We had the good fortune of connecting with Reina Waller of Rise & Eartshine and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Reina, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Mid-March 2020, I started working from home as my place of employment, like many others, had no choice but to close their doors to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world faced such immense uncertainty, I found solace in taking daily nature walks in the surrounding areas of my neighborhood. Wildflower season had just begun, and without thinking twice about it, I was picking fist-fulls of flowers to take home. This simple act brought me a remarkable amount of joy and gave me something to look forward to each day. After each walk, I instinctually tucked my findings away in books to press and preserve. I have always been inspired by nature and natural elements/materials, but I didn’t have an artistic vision for these pressings at the time. At the very least, I knew that I wanted to remember those unprecedented times in my own way, as morbid as that may sound.

Weeks passed and my flower collection quickly overtook my work-from-home space. I made my very first “flower flag” on a whim in April 2020, using a once-forgotten canvas banner that I found hiding in my art supply closet. Seeing the unification of my love for nature and love for art right in front of my eyes for the first time truly sparked something in my soul, and I knew then that I had found my artistic calling. From field to flag, this genre of art that I found myself in proved to be an incredibly delicate one. There was a long period of trial & error with my creative process as I discovered what pressing methods worked best for me, and what adhesives would help retain the color and integrity of my natural materials. I made a variety of pressed flower art throughout 2020, but only shared my creations with family & close friends while I worked hard to perfect my craft. In January 2021, I finally decided it was time to put myself and my art out into the world, thus bringing Rise & Earthshine to life.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Rise & Earthshine specializes in & is known for handmade “flower flags”! I am primarily a pressed flower artist, and my flower collection is almost completely made up of flowers that are handpicked and pressed by me. I spend a fair amount of my free time scavenging for flowers, leaves, weeds (hey, they can be beautiful too!), and even bugs to use in my art. Foraging is one of my favorite parts of my creative process; having a hand in that process and sourcing my materials directly from nature is what sets me apart from the rest.

This year, I have expanded beyond flower flags, however. Rise & Earthshine now offers pressed flower pins and cards, stickers, prints, and t-shirts, and I’m brainstorming new ideas every day! My background in photography & graphic design has also proven to be an invaluable tool in bringing my ideas to life. I designed my logo by hand, and all of my stickers, prints, and t-shirts are my original designs, as well; that is something that I’m very proud of!

2021 has been a year of growth and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. The vast majority of the challenges that I’ve experienced along the way have been internal struggles. Like many artists, I battled with imposter syndrome when I was in the beginning stages of pursuing art professionally. I often wondered if I was a “good enough” artist or if my ideas were original enough; I wondered how I would be perceived and how my art would be received. At the core of those mental challenges, really, I was just afraid of failing. This journey has forced me to take a hard look at my shortcomings and insecurities, and by doing so, has brought forth a newfound confidence in myself and my work. I’m grateful to have overcome those obstacles that I put in front of myself, and having an amazing support system in my family and friends has only helped lift me up further.

As of today, I am a member of the Denton Community Market, have been a part of the Every Witch Way Market and the Mosaic Market. I also set up a display at the Salvage Shoppe this past October, have had some of my flower flags in the Dime Store, as well as, Bewitched Denton!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A weekend in Denton, TX isn’t complete without first stopping by the Denton Community Market on Saturday morning (March-November from 9AM-1PM) for amazing local artisan finds! From farm fresh veggies to handmade art, you’re sure to find something up your alley. On your way to the market, make sure to swing by Chestnut Tree Bistro for brunch & mimosas, then pop around the corner to Jupiter House for coffee to-go. If you’re up for more shopping after finishing the rounds at the Community Market, head over to Juliet’s Jewels and Bewitched for the most magical goods in town. Once it’s time to decompress from your busy morning, go for a walk at Clear Creek Nature Preserve, which is just a few short minutes from the square, but simultaneously tucked away from the hustle & bustle of downtown. A couple other outdoor spots worth mentioning include North Lakes Park and The Chairy Orchard (if you’re into the artsy & out-there vibe). Denton also has a great nightlife! Be sure to check out Eastside, Oak Street Draft House and JK’s Lounge if finely crated drinks are your thing, and there’s always food trucks nearby to cap off your night with a midnight snack.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I grew up in a very loving home and always had the support of not only my parents, but my older sister and brother as well. As a child, my parents always encouraged and nurtured my creativity, and really helped me cultivate my love for the arts at an early age. My mother was also an avid gardener, and her love for nature strongly influenced my artistic background and interest in nature & natural materials. In the last year, my sister, Whitney, has especially encouraged me to follow my artistic dreams, as she is an amazingly talented artist too (her business name is Wanderlust Wares)! Whitney is a veteran vendor of the Denton Community Market, and was a huge help in welcoming me into that community. She was gracious enough to share her booth space with me throughout this past market season while I found my footing in that scene; her guidance and friendship has been and always will be the most precious gift & bond of my entire life!

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RiseAndEarthshine

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/riseandearthshine

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/riseandearthshine/

Other: https://ko-fi.com/riseandearthshine

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.