Adorned with quirky quotes and hand-carved images of iconic El Paso locations, journals made by Alexis Ruiz have become a popular staple you will find at local farmers markets and boutiques.
Ruiz, owner of Printmeikiando, says it has taken years of hard work to get to this point. She started her small printmaking operation in 2014 as a side hustle, but just recently transitioned to working on the handmade journals full-time. The company has even expanded their product line to offer T-shirts and handmade prints of her designs.
Ruiz painstakingly creates each journal by hand, from carving a design to stitching the journals together and then sealing the creation with a stamp once complete. Due to the handmade process, each journal and print is different since they can be made in varying color combinations and can even have a different-colored stitching than the previous journal made.
“All of the journals, in the end, they have a little personality,” Ruiz explains. “Like, if I have a card that is yellow, and with, I don’t know, blue ink, maybe the stitching next time — if I do exactly those same colors — the stitching will be different. Maybe it’s gonna be orange or it’s gonna be green, it’s gonna be red. And so, every single one of the journals, it’s part of a limited edition.”
Having grown up in the Borderland, Ruiz says she’s seen the city grow and, along with it, the opportunities to create businesses that are progressive.
“El Paso is a great has a lot of potential,” she says. “It has a lot of unexploited potential that people don’t really realize about it. … Why would you want to go somewhere else if El Paso is willing to support local businesses, especially women owned businesses?”
Ruiz says she wants to expand her artform across El Paso. She has her eyes set on finding a studio space where she can work outside of her home and where others can go to find her designs throughout the week. Beyond that, she wants to help other El Pasoans learn about printmaking.
“I would like to give workshops to teach people how to carve their own stem to do their own printing, even go to schools and give talks to students. So even they will become aware that there is something else out there instead of just [making art] on a tablet and then on a computer. I mean, this method is the great-great-grandfather of the printer.”
You can find her you can find Ruiz at the El Paso Downtown Artisan Farmers Market on Saturdays and sometimes at the Upper Valley Farmers Market on Sundays. You can also purchase her journals online at printmeikiando.com or on ETSY.