The self-taught woodworker, wife, and boy mom creates statement pieces clients swear by
Dessirae Mantas of Gainesville is the type of person you can meet for the first time and find instantly relatable, easy to talk to, and passionate about her small business. As owner of The Rustic Texan Workshop, she creates personalized wood signs for those seeking that unique gift not found in stores. As the mom of three boys, her time is valuable and limited, so her heart and soul goes into each design.
Mantas’ childhood showed little clues to her future woodworking skills, except for the fact that she loved to put things together. To this day, she has never taken a formal class. Everything she learned has been self taught.
The first time she decided to make a wood sign, she walked into Lowe’s with no knowledge of where to begin. She figured it out, though, by doing and making mistakes, and by trying again and again.
YouTube was her companion as she began to experiment with what type of woodworking skill she wanted to develop. One particular video showed a woodworker cutting out designs using a scroll saw. “That’s it!” she remembers thinking. But reluctant to invest in the somewhat pricey machine, she happened to mention it to her parents during a conversation. A few days later, a large package arrived on her doorstep. It’s contents? The scroll saw that sits in a central location in her workshop. “That’s just how they are,” she says of her parents, “always supporting and encouraging me to pursue my dreams.”
Mantas’ scroll saw cutouts are what set her apart, she says, from the other small woodworking businesses in the area. Her pieces are also hand painted and handcrafted right at home in her garage workshop. And although she enjoys creating holiday designs and personalized wall decor, the pieces she holds closest to her heart are statement pieces, larger works that allow her to creatively tell a story through a variety of designs, colors, and cutouts. Clients frequently order these highly personalized and detailed pieces to give to family and friends, including their children, to show them how much they love them.
One such statement piece was requested by a client whose brother overcame incredible difficulties and is now living a whole different life on a better path. Mantas incorporated elements that reflected “a new start, a move to Colorado, a frequently used hashtag, a perfect quote, and the beautiful scenery this man gets to view on his hikes” to create a very special, celebratory piece.
Another wood piece was created for a mom who wanted her son to know that although his life will be full of mountains to overcome, he is as big as the mountains. Mantas spent hours creating a large statement piece with intricate cutouts to assure that the work showed the love and support from mother to son. She says: “While I loved the mosaic mountains, I knew the young man would need to stand out above them. Life will throw us many obstacles along the way, but it’s how you overcome them that matters. I always tell my boys that and I hope this sign is a daily reminder of just that.”
Creator, builder, quality control specialist, financial analyst, marketing and sales strategist, social media manager, customer service overseer, wife, friend, and mom are the roles Mantas plays each day. “But as easy as it is to do what I love, to be covered in sawdust from head to toe, to work hard to be a role model for my boys, in the end all they truly want is my undivided attention. I can get so wrapped up in my work, in creating things, that I forget to take that extra minute to tend to the little ones that need me the most.”
So on those days, she does exactly what her sons need her to do – be present and engaged with them. There are cuddles and smiles, and the work gets done another day.
The Rustic Texan Workshop can be found on Facebook and Instagram at @therustictexanworkshop. To view all of Mantas’ designs, place an order, or request something custom, visit www.etsy.com/shop/TheRusticTexanShop.