that goes out into the world, meaning that my time is very busy and I am dependent on people shopping from me and supporting my work financially so I can survive.  I say this because I feel like folks don’t always see the work that goes into being a full-time maker, and it can be hard to explain that this is a full-full-full-time commitment.  SO, shopping handmade and local, and supporting independent artists is SUPER important because you are literally putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.  It also means, in my case, that I am often asking for patience and support when it comes to organizing and completing tasks.  It’s a lot of work and I LOVE it, and I am so grateful for my community and I am always open to receiving support and patience (and money! lol).  

Anything else you’d like to add:

One thing I want to add is that my heart and soul is the heart and soul of a full-time maker now and I love and am SO grateful for the community that supports this work, but I want folks to know that makers and artists put A LOT of risk into sustaining themselves.  Each show they (we) do costs money, and we are responsible for creating, marketing, promoting, and running EVERY aspect of our business. I can’t stress enough how important it is for folks to financially support local artists and community-based projects that they love, if they want to see them continue to happen.  The other ways too, it’s really all about exchange and love and continuing to grow our communities from the inside out.

You can find Las Ofrendas on Instagram and Facebook


Chakra Ophelia


Chakra Ophelia

Tabitha Skyi Hamilton

Tell us about yourself:

I was born in Austin, TX, raised on the South Side just around the corner from McKinney falls State Park. When I’m not co-coordinating Luna Llena ATX with Las Ofrendas, you can usually spot me hula hooping down at the Springs, browsing through aisles of Austin’s many thrift shops, with my nose in a vedic astrology book, dancing on the east side, chasing my dog Louie around, or as of late, slayin’ the jewelry repair game at Bead It! Currently, I’m in the process of launching my online jewelry & apothecary store, Chakra Ophelia. The products I make are influenced by the body’s seven main energy centers, as well as Earth’s natural elements and their corresponding energies.

What is the thought behind your business?

How can I create an income based around my magic? How can I feel good about what I’m doing? How can I spend more time growing and learning? For me, a good challenge is a perfect opportunity to learn a lot about myself and grow from it. I am my business and because I am my own business, I have the freedom to conduct a mindful business that highlights my skills and natural talents. I have the freedom to choose where I conduct business and how I conduct business (within reason). What I have to offer is basically an extension of myself and what I believe in and how I chose to express that. My creations are my resistance to conforming.

Tabitha Skyi Hamilton

Why do you think the marker and market community is important? Why’d you get involved?

A huge part of my role with Luna Llena is curation of Outreach and Platicas. Choosing an organization every month to benefit has been one of the main reasons why I stay involved and is also why the existence of this market place is so important. #F.U.B.U – for us, by us. We are actively supporting our people through these markets. It’s our duty to redefine the Austin marketplace with the inclusion of black and brown culture. I got involved and stay involved because collaborating with a tribe that persistently moves in the direction of love is truly a sacred experience that every person of color in Austin should experience.

How do you identify culturally and how does it influence you?

I identify as Latina, African American, and Cherokee. My mother is Latina and my father is African American, and recognize the indigenous Cherokee on my father’s side. This often reflects in my jewelry through Native American textiles, bright colorful seed beads which overlap in both Latinx and Native American culture. I also nourish natural black and textured hair health through my herbal-infused oils.

There have been many challenges, sacrifices, and failures through my journey of entrepreneurship and I know that there are many more that I will have to face.  However, the ingenuity, badassery, and creative love from the artists I’ve connected with has significantly changed my mentality and vibration. I feel lightweight and seen. 

You can find Chakra Ophelia on Instagram


Chorizo Funk

Chorizo Funk

Eddie Campos

Tell us about yourself:

Austin based DJ, promoter, and merch slinger. I’ve DJed in Austin professionally for about 10 years. I am member of Peligrosa, the longest running global/tropical bass party in Texas. I am also founding member of 2016 Best of Austin award winner, Body Rock ATX, a monthly ceremony/party encouraging self-expression through music, dance, and community with Riders Against the Storm. Plus I am also a member of the Austin Boogie Crew, Austin-based DJ collective and vinyl record label.

What is the thought behind your work?

I aim to create a soulful experience on the dancefloor through technical skills on the turntables (I still use vinyl turntables) and music that ranges from Afro-beat, Cumbia, Hip-Hop, Bounce, Soul, Funk, Soca, Dancehall, and more sounds that originate from African Diaspora.

Chorizo Funk

How do you identify culturally and how does it influence you?

In no particular order: Latinx/Chicanx/Person of Color.

Why do you think this community is important? Why did you get involved?

I think it’s important because by creating our own space we are actively counteracting cultural appropriation and giving legitimacy to voices that aren’t represented in the mainstream.

Share one thing people should know about the work you do:

There is a lot of deliberation and intention that goes into a set. I enjoy crafting a narrative, connecting dots among different cultures and communities. Music and dance is a way to actively resist and regenerate our spirits. I aim to embody the phrase: Last night a DJ saved my life.

Make sure to check my mixes on Soundcloud.  

You can find Chorizo Funk on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and the website


Priscilla Jerez

Cool Beans

Priscilla Jerez

Tell us about yourself:  

I’m a chef/entrepreneur, co-owner and co-founder of Cool Beans Eatery. Originally from Los Angeles, California, I moved around a lot growing up and lived between Inglewood, Hawthorne, and South Central. I finally moved to Brownsville, Texas to pursue my college career in psychology. I have this insane love for Mesoamerican culture and agriculture and I am fascinated by the magic of “Maize.” I started Cool Beans as a means to create lean, Mexican-style cuisine in pursuit of a vegan lifestyle. Everything is made from scratch and from the heart, which was a journey that I loved. 

What is the thought behind your business? 

Cool Beans was created with my partner and I after our lifestyle changed in to an all-vegan, plant-based diet.  We manifested our dreams of creating all of our favorite Latino cuisines that not only nourish your body but nourished the soul. Cool Beans is the idea of eating that bomb menudo with your tías, tíos, and primos without animal products and still not missing a beat.  Delicious vegan Mexican food is possible, and it in no way takes away from our cultures. 

How do you identify culturally and how does it influence your work?  

I identify as many things, I am Central American Latinx BB, with Cali/Mexican/Texan cultural influences. I am proud of where I come from and everywhere I go. All of these cultural influences have served me in the creation of Cool Beans and continue to inspire my work. Everything from Elote en Vaso, Tamales Guatemaltecos, pupusas and menudo. The challenge for me wasn’t finding what I wanted to eat, it was finding a way to make it as good as my mom and my grandma. The key for me was to go deep into my roots to create flavors and textures that were from what I remembered growing up.

Priscilla Jerez

Why do you think the maker and market community is important? How does healthy food fit into the mold?  


One of my favorite things about the maker and market community is creating a space for POC. It’s a safe space for communities to come together and share their culture in full color and love without any apologies: supporting local businesses, brown businesses is essential to change. I’ve met some very amazing people in this community, they have been huge supporters and cheerleaders of my vision for Cool Beans and have become my very, very close friends.

TK Tunchez is an amazing Market Curator, artist, activist, jeweler, and so much more. She is doing great work with Frida Fridays ATX and our most recent collaboration with Luna Llena monthly markets. Rebecca of Poco a Poco Mercado does an amazing job at working with Latinx artists and sells them all through her pop-up shop. Nefer Calles of Green Good Vegan is not only an amazing graphic designer and creator/maker but is my backbone on this journey of entrepreneurship. Erica with Desert Flowers Designers and Jasmine with Hermanita’s Boutique are amazing makers of jewelry and clothing and are amazing Latinx Voices in the community! 

These markets bring in the magic of togetherness in a space of learning and understanding. Cool Beans is reaching out to its Latinx community and helping break the mold of what Latin-based cuisines are. We promote crops as a source of protection from modern diseases of development. Reaching back into the magic healing power of rich plants that are indigenous to the Americas like corn, beans, squash greens, herbs, and seeds.

Share one thing people should know about you the work you do:

I love creating new recipes and learning about my culture. Cooking is one of the main components that I feel connects me to the people I love and my ancestors. It’s important to me to keep these cultural traditions alive even with a vegan twist. The more I learn about Mesoamerican agriculture, the more I connect with the old ways of cooking and meal planning. Everything that I create with Cool Beans is carefully curated to make sure that I am doing my culture justice.

You can find Cool Beans Eatery on InstagramFacebook, and the website


Hecho En Mexico






Hecho En Mexico

Jorge y Dulce Luna

Tell us a bit about the two of you:

I, Dulce, am a born and raised Austinite. When I’m not collaborating with Jorge on Hecho En Austin, I work full-time in human resources. Jorge is originally from Brownsville, Texas but has been living in Austin for the past three years. He works as a graphic designer for a local print shop, has his own graphic design business, and you can find him DJing at several spots weekly in the Austin nightlife.

What is the thought behind your business?

When we started dating, we clicked over our sense of humor and love/pride of our Mexican culture. During one of our dates we were commenting about how there weren’t very many t-shirts that showcased Latino pop culture. That night we came up with our first design, our El Rey, Vicente Fernandez shirt—a play off of the Biggie Smalls Crown shirt. We try to create  designs that encompass iconic Latino artists, famous Austin landmarks, or American movie references and give it either a Latino twist or vice versa.

I, Dulce, am a born and raised Austinite. When I’m not collaborating with Jorge on Hecho En Austin, I work full-time in human resources. Jorge is originally from Brownsville, Texas but has been living in Austin for the past three years. He works as a graphic designer for a local print shop, has his own graphic design business, and you can find him DJing at several spots weekly in the Austin nightlife.

What is the thought behind your business?

When we started dating, we clicked over our sense of humor and love/pride of our Mexican culture. During one of our dates we were commenting about how there weren’t very many t-shirts that showcased Latino pop culture. That night we came up with our first design, our El Rey, Vicente Fernandez shirt—a play off of the Biggie Smalls Crown shirt. We try to create  designs that encompass iconic Latino artists, famous Austin landmarks, or American movie references and give it either a Latino twist or vice versa.

Jorge y Dulce Luna

How do you identify culturally and how does it influence your work?

We both grew up in Spanish-speaking Mexican households. We’re both first generation Americans. For me (Dulce) growing up was a blended life between my home and the outside world. I had Christmas y Los Reyes Magos, Dos Mujeres un Camino and The Real World, Walter Mercado and Ms. Cleo. Add growing up in Austin, a hippie city which is referred to as a melting pot of diversity, I don’t know how to label it but it’s definitely influenced me and my work.

Why do you think the maker and market community is important?

It’s important to have a community of artists that support and lift one another. We all help each other promote our side hustle, which can be very hard to do alone. Seeing everyone put their heart and soul into what they create helps us keep going when we come home from working our full-time jobs and still have to put in more work.

Share one thing people should know about you the work you do:

It makes us incredibly happy to see someone’s reaction to one of our shirts, whether they think it’s cool or funny, it’s nice to see someone “get” what you do. Also, when one of our products is chosen as a gift for a loved one. We get to be a part of showing someone love to someone else, it’s the best.

You can find Hecho En Austin on their InstagramFacebook, and website